Julieta Venegas, "Otra Cosa"
Julieta Venegas has a talent for using both simple language and harmonies to capture profoundly emotional moments in time. She employs the less-is-more aesthetic to great effect on her new album, "Otra Cosa," where she again walks a tightrope between accessible pop and quirky alternative. Venegas is at her best with happy-sounding sad songs ("Ya Conoceran") and ones where she revels in the present ("Eterno"). In Venegas' hands, the accordion is neither stereotypically plaintive nor cheesily upbeat, but lends a melodic shine to everything she does. The exception to the otherwise simple production is the gorgeous "Revolucion," which brings to mind a fife-and-drum corps marching in the name of love--replete with banjo, brass section and clarinet.--Ayala Ben-Yehuda