A Normal Guy

If we've told you once, we've told you a thousand times: Go see Juanes! And if you haven't been paying attention, then know that Juan Esteban Aristizabal is the earnest kid who came out of nowhere (okay, out of Los Angeles) to sweep the second Latin Grammys with his 2000 solo album, Fijate Bien (Pay Close Attention). No one-hit wonder, Juanes has proved a prolific songwriter, brightening the brood of his first album with the hopeful folk-rock fusion of last year's Un Día Normal (A Normal Day). Brought up on Colombian folkloric music, then banging through his youth as a metal head with the Medellin monsters Ekhymosis, strong and sensitive type Juanes brings tough guitar love to mother love (his homage to Mama, "La Unica," "The Only One"), sticky-sweet love (his missing-you duet with Nelly Furtado, "Fotografía," "Photograph"), bad love ("La Paga," "Payback" and "Mala Gente," "Bad Sort"), and most of all to that what-the-world-needs-today kind of love, peace-and-love (as in everyone's favorite post-terrorist anthem "A Dios Le Pido," "I Pray to God"). Uplifted by his lyrics, you might end up singing a little prayer of your own: If I die, let it be of listening to Juanes.

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Celeste Fraser Delgado