Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Romeo Santos ft. Usher – Promise

World’s worst Masonic handshake.


Anthony Easton: Usher is like one of those has-been actors who moves onto producing and directing for television and finds himself much more talented at it. Romeo Santos has a beautiful voice, but it’s mostly Usher’s skill as a hustler here.

Hazel Robinson: I love Aventura- — “La Boda” is probably one of my favourite pieces of music ever despite barely understanding four words of it. It’s quite hard not to see Anthony “Romeo” Santos’ work since as an extension of the group, with better-looking bandmates. Usher sounds completely out of place, not least because he’s singing in another language to Santos (their stilted conversation at the start of the video is laughable) and he just sounds utterly lost. Santos is still singing bachata by any other name. Weird and unnecessary-feeling.

Jonathan Bogart: It’s not much of a surprise that Romeo’s solo material has been just as successful as Aventura’s — he was always the focal point of the group anyway. “Promise” fakes out like it’s going to be an R&B ballad at first, but it’s not long before the bachata kicks in, and for fear of the headliner showing him up, guest star Usher is pushed to be more expressive and tender than he’s sounded in years.

Brad Shoup: Usher’s always done the song-cry well, so this is a canny move on a couple levels. Plus, the switching-off underlines the shifts in a deceptively static-sounding arrangement. The bachatas I’ve heard, while a low number, tend toward plastic presentation, which has its own considerable pleasures. Not so much here, but still, now there’s an actual guitar solo — of modest length, but c’mon — on the charts.

Zach Lyon: I hear bachata five days a week at my workplace, but I still don’t exactly have a refined palette for it. Perhaps I like this more because I’m actually concentrating on its nuances and not just hearing it in passing coming out of phones, whose levels always make the guitar dominate the song. This is quite gorgeous. In one of those surprises that isn’t at all surprising when you actually think about it, Usher is perfect here.

Katherine St Asaph: Tenderness turning into tetchiness, breathy singing turning into Auto-Tuned melisma, and that “Usher-Usher!” pant turning up mid-song, after we already worked out Usher was singing five croons ago. In other words, it’s the “Swagger Jagger” of Latin pop — but this time, none of the Frankenpieces work.

3 Responses to “Romeo Santos ft. Usher – Promise”

  1. Ugh. Reviewed the song without specifically referring to Santos. I think I was wary of saying “tremulous” again, but I rather enjoyed his “You Are Not Alone”-style vocal.

  2. I wasn’t aware Aventura were ever massively popular in the US. For a time, they were certainly far bigger in Europe than at home – “Obsesión” topped half a dozen European charts about a year after its original release, it hung around for AGES too.

  3. I’m sure loads of Americans have never heard, or heard of, Aventura, but their last album was a really big Latin hit, with several number one songs. I still can’t listen to the Latin station for a day without hearing “Dile Al Amor.”