Gran City Pop, Paulina Rubio

Universal Music Group, México
Rating: 40
By Carlos Reyes

Paulina is everything Thalia isn’t, a pop star. And I know this description will upset many of you, and I’m no closet fan at all but there are things that I find amazing about her, like the way she carries herself around, like a hippy in the fancy pop city she aims to create, a challenge and obstacle for many of us that have been caving channels for alternative music to spread out, but we’re reaching a state of mind that thinks pop is a lesser form of entertainment when it continues to be the backbone of it. Gran City Pop is not a good album, but I want to make sure people understand that we’re not escaping from the artists Univision, Televisa and Los 40 Principales bombard us with. Also, to let you know that Paulina’s latest is better than the new material from Volovan, Love of Lesbian or Fangoria, and a lot of other mediocrities that are supposedly edgy and therefore better, Paulina at least is self-aware and realizes her conventions within a classicist pop where she has no problem letting her producers, songwriters and engineers manufacture the sound she will help visualize. She has an ounce of an author, and yet manages to build an empire of glamour, and that’s admirable (unless you’re a purist that considers superstars as murderers of ‘good music’, which I don’t, I blame Don Francisco).

This is of course, not as alluring as the good pop of Belanova, Shakira, Naty Botero or Miranda! And miles away from pop’s advancers Natalia Lafourcade, Quiero Club and Javiera Mena, what I’m trying to get to without much success is that if something like “Umbrella” by Rihanna would’ve been made in Latin America, chances are it would’ve been beaten by most music critics from this region, when it’s a perfect song, I’m afraid one of these days one of Paulina’s laborers will make a perfect song and it will be neglected. It surely is a passionate debate, I once argued “Empezar Desde Cero” by RBD was a good song and got myself a mailbox full of hate messaging, but I believe critics, DJs, radio hosts etc should exercise what people call suspension of disbelief, you’ll get surprised. Back to Paulina, search through my iPod and you’ll find “Y yo sigo aqui” in there, along with “Sera Entre Tu y Yo” which is grandeur if you asked me. As you can see, this is not exactly a review but an excuse to let some words out of my system, Paulina even provokes discussion.

I wish I could defend my arguments with a better, perhaps good album, but ‘la chica dorada’ is some kind of emblem, that image of a popstar that attracts all kinds of people, like Carlos Reygadas who is Latin America's best filmmaker and wished Paulina was the protagonist of the highly explicit and acclaimed Batalla en el Cielo, she accepted, but not her label. Don’t expect anything as good as Paulina, this is even more cold and unexciting as Paulatina, but production-wise is glossy as usual. It either abuses violins (“Melodia de tu Alma”) or sounds too cabaret to scratch any surface (“La Danza del Escorpion”), this last song has a cool title doesn’t it? Wish it was something in the likes of Rayito Colombiano and their animalistic cumbias. “Causa y Efecto” is an appropriate, passable single, written by today’s hot songwriter Mario Domm, she also recruits Estefano, Aleks Syntec, Coti, Los Rabanes and Jeremias. Not a very enchanting city, but it’s got mayor with plenty of personality to win the popular vote.