In the days leading up to the 23rd Latin Grammy Awards, Colombian guitarist and singer-songwriter Juanes partnered with several brands — including Apple Music, Universal Music Group, Dolby Atmos and Mercedes-Benz — to preview his highly-anticpated new album. A select number of outlets, including Variety, were invited to take in the “immersive sound experience.”
Immersive was one way to describe it. For the playback, Juanes had this reporter hop in the back of a Mercedes-Benz (pictured above), to roam the surface streets of Las Vegas as several tracks from his new album — due for release early next year — blared through the car speakers. The singer says the partnership, or better yet the “experiment” of the in-car preview, was made in attempt to accurately showcase the texture of his new record (mixed in Dolby Atmos) and its lyrical composition, “the way I always imagined and intended it to sound like.”
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As the percussion rings, the beloved Latin pop rocker tracks nearly every beat switch, crashing cymbal and drum rhythms with his index and middle fingers tapping against his knee. When the first song ends, he begins to describe the foundation for what will be his 11th studio effort — starting with the already released “Amores Prohibidos.” The sultry Sebastian Krys-produced record has a slight psychedelic rock-influence, infused with rough-edged riffs and signature Juanes guitar solos. Lyrically, the song reads like a escapist daydream about separation and forbidden love, falling in line with themes of isolation and the pandemic.
“The song idea began from an article I read during the pandemic on the difficulty of maintaining private relationships, those that could not be known to the world, because of the challenges of seeing the other person,” said the Latin Songwriter Hall of Famer. “Musically, if you take the beat out of the song, it’s actually a cumbia, a type of Colombian folk music, but then when you bring back in the rest of the production, and loop, it takes on a sound and vibe a little like Andre 3000’s ‘Hey Ya’ — and then I added a solo guitar in the style of Chuck Berry for more of a classic rock vibe that meshes with the poetic lyrics about that person you meet ‘In The Dark’ when no one else can see.”
“Writing during the pandemic made him connect with his day-to-day life,” commented Krys of the song. “His Children, his wife, his music, his fears, and passions. It is apparent to me that he has tapped into another level of musical exploration and curiosity which only a handful of artists ever achieve.”
Krys continued: “I believe Juanes has reconnected with his fearless innovative songwriting that defined him early on in his career. This song sounds 100% Juanes and is simultaneously unlike anything he has done before. Juanes has always been an innovator.”
Most details on the remaining unreleased tracks were requested to remain strictly under wraps, as the forthcoming set will be Juanes’ first collection of original releases since 2019’s “Más Futuro Que Pasado,” in which the musician tinkered with chart-topping genres from Latin folk music to reggaeton and pop. The new record will be a follow up to his 2021 covers album “Origen,” which consisted of 12 live performances with songs by Joaquín Sabina, Fito Paez, Bruce Springsteen, and more.
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