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Julieta Venegas

Otra Cosa (Sony Music Latin)

Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., May 21, 2010

Phases & Stages

Julieta Venegas

Otra Cosa (Sony Music Latin)

In any language, Julieta Venegas' new millennial showing qualifies the 39-year-old Long Beach-born, Tijuana-brazed singer as an Artist of the Decade. Otra Cosa seals the deal. Her fifth LP following 1997's accordion-pumped pop pulsation Aquí, Venegas continues her campaign of getting more with honey (Tanya Donelly) than with rice vinegar (Jenny Lewis), only en Español. Even then, after a four-star march through the new century – (2003), Limón y Sal (2006), MTV Unplugged (2008) – the most important phrase in need of translation on Otra Cosa comes from the CD credits: letra y musica (words and music). She & Him's Zooey Deschanel isn't the only cool breeze reviving girl group wonderment; the synth figure blowing through "Ya Conocerán" might have come from Victoria LeGrand's Beach House. On a percussive heartbeat, the electro equivalent of what Holland-Dozier-Holland cooked up with hand claps and baseboards in the basement of Motown, Otra Cosa bounces, beginning with Venegas' keyboard bunny hop on opener "Amores Platónicos" ("Platonic Loves"), 2:33 of host-christened piano and glockenspiel. She kicks amor to the curb in 3:23 on the irresistible "Despedida," while "Revolución" tattoos its chant of "dime si" ahead of the synth, accordion, and banjo – all played by Venegas – of the knockout title track. Closer "Eterno," opening with the command "put your tongue under mine" and its wish for that perfect moment suspended forever, just became a Spanish-speaking wedding day staple. Dime si.

****

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