by Jean-Stephane Beriot
Very early this year Carlos had raved the first album by a young and quirky actress that was unknown to most of us. Very few weeks later she became a favorite on internet radio and a favorite of MySpace. However, the bomb didn’t explode until we experienced one of the best performances an artist has given at the Latin Alternative Music Conference. She had wowed me and every artist, producer and general attendees. That performance followed a wave of rave after rave, from The New York Times referring her as a new Fiona Apple and Edith Piaf, others found a new Astrud Gilberto and a lineup of jazz singers that clearly influenced this new promising artist. It’s rare, but she is one of the few artists that first got attention from the big media and now is finally getting the attention from the indie scene. Rolling Stone was impressed; giving the album the highest rating they have given a Latin album in many years. Latin pop radio stations don’t play her, but it’s not sad as she is getting regular programming on so many indie stations across the U.S., reminds us of when Ely Guerra amazed us all with her masterful Lotofire, one of the best albums in Spanish I have ever heard.
The British act Metronomy, one of the coolest electronic bands in the world, even made a remix for "La Tina". A hard worker now getting many nominations at both the Latin Grammy and MTV Latin-American Awards. The album is no masterpiece and doesn’t fully capture her marvelous voice, but it is one of the most accomplished albums of the year. Her performance at Morning Becomes Eclectic (KCRW) was simply astonishing. Now Ximena has been featured on NPR, which is HUGE for any new artist, such a big cultural institution of the media and especially of music. I had no idea she was so fluent in English, we will be listening to a full English album very soon, people are already asking for it. I’m not sure if Mediocre will be getting an special edition as it did in Mexico, but I’m loving a new song by her called “Pajaritos” which is an English and very cute. I will leave you with links where you can hear her session on KCRW and her great interview at NPR. Also, a majestic performance of Ximena before recording Mediocre, she is covering the classic song “Volare”, her most popular video on YouTube and watch-or-die kinda thing.
Just as a note, my favorite songs on Mediocre: "Sintiendo Rara", "Normal", "Un Error", "Mediocre" and "Gris."