She stares out at us from the cover of the CD case, weird shiny stuff radiating from her head, a starchild goddess with big fat gangsta rings on every finger. Her album proper begins with a lick stolen from Golden Earring’s “Twilight Zone” and ends with a song called “Dame Otro Tequila” featuring the fakest mariachi horns ever synthesized. She just broke up with her jet-setting architect boyfriend and is now dating Chris Judd. Clearly we are in the presence of genius.
She calls the album Pau-latina but it’s more like Pan-latino: Every form of Latin music is plundered and looted, because she’s a damn pirate and she just doesn’t care what you think. “Te Quise Tanto” is accessorized with a “Livin’ la Vida Loca” rumble-riff and flamenco guitars and some psychedelic wah-wah noise, making it the year’s best single so far; “Perros” will succeed it this summer probably, because it’s reggaetón, because it’s fun as hell, and because it might as well be “Who Let the Dogs Out” with Chihuahua barks.
She can be corny and soft-soap sometimes, but that is her privilege, because she’s a pop savant from another planet. Recognize, represent, etc.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 6, 2004