Since his days as a hitmaker in the 1990s and early 2000s, the Mexican singer Alejandro Fernández has excelled at stately, immaculately orchestrated ballads — the perfect launching pad for his potent baritone.
On “Decepciones,” Fernández’s band works at a leisurely pace, with a gently strummed rhythm guitar keeping time and trilling horns ratcheting up the drama. There’s no string section here, which makes “Decepciones” more sinewy than some of the singer’s big early hits, and Fernández unleashes his tale of heartbreak in controlled gusts. To marvel at his operatic lung-power, skip to 1:20, where he turns the phrase “aún sabiendo,” or “still knowing,” into a stretchy, shuddering, overwhelming thing.
Fernández is solemn and resolute as he catalogs his pain and romantic disappointment. Impressively, he manages to sneak in one sly, funny zinger without ever breaking character: “I believed you that your heart was broken,” he sings in Spanish. “But it wasn’t broken — it was just empty.”
“Decepciones” appears on Hecho en México, the latest album in a career that has stretched more than 25 years. Hecho en México nods towards the past — the singer’s father, the legendary Vicente Fernández, appears on “Mentí” — while also acknowledging a new crop of talent: The youthful Christian Nodal contributes to “Más No Puedo.”
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