Luis Fonsi, "Tierra Firme"

Luis Fonsi has evolved steadily with every album in the past decade, morphing from romantic crooner to thoughtful singer/songwriter who navigates both romantic and uptempo pop fare with sophisticated-and commercially compelling-musicianship. Fonsi's breakthrough album was "Palabras del Silencio" in 2008, but his latest release, "Tierra Firme," is a step beyond in every sense of the word. More orchestrated and layered in its musicianship, the new set boasts enough hits to stay alive on radio for an extended period. Fonsi revisits the distinctive 6/8 beat of his 2008 hit "No Me Doy Por Vencido" in his current single "Gritar" and the more compelling "Respira," both of which are heartfelt power ballads. But he gets whimsical in "Explicame" and the lighthearted dance track "Me Gustas Tu." There's more introspective material, some of it more convincing than others. While "Nunca Digas Siempre" and "El Anillo y La Flor" are lyrically beautiful, "Renacer" rambles. But even in its misses, "Tierra Firme" is a success: ambitious pop performed by a soulful singer who can touch his listeners on many levels.