Once known as the peppy female voice of Colombian salsa trio Alquimia, Carolina Laó went solo with a salsa album but has turned

Once known as the peppy female voice of Colombian salsa trio Alquimia, Carolina Laó went solo with a salsa album but has turned

to pop since her last production. On Carolina, she goes only by her first name, ostensibly to signal her change in direction, from a tropical act to now a purely pop singer. Though Carolina's robust, yet sweet, lyrical voice is highlighted in this collection of romantic ballads and upbeat dance tracks, her former sauciness and verve is largely whitewashed. While tracks like the opening "Desesperadamente" are pleasant enough and others, such as "Prefiero Estar Sola," are quite lovely, there's nothing here to noticeably set Carolina apart from other female balladeers. The songs and arrangements are catchy and well-done but standard, the lyrics are romantic, and the interpretation, while solid, can only go so far. We're afforded a glimpse of Laó the songwriter in "Vivir Sin tu Amor," one of the best tracks of the album (or perhaps one of the most heartfelt?). More of a personal touch would have benefited the entire disc as well.—LC