Marc Anthony describes his first post-pandemic album as “one man’s story of desamor: Falling in and out of love.” But more than that, Pa ‘Lla Voy is an unabashed celebration of salsa in all its forms, and although it includes hard core salsa, romantic salsa, son and even boogaloo, most tracks are heavy on the soneos or improvisations that are at the heart of classic salsa.
It’s always fun to listen to a Marc Anthony production, with the extraordinary, pathos-filled vocals, those big, lush horn sections and that heavy, live percussion that calls you to the dance floor and keeps the momentum relentless. From the nine-track album — produced by Marc Anthony with longtime collaborator Sergio George and the very talented Motiff as associate producer — here are five of our faves.
“Yo Le Mentí”
Co-written by Elena Rose, Edgar Barrera and Marc Anthony, “Yo Le Mentí” is vintage Marc Anthony romance: a story of lost love, vividly brought to life by the image of another woman taking his loved one’s place on her side of the bed. Anthony delivers the drama of a born storyteller in the initial verses and chorus, then switches his salsa chops for the call and response soneo on the back end. It’s refreshing to see Rose’s name – the only woman on the album — among the credits.
“Amor No Tiene Sexo”
Anthony shines a spotlight on gender issues on this track about the journey of a boy we surmise is gay or transgender. “Love has no sex: Two mouths, one single kiss, one bed, two people who love each other with the same body,” goes the almost melancholy chorus, punctuated by a horn counterpoint. The whispery background vocals taper out to a solo guitar rather than an uptempo soneo at the end for a more deliberately wistful effect.
Possibly my favorite track in the album (at least today), “Mala” benefits from an immediately hooky chorus: “Tu me saliste mala, mala y cara (You turned out bad; bad and expensive).” It’s one of those lines destined to be sung en masse at concerts. “Mala” is a one of those great revenge tracks that can become an instant classic.
“Gimme Some More”
Reminiscent of the classic “I Like It Like That” both in its English chorus and its mid-tempo classic boogaloo beat, this is the delightful outlier in the album that highlights Marc Anthony’s two cultures and outstanding versatility. An irresistibly fun track.
“El Que Te Amaba”
Marc Anthony can sing songs like this all day long. They’re romantic, they tell a story, they boast beautiful melodies, they soar, and they can be danced to. They’re the reason he still matters.