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THE LATIN GRAMMY AWARDS

Song of the Year

September 12, 2000

Al lado del camino: FITO PAEZ

This Argentine rocker has always showcased a knack for impressionism, filling his songs with vivid images of life in the Third World. This time, he has outdone himself with a torrent of metaphors and musings that reveal the soul of a restless poet inside the body of a famous singer. With the fury of a machine gun, Paez spits out a list of the events, people and influences that shaped him: "The books, the songs and the pianos/The movies, the betrayals, the enigmas/My father, the beer, the pills, the mysteries, the cheap whiskey/The paintings, love, the stages/The hunger, the cold, crime, money and my 10 aunts."

Dimelo (I Need to Know): MARC ANTHONY

If there's one song in Anthony's self-titled English album that demonstrates the Nuyorican singer's potential for crossover success, it's this deliciously crunchy song (which he co-wrote with Robert Blades, Angie Chirino and Cory Rooney). The track's most alluring element might be its bouncy rhythm, a combination of cha cha cha cowbells and steamy funk. Anthony's first salsa hit was a tropicalized cover of the Juan Gabriel classic "Hasta Que Te Conoci." In subsequent albums, he emerged as a serious songwriter with a keen understanding of the musical elements that make for a good single.

El niagara en bicicleta: JUAN LUIS GUERRA

The subtle shadow of rap and a thunderous bass line give this typically kaleidoscopic Guerra composition a distinct identity. The lyrics, telling the story of an emergency visit to a hospital where help is very hard to come by, illustrate the singer's wry sense of humor. Guerra's charm lies in his mordant observations on Latin American surrealism--always disguised with palatable melodies, infectious beats and a joyful spirit that refuses to take anything seriously. His biggest asset is the mischievous curiosity with which he continues to experiment with disparate musical genres.

Fruta fresca: CARLOS VIVES

A classic reminiscent of the golden era of Latin music, this song (written by Martin Madera) sums up the winning combination of styles that has turned the Colombian singer into one of the most creative Latino musicians of the last 20 years. The biggest asset of Vives' pleasant voice is his utter sincerity and contagious enthusiasm. Wisely, he anchors his work on two formidable talents: the sweet gaita (flute) of the volcanic Mayte Montero, echoing the mystical sound of the Andes, and the hot accordion of Egidio Cuadrado, responsible for bringing the melody back to traditional vallenato territory.

O tu o ninguna: LUIS MIGUEL

A veteran of the romantic pop genre, Spanish composer Juan Carlos Calderon collaborated for the first time with Miguel on 1986's "Soy Como Quiero" album. It doesn't come as a surprise, then, that this nominated tune captures Miguel's essence with effortless immediacy. Framed by lush cushions of strings and delicate touches of percussion, the lilting melody is performed by Miguel with his customary no-nonsense approach, turning a simple declaration of love into a melodramatic tour de force--a proposition most Miguel fans found impossible to resist.

O tu o ninguna: LUIS MIGUEL

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