"There is a seemingly inexorable tide of Latin music flooding
the charts at the moment. From the pop posturing of Ricky Martin
to the ageless brilliance of Santana, the vibrant rhythms and
melodies of Spanish heritage reign supreme.
Is this a good trend? No, it’s a great one. The music is
feisty and sophisticated beyond the blues cliches and basic
backbeats of the formulaic pop/dance numbers whose hegemony long
But there is a tendency for its popular representation to have
a uniformity of its own. Which is what makes this soundtrack so
refreshing. Instead of percussion-laden rhythms accented with
dramatic stabs from a burgeoning horn section, it showcases the
subtle side of Spanish.
A haunting trumpet plays long, sustained notes of
mood-enhancing harmony over a beautifully cultivated bed of
strings, while ornamental flute, guitar and piano flicker in
between. It is a delicate ambience that occasionally intensifies
in drama with staccato string pulses and syncopated drumming
underpinning short, poignant melodies. These phrases often
flutter and scatter like a disturbed flock of seagulls only to
regather and soar in a new direction.
I love the production on this soundtrack: the stings are lush;
the guitars and accordions are recorded up close and tactile; and
the drums have just the right balance of ambience and punch. Most
impressively, the piano is bright but never harsh – perfect
for the evocative single-note phrases (played by Iglesias
himself) that vary between closely clustered intervals and
extravagant multi-octave leaps.
This soundtrack is too moody and introspective to be
entertaining in the same way that a score brimming with big brash
themes might be. But it is clever, classy and atmospheric to a
degree that makes it utterly compelling nonetheless."