On her newest album, Puerto Rican vocal star Olga TaÑón goes a step further to promote the notion that she's a versatile singer capable of much more than the merengue that made her famou

On her newest album, Puerto Rican vocal star Olga Tañón goes a step further to promote the notion that she's a versatile singer capable of much more than the merengue that made her famous. Yo Por Tí includes bachata ("Miénteme"), timba ("Pegaíto"), and what could be termed a reggae/ vallenato ("Quiero Que Tú Me Quieras")—that is, in addition to a healthy dose of merengue. This is stuff that Tañón does extremely well, with a gusto and verve that salvages even such mundane tracks as the unimaginatively titled "I Wanna Have Fun." To her credit, Tañón didn't feel the need to record numerous pop tracks in order to ostensibly prop up sales or further prove her prowess (indeed, the weakest track of the disc is the ballad "Prohibido el Paso," which suffers from heavy strings that sound anachronistic for this forward-looking album). Instead, she once again makes the point that, with the right interpretation, tropical music can retain its drive and become significant.—LC