Romeo Santos All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Tue., March 13, 8 p.m. 2012

If you're not Latino, you probably haven't heard of Romeo Santos, but last month he sold out three nights at Madison Square Garden. Santos made his name leading New York bachata superstars Aventura, and last fall he released his first solo album, Formula Vol. 1 (Sony Music Latin), which is even more ambitious in its reach: flamenco guitarist Tomatito guests on "Mi Santa," Usher joins him for a duet on "Promise," and Lil Wayne drops a verse on "All Aboard." Most of the songs retain Aventura's bright, polished bachata sound—fluid, high-pitched acoustic guitars, sweet melodies, and percolating hand percussion, with production that gives everything vivid colors and gauzy textures—but a few make less-than-­convincing detours, including one into throbbing EDM ("Magia Negra," with Spanish rapper Mala Rodriguez) and another into treacly power balladry ("Rival," with Mexican pop star Mario Domm). Fortunately Santos redeems his missteps by shining a spotlight on bachata elders Raulin Rodriguez and Luis Varga on "Debate de 4." He's mastered a balancing act between past and present, tradition and pop, core audience and crossover crowd—so far he hasn't so much as stumbled. —Peter Margasak

Price: $49.50-$129.50

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