Ximena Sariñana – Ximena Sariñana

January 01, 1970

(Warner Music)




Like VH1 believes, Ximena Sariñana is one artist “you oughta
know,” and, as such, the latest to receive the cable station’s crowning
achievement. Although the television title may officially expire at the end of
August, there’s reason to believe eyes will still be on the Mexican-born
singer-songwriter who could very well give American Norah Jones or Canadian
Feist a run for their money in the lucrative North American market.


The last we heard from the 25-year-old, she was singing in
her native Spanish with the very underrated (and mis-titled) release Mediocre (Warner, 2008). Relegated to
“world music” categories and after wading through a disappointing run on the
Lilith Fair 2010 tour, Sariñana was barely given a chance to make a formal
introduction to potential north of the border audiences – so, can you forgive
the girl for putting her name all over her self-titled American-language debut?


The album begins with song “Different,” that features an
engaging Andrew Bird whistle track, exuberant shakers and peppy xylophone
harmonies that could very land itself in a Trident commercial – but rest
assured this is no bubblegum pop. From the get-go, Sariñana wants you to know
she is, well, different from her Top
40 female pack with a huskier voice and more hearty instrumental
experimentation. Second number “The Bid” continues the trend with an Imogen
Heap meets early ‘90s Everything but the Girl flavor that lets listeners float
through an album that feels utterly effortless.


While most of the album follows in the glossy indie
trajectory set out by producers Dave Kurstin (Bird and the Bee) and Dave Sitek
(TV on the Radio), many times the added effects on more than a few tracks feel
pushy and flashy and distract from Sariñana’s homegrown talent. The
Chromeo-type disco beats and retro Atari blips in “Echo Park”
belie Sariñana’s story of “modern love.” Ditto on track “Tomorrow” that offers
a very uncertain Casio solo three minutes into the song. And I’d agree with the
children chanting “we don’t agree” with the awkward addition on “Common


The whole of Ximena Sariñana’s eponymous record is catchy,
thrilling and refreshing in a world of Colbie Caillats and Taylor Swifts; but
Sariñana is wise to keep some of her roots in developing a new aesthetic. One
listen to the singular Spanish track “Tu Y Yo” makes you want more – and in
this multicultural generation, isn’t that the best of both worlds?


“Different,” “The Bid,” “Tu Y Yo” SELENA FRAGASSI



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