This delightful album arrived just at the right time. With Nothern Germany skipping spring in 2006 and heading straight for pre-summer madness Malena Pérez’s debut album Stars offers the perfect soundtrack. This album has summer written all over it.
Only a few days ago I reviewed the Kenny Dope remix of Chase The Butterflies and while this version is a great latin house song, featured on Stars as a bonus track by the way, it only represents a small section of what Malena Pérez has to offer musically. In fact, now that I know the original album version I’d say this is the better version!
Malena Perez first single, the Michael Johnson produced Free To Fly, is also featured on Stars, and it’s a deep no-nonsense house inspired song with Malena singing in Spanish and English. The midtempo offbeat soul of Surrender shows that Malena feels at home in different music genres. Tomorrow is another highlight, this gently flowing latin breeze will certainly appeal to those who loved the second disc of Bah Samba’s double album 4.
Cubanita Groove is one of the best name-dropping grooves I have ever heard. Here we have Malena mentioning all her heros like Flora Purim, Sade, Minnie Riperton, Maya Angelou, Amel Larrieux, Tracey Thorn or Mercedes Sosa.
The next single, Praise The Day, is Malena’s collaboration with Osunlade. The result is an inspiring, percussion driven deep house affair that makes me wish Malena Perez and Osunlade would work together more often. Confesión is another house winner, this time Malena joined Alix Alvarez in the studio. Monet on flute gives this song that special something. The album’s title track, Stars, is a welcome ballad with just Malena and sparse keys. Another highlight comes with What Do I Do, a modern soul song on which Malena reminds me a lot of Julie Dexter on her Dexterity album. And that’s not because Julie had a song called What Do I Do on this album as well. Malena’s own What Do I Do sounds more like a mixture of Julie’s Moving On meets a slower version of Ketch A Vibe.
Gracias A La Vida is - like Stars - an unornamented song with just Malena’s voice and one instrument. Here it’s a stringed instrument, which gives the song an artistic feeling and actually that’s the one song on Stars I needed a few listenings to really get into it. The hidden track, How Can I Keep From Singing, is a heartfelt a cappella with a nice gospel feeling.
In a nutshell Stars is a great debut album by Malena Pérez full of superduper deep house latin soul and then some and it’s THE summer album of 2006.
Tracklisting of Malena Pérez Stars: 1. Oriente/ 2. Free To Fly/ 3. Chase The Butterflies/ 4. Surrender/ 5. Tomorrow/ 6. Cubanita Groove/ 7. Praise The Day/ 8. Confesion/ 9. Stars/ 10. What Do I Do/ 11. Nshala/ 12. Gracias A La Vida/ 13. Chase The Butterflies (Kenny Dope Remix)/14. How Can I Keep From Singing (hidden track) | released July 11th, 2006 by Cubanita Groove Records
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