In 1994, Spanish singer, Monica Naranjo released her first album under Sony Music and the rest is history. We can stop this review here. Okay, no we can’t but literally, this is the start of a career for Monica Naranjo that has been nothing but successful. The self-titled debut album helped make her a household name as soon as she made it to the radio with her first single.
When I first saw Monica Naranjo come out in 1994 in Mexico, she scared me. I was not a fan at the beginning and to say I am a fan now would be a half-truth. I might have heard Monica’s music but I never really listened to it because she wasn’t an artist that I wanted to sit and watch. Yes, in 1994 I liked artists for the looks in my younger days. It wasn’t until I was older and began to take a more historical take on Latin music did I stop and listen to Monica from an artistic and music lover’s point of view.
Monica embraced a dance vibe with her music, making her popular in the clubs. Songs like “El Amor Coloca” and “Sólo Se Vive Una Vez” were hits right out of the gates. If Monica’s songs weren’t making you dance, they were making you cry. Monica’s vocals gave fans some very dramatic ballads, too.
Together with producer Cristóbal Sánsano, the two of them wrote the music and lyrics to the eleven tracks on this album. Her plan was to take Mexico by storm which she did. The album was released in Mexico and sold over a million copies. Though the singer was from Spain, she sold almost nothing in her own country. Why? I don’t know.
Twenty-seven years later, I am here listening to this album in-depth and appreciating what Monica gave us with her first album. Her music has stood the test of time with pop songs that sound just like they were released today. The Spanish singer was classically trained and you can tell with the range of her vocals. Nothing is flat. Every song, fast or slow, has dimension.
My only complaint really is the ratio of ballads to dance tracks. In the ’90s, I felt that a good mix is about one ballad per 2-3 pop songs. Monica’s album feels it is more even. I would have liked more upbeat songs to it. Overall, the music is great and Monica’s debut album is the perfect start of a long career.