Maná is often described as Mexico's U2, for the instantly recognizable sound they've crafted througout a career spanning two decades. It's been four years already since they released Revolución de Amor, a widely acclaimed collection of powerful rock ballads, which was not necesarilly an innovative album but had solid songs and captivating lyrics.
So after such a long wait, it's kind of disappointing that Amar es Combatir is more of the same. The songs are certainly well-written, lead singer Fher knows how to use his raspy voice, song structure is solid (as you could hear on "Labios Compartidos", the first single). But on this album, Maná lack something very important: fire, passion, enthousiasm. Musically, it all sounds like a routine.
What I find even more disturbing, is that the lyrics are far from original as well. If I hear the words amor, cielo or corazón one more time I think I'm gonna lose it. Even the much-hyped collaboration with Juan Luís Guerra (Bendita Tu Luz) is a whiny ballad, and has too much religious connotations. On previous albums, Fher wrote true gems like Vivir Sin Aire and El Muelle de San Blas, or powerful political songs like Pobre Juan. I'm not sure if four years from now, we will remeber songs off Amar es Combatir.
There is one track that does stand out: "El Rey Tiburón", a creative fusion of rock and chachacha, playful and exotic. I've always liked Maná's latin-flavored tracks the most (Sabanas Frías, Corazón Espinado featuring Carlos Santana) because their slick mainstream sound combines wonderfully with the tropical rhythms of salsa, mambo and chachacha. The silly chorus ("yo soy el rey tiburón, el que te come a besos") suits the fusion sound perfectly. More songs like this on the next album?
Maná - El Rey Tiburón
Maná - Labios Compartidos