In his first album for Universal, veteran merenguero ToÑo Rosario takes a safe route—for him, that is.

In his first album for Universal, veteran merenguero Toño Rosario takes a safe route—for him, that is. He has chosen a repertoire full of covers, including a merengue version of vallenato hit "Ay Hombre" and new versions of standards like "Sombras Nada Más" and "El Reloj." This is sure to guarantee radio interest, as will the single "Resistiré," a highly personal adaptation of "I Will Survive." That's a hit, but there are misses. "El Reloj," peppered with cries of "I love you baby," is uneventful. (In fact, the cries of "I love you" sprinkled throughout the album are really annoying.) But "Sombras," which features a hint of tango, and "Vamos a Reir un Poco," which blends merengue and salsa rhythms, are edgy and ear-catching. Rosario's voice—nonchalant and slightly off-key—is an acquired taste that hooks listeners after a few listens.—LC