For her maiden excursion outside mariachi, Rojas chose to play it safe and do covers of Latin-pop master Juan Gabriel. The 14 songs were selected out of 350 of Gabriel’s vast collection from his early composing days in the ’70s and ’80s, and Rojas gets a hand from the master himself in duets with Gabriel on songs like the soulful “Siempre en Mi Mente” (“Always on My Mind”); their best work together is “Insensible” (“Insensitive”), an early-’80s bolero hit that should become another chart-topper in the young singer’s career. Produced by Rojas’ longtime producer, Carlos Cabral “Junior,” Nydia often finds her seemingly lost in the midst of either too many experimental grooves or too much jazzy instrumentation. Yet her beautiful voice saves the album from being just another Juan Gabriel covers collection. Rojas comes through with the ballad “Ya Lo Se Que Tu Te Vas” (“I Know That You Are Leaving”), which is dedicated to her recently departed father. “Me Gusta Bailar” (“I Like To Dance”), a hit from the disco-era soundtrack of the movie Al Otro Lado del Puente (On the Other Side of the Bridge), sounds freshly imbued with Rojas’ youthful innocence.
Nydia leaves little doubt that Rojas would be among Gabriel’s best cover vocalists if he would produce and write for her an album with new songs, as he has for greats like Rocio Durcal. That would be something to behold. (Joseph Trevi√Īo)