REVIEW: Juanes - Origen (2021)
Like most artists, Colombian rock pop artist, Juanes took the time over quarantine to develop a concept album that got people excited. Including me. This year, Juanes released ORIGEN (Origin). A tribute album to the songs that influenced his love for music over the year. This is not your pre-pandemic, Juanes.
Over the years, Juanes based his success on the growing popularity with the sounds of his home, Colombia. He infused that classic Colombian sound with rock and pop styles. This has done well for him and has elevated his success to heights of international status. This status has given him the opportunity to collaborate with huge artists like The Rolling Stones, Metallica, and more. His unique vocal sound makes his music immediately recognizable.
With ORIGEN, Juanes takes a journey through his musical past with songs that inspired him as a young and impressionable musician. His musical start began with the rock band Ekhymosis. He quickly went solo and has not stopped since his 1988 start. The first single from the album is a cover of Fito Paez's anthem, “El Amor Después del Amor” (The Love After Love).
Juanes dressed as Fito Paez for his documentary about the album.
“I only knew popular music. It was the only thing that could be heard from the bar, and my siblings listened to it at home. I’m very connected to that since I was very young, and I love it.” - Juanes interview with Rolling Stone Magazine.
With the urban music dominating the industry, Juanes tries to stay close to his rock roots for this album. He took the opportunity to embrace his love for popular pop music has he pays tribute to artists like Bruce Springsteen, Juan Luis Guerra, Bob Marley, and Juan Gabriel. There is such a diverse list of artists and songs on the album. Juanes attempted to keep the rhythms and integrity of the original while putting his own spin on it. He achieves his mission. Songs like Juan Gabriel's "No Tengo Dinero" and Springsteen's "Dancing in The Dark" are great versions that might surpass the originals.
While there are quite a few songs that I do not know or recognize, those I do; I enjoyed. It makes me want to return to the early days of the singer and explores his early works to find that spiritual connection with his favorites. I know Juanes started out in the early breakout days of rock in Colombia but as his success grew, he took a turn for the masses. I can't fault him for that because ultimately, you need to make money and money comes from the masses.
Artists may say they live for the art but fame looks pretty good, too. Juanes played for the masses and brought his Colombian heritage with him at a time when the masses wanted local flair. This is why this folk alternative pop came out with such vigor. Everyone is embracing culture but still wants pop music. Great. Juanes has this down.
I do appreciate that with ORIGEN that we got a sense of Juanes today, along side a sense of Juanes yesterday. Juanes will be going on tour this fall with his "ORIGEN TOUR" and will be playing many dates in the US.