There's every reason to loathe Natalia Lafourcade's self-titled debut if you concentrate solely on her personal background. The spunky 19-year-old Mexican comes from a privileged upbringing, brandishes a smile bigger than our country's federal deficit, and coos self-penned lyrics whose most revolutionary call is to, as her too-Avril "Busca un Problema (Look for a Problem)" describes, "Run to your mother's bed/ And tell her you won't be coming home tonight." But Lafourcade is no fabricated foreign ingénue angling to cash in on America's obsession with sultry untalented teens—this chick can belt. After two opening pieces of pop putridity, Lafourcade moves on to reveal soothing little wonders of dance pulses and Brazilian strums—the album you should've played during the summer, but instead will now spin to melt the coming overcast gloom. The singer/songwriter lets bossa nova's bobbing acoustic plucks and light percussioning wax around clever ditties expressing a desire to dance with the rhythm of elephants ("Elefantes") and describing the sexiness of mangoes on "Mango." Sounds too cute, yes, but Lafourcade is wily enough to make it stick with simple musical arrangements and a surprisingly smoky voice that alternately whispers and growls. Lafourcade also shows an adeptness to rock on the sadly rollicking "Te Quiero Dar," which has her jamming out her forlorn heart in three minutes of radio glory. The album probably plays better for the poppy at heart, but the concluding "Mañana Olvidaré" (Tomorrow, I'll Forget), featuring just her echoed voice and a twitching guitar, pegs Lafourcade as someone who will become more fiendishly talented once her impetuous youthfulness settles.
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