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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews


  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Apr
Sounds like … her previous Latin pop efforts, this time around with lyrics that are almost exclusively of a romantic natureAt a Glance … geared mostly toward die-hard Jaci fans and her mainstream audience, this album is fun and well-produced, but too run-of-the-mill romantic fare to be considered among her best

Not even a month after the release of Unspoken in the English market and only a week before her movie debut in Chasing Papi, the multi-faceted Jaci Velasquez offers up Milagro, her unexpected Spanish-language follow-up to 2001's much-publicized Mi Corazón.

With so much work on her plate, one can't help but wonder where she gets the time in her schedule to squeeze in another release, which, surprisingly, hasn't been marketed as fiercely as its two predecessors. There's no word on what the first single is, no information regarding its servicing to Latin radio outlets, and no promo appearances to support it. Most of Jaci's efforts have been geared toward Unspoken and her foray into acting, and, consequently, this lack of attention seems to unintentionally have affected the caliber of the work put into Milagro.

If you're wondering whether this album—whose title is Spanish for the word miracle—lives up to her previous Latin-pop offerings, the answer is no. There's nothing intrinsically bad about the album: it's a well-produced collection of love songs, featuring that slick non-Nashville Latin pop sound that permeated some of Crystal Clear and most of Mi Corazón, and Jaci's voice soars to the heights we're used to. However, while Mi Corazón was a statement about life, love, and God, most of the thematic elements in Milagro aimlessly revolve around the nature of romantic love and its platonic incarnations.

One needs not look further than the first track, the vocally powerful ballad "En El Centro de Mi Corazón" ("In the Center of My Heart") to realize that amidst the inspirational undertones hides a fairly generic love song ("two bodies, two souls, and one song/you have my life, I'm in your hands.") Equally puzzling is "Perdida Sin Ti" ("Lost Without You"—not to be confused with the Unspoken track), which declares in the bridge "I can't breathe when you're close to me/and when I feel your being I lose my head." A little extreme? You bet. Continuing in the obsessive love vein of this project, "Me Valga Dios"—which, by its title, could pass off as a song to God—is simply an inane ditty that is saturated with second-rate love clichés such as "your love takes me to the moon," "your love drives me crazy," "I die every time I don't see you," and "your kisses reach the center of my heart," enough to make even the least demanding listener cringe.

One thing that is sure to irk most of her bilingual fans, however, is the lyrical degrading that the songs "Where I Belong" (from Unspoken) and "Just a Prayer Away" (from Crystal Clear) experienced after their translation into Spanish, which spawned "A Tu Lado Es Mi Lugar" and "A Un Paso De Tu Amor," respectively. Such a process converted two beautiful declarations of faith into uninspiringly ambiguous love-song fodder that, incredibly, fits right in with the rest of the songs. Before anybody cries wolf, though, this fact can be more easily attributed to poor A&R decision making within her label than to Jaci, since she herself isn't too fluent in the dominion of the language, which would explain the cheesy, "let's-show-how-spiritual-she-is" God titles ("Me Valga Dios," "Un Trocito del Cielo") of songs that have nothing to do with divine love.

Whereas Unspoken seemed very personal and stylistically mature and managed to show us a side of Jaci we hadn't witnessed before, this batch of songs comes across as a mediocre, producer-driven collection of love songs, and can be safely considered the first misstep in Jaci's career. Here's hoping Jaci will be more involved in the creative process and song selection of her future Spanish recordings, and that she will have a firmer grasp as to what the content of these songs is.