Mexican balladeer Cristian's bid for superstardom continues with Azul, an album where no song is spared of his vocal pyrotechnics.

Mexican balladeer Cristian's bid for superstardom continues with Azul, an album where no song is spared of his vocal pyrotechnics. Cristian has a remarkable, multi-octave vocal register, equally at ease in his natural tenor as in high, effortless falsettos. An accompaniment of huge, sweeping strings and the occasional guitar solo provide the perfect backdrop for this grandiosity— in fact, too much so. Azul is overstated in its arrangements, lyrics, and intent. The end result is an album too crafted to really flow with joy. When Cristian lets go, though, like he does on the title track—a catchy, exuberant slice of '80s-etched rock—he achieves a perfect balance, uplifted by his vocal improvisation in the upper registers. But the tracks leading to this, although beautiful, are too overwrought, too reliant on one big chorus after another. Although simplicity is not found here, the occasional variation in sound—as on "Llorar por Dentro," with its stylized trio feel—does bring respite.—LC