Many of us seem to like “live” Latin music albums. I base this observation in that “Live” albums are selling very well.
On Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart, 3 of the top 10 are “Live” albums. But the question I have is why do we like “live” albums so much? I’ll share with you what I look for in “live” albums, but first let’s take a look at some of the recently popular “Live” Latin music albums.
As of this week, the 3 “live” albums in Billboard’s Top (10) Latin Albums are:
- “Sergio George Presents: Salsa Giants“
- “Asondeguerra” by Juan Luis Guerra
- “Sold Out: En Vivo Desde el Nokia Theater L.A. Live” by Gerardo Ortiz
Other recently popular “live” Latin music albums were “MTV Unplugged” by Juanes, “The King Stays King: Sold Out Madison Square Garden” by Romeo Santos, “Live in Hollywood” by Poncho Sanchez, and “Live at Altos de Chavon; El Concierto” by Ana Gabriel. I’ll talk about some of these as I explain what I look for in “live” Latin music albums.
Two Things I Look for in “Live” Latin music Albums
The 2 main things I look for in “live” albums are:
- Good compilation
- Something new
In most cases “Live” albums are a compilation of the artist’s hits, as they perform them in a concert. The exception is when the artist is recording brand new material and chooses to do it “live”. I think Latin music “live” albums sell well because they contain a good compilation of hits.
My reasoning for this is the popularity of artist compilation albums. Look up the discography of your favorite artist and chances are you’ll find several compilations there. The longer the career and popularity of the artist, the more compilation albums you will find.
For me it’s also very important that a “live” album offers something new in the music it provides. For example, I loved Juanes MTV Unplugged. Why? Because it contained a great compilation of Juanes hits but performed in a uniquely acoustical sound for the “unplugged” album.
On the other hand, the recently released “Salsa Giants” has a good compilation of hits (with a few exceptions that I did not enjoy) but offered nothing new in terms of performance. Yet, “Salsa Giants” climbed to the #2 position in Billboards Top Latin Albums (Juanes MTV Unplugged reached #1). How come? Because of the star power and compilation of Salsa music hits the album has. If Latin music fans don’t have most of the music contained in the album, the compilation of hit will drive sales, as it doesn’t matter how the hits are performed.
More “Live” Latin Music Albums
I’m currently working on the review of Juan Luis Guerra’s “Asondeguerra Tour”. It’s another great compilation of the Grammy winning Dominican singer-songwriter. The question is, does it deliver enough new music to make it worth while? I will evaluate this and future “Live” albums from these two perspectives; how good is the quality of the compilation of music, and how much different is the performance from the originals.
Maybe I was wrong in my recommendation of “Salsa Giants”. I enjoyed listening to the “Salsa Giants” album, but I did not recommend you buy it since the songs were performed almost exactly as in the original. To me there is no value added if you have the original music. But, what if you don’t have the original music? Then it may make good sense. And it seems that many people found good sense in buying it.
Stay tuned to the “Asondeguerra Tour” review coming shortly!