I get a lot of CDs from record labels, hoping to interest me in an up and coming act. Most don’t move me one way or the other, but when I popped Ximena Sariñana’s self-titled English debut album into my computer, I instantly liked what I heard.
Although she is not widely recognized here in the U.S., Ximena has developed a nice following in her native Mexico where she has appeared in several films and released a critically acclaimed Spanish album called “Mediocre” in 2008.
It takes a lot of courage to attempt to cross over to the English market — mainly because success in one market does not always translate to another, but with her first English album, Ximena takes that leap fearlessly, and what transpires is a strong English-language album debut that’s worth your time.
The music is upbeat and poppy, with hints of techno that are never overpowered by her candid vocals.
Songs like “Different,” “Love Again,” and “Wrong Miracle” are peppy, beat-heavy, and characteristically sound optimistic even if some of the themes of the songs aren’t.
“Rio” is one of my favorite sounds on the album because the melody sounds a little mischievous, yet playful and light. The beat is addicting.
“Echo Park,” to me, is a little psychedelic and the opening portion of the song reminded me of early 90’s hip-hop sounds.
Ximena also showcases her more vulnerable and soulful side with ballads like “Common Ground,” where she gives listeners the opportunity to see inside her soul.
Ximena can walk away proudly from this album with a feeling of accomplishment. Her fan base will surely continue their loyalty in this leap, but I’m certain she’ll attract some new followers along the way. One thing that cannot be denied — this new artist has musical talent.