Julieta Venegas

Los Momentos (Sony Music Latin)

Phases & Stages

Julieta Venegas

Los Momentos (Sony Music Latin)

Border issues being what they are in these United States of Fear & Loathing, it's no wonder Julieta Venegas prowls the other side of the fences. Los Angeles-born and Tijuana-raised, the winsome, 42-year-old singer-songwriter seduced Hispanics beginning in the late Nineties with her girlish sincerity and voice. Today that might translate into Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino, but Venegas' new millennial output – (2003), Limón y Sal (2006), Otra Cosa (2010) – triumphed more along the lines of Cat Power in garnering five Latin Grammys. Hers are serious songs, too, only with a candy coating. Sixth studio disc Los Momentos sounds like a breakup album, but in line with "Te Vi" (I Saw You), wherein she spots her ex kissing a new squeeze, she wants to remain friends. An emphasis on electro touches can't obfuscate her bottomless well of hooks, beginning with diaphanous opening duo "Hoy" and "¿Por Qué?," the latter caressed by Venegas' accordion. "Nada Importante" and "Verte Otra Vez" offer more beats than hummability, the latter begging to be stripped to its Blur-like piano punctuation, but a ripe threeway with Cafe Tacuba's Rubén Albarrán and French MC Ana Tijoux pays off. The backside fluctuates somewhat, but at 11 tracks in 36 minutes, not a single melody is wasted.

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