Think of Juanes as the male Shakira. Like the belly-dancing Latina, he hails from Colombia, goes by just one name and has luscious long hair. As with Shakira, he also has a great ear for pop-rock hooks. That has helped the singer-songwriter and guitarist win nine Latin Grammys (including Album of the Year in 2003 for his last disc, Un Dia Normal) and be named Billboard's top-selling Latin artist of 2003. The success should keep on coming with Juanes's new Spanish-language album Mi Sangre (translation: My Blood). From the shimmering guitar-pop opener "Amame" ("Love Me Like You Want To") to the closer "Tu Guardián" ("Guardian Angel"), a sweetly lilting ballad that showcases his lyrical voice, Juanes exhibits a sheer musicality that translates across cultures. Lyrically, Juanes, who has yet to record in English, addresses the problems in his homeland, which is still in the midst of a guerrilla war, on tracks like "Sueños" ("My Dreams") and expands his political consciousness worldwide on "Qué Pasa?" ("What's Going On?"). And you don't need to understand the words to feel his passion.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "Amame"