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Aventura’s biggest curse is perhaps their biggest gift, and in turn, perhaps the only reason why I still listen and even anticipate their music.

What I mean by this is simple. Aventura’s connection to Reggaeton and R&B, and thus to the mainstream, has caused or forced them, like many other artists, to change their style and sound in order to cater to whatever the kids are buying and paying attention to this week. No matter how hard Aventura tries, however, to transform and re-design their music they usually ultimately fail and are left with the same basis that they began with in the mid and late 90’s. This may be why I listened to “The Last” as soon as I downloaded it a couple days ago.

This isn’t to say, of course, that Aventura hasn’t changed since their first album, “Generation Next” (a reincarnation of Anthony’s original group’s “Trampa de Amor”). It is to say, however, that despite the cocky ad-libs, the bad boy NY front, the overdone collaborations, the sorry bilingual beefs, and the singy songy hooks, Aventura still manages to force the sound of familiar strings into their music and speak about the same Bachata topics that would even please Salsa and Bolero fans.

Aventura’s fifth official album stirred conversation among hardcore fans about whether or not Aventura would split up and pursue separate careers. Lead singer Anthony “Romeo” Santos has become the face of the band and an MTV3 icon while the remaining three members, even once familiar Lenny, have taken a behind the scenes role in the group’s progression. After giving a listen to the album, however, it becomes clear, despite the nostalgic Intro, that Aventura is still very much in tact and will most likely not be breaking up anytime soon, rather using “The Last” as a promotional tool to stir up just what needed to be stirred up, conversation. Solo careers will most likely be evident through the upcoming years, but Aventura’s cohesiveness definitely made its appearance throughout the album.

For those of you who don’t know, I am a fan of a lot of Aventura’s music. When I first arrived in Central America as a kid, Aventura was one of the groups that I constantly heard. Aventura managed to design creative songs as well as social hits, but also remained true to the romantic Bachata/R&B style. Their sound obviously appealed to a kid who, up until this time, had only listened to Hip Hop and Reggae. I enjoyed, for the most part, “Generation Next” and “Love and Hate” (I could have done without “We Broke The Rules”) but by the time their fourth album roled around, I was pretty sure Aventura, like many of the big names in the Latin Music Industry, was going to take an aim for the Billboards, thus changing their sound. Fortunately, “God’s Project” managed to further push Aventura’s name worldwide without some hybrid album filled with unnecessary Hip Hop collabos.

After more cross genre collaborations, an album entitled “Kings of Bachata”, a heavily televised concert on MTV, and a tour with Enrique Iglesias, I was concerned about the group’s fifth album, especially after hearing the Akon collabo, “All Up To You”. I was sure that Anthony would finally take his group to the fulltime mainstream, leaving the Bachata cords to a minimum and the mainstream R&B sound to the maximum.

Once again, however, Aventura has failed to completely transform, which was both suprising and pleasant at the same time.

After a couple listens of “The Last”, fans familiar with the groups past work will be able to recognize familiar sounds from each and every one of the group’s last albums (including “Generation Next”, which was the group’s closest thing to roots Bachata sounds).

Songs like “Por Un Segundo” and “El Deprecio” will cater to the mainstream Latin american fans best familiar with MTV3 ready singles like “Los Infieles” and “Mi Corazoncito”, both off the latest album “K.O.B.” Tracks like “La Tormenta” sound like they could be right off “Love and Hate”, while “Su Vida” provides the conscious track in tradition of “Amor De Madre” and “Hermanita”. “Princesita” sounds like a “God’s Project” bonus track, while “Gracias” provides the traditional fan dedication joint in lines of “Puerto Rico” and “Pueblo Por Pueblo”. Then of course, you have “All Up To You” and “Spanish Fly” which are solely present to provide truth to the sticker which says, “Featuring Akon, Wyclef Jean and Ludacris”. The previously mentioned tracks are some of the album’s lowpoints, but thankfully lowpoints are kept to a minimum for those who have ever enjoyed Aventura’s music.

It’ll take me a while to see what I completely think of the album, but while not better than “Generation Next” or “Love and Hate”, “The Last” is definitely not Aventura’s worse work or even close to it. If you already liked any aspect of Aventura’s music, you’ll find something to enjoy here. If not, I wouldn’t even bother. It is nice to see, however, that Aventura has not completely lost their sound, whether on purpose or not.

Now, I gotta go get my romantic on!

By DJ Mixed Up