By Pablo De Sainz
During the 80’s, boy band Menudo became a pop sensation in Latin America. Girls all over the continent knew the group’s songs by heart, including the all-time classic, “Subete a mi moto.”
But the original Menudo members began getting old. The group started to fall apart, while some of its members, such as heartbreaker Ricky Martin, moved on to start their solo careers. New Puerto Rican boys were recruited and Menudo was reborn and kept alive until 1997, when the band changed its name to MDO, in an effort to modernize the group and cut off all ties to the 80’s original members.
In a way, the name change and the new look gave good luck to MDO. Since 1997, the band has had several radio hits and has sold millions of copies in Latin America and the United States.
Recently, MDO turned five. And to celebrate, Sony Discos has released a new album, “MDO 5th Anniversary: Greatest Hits” (Sony Music Entertainment, 2002), a compilation of the band’s best songs, and two brand new tracks.
From the songs’ titles, it is obvious that MDO is a romantic group, which focuses on love, betrayal, and forgiveness. All the good high school stuff. Or the best soap opera theme songs. It seems as if MDO’s music is for lovers in pain, trying to forget. The Spanish word “olvidar” (to forget), appears four times in four different song titles.
A feeling of melancholy is present throughout “MDO 5th Anniversary: Greatest Hits.”
“Te quise olvidar” was a radio hit back in late 2000, early 2001. It might as well be the best track in all of MDO’s career. The voices of the four group members come together to create one strong voice. The song is the monologue of a lover who narrates his affair with another woman in order to forget his girlfriend. At the end, it was impossible to forget her. Everything reminded him of his true love.
“Estuve con otra queriendo olvidarte,
y me fué imposible de mi mente arrancarte...
Y yo la hice mía y en su rostro te veía...”
The album is composed of mostly ballads. “Sin ti” was another MDO hit in early 2001. It is a man’s struggle to survive after his lover has left him. This song uses acoustic guitars, with sounds similar to those found in boleros. One might even say “Sin ti” is just that: a modern bolero.
“Dime que hice mal para merecer tu desprecio cariño...
Sin ti, amor, todo es un desastre,
la vida no es vida, ya nada es lo mismo”.
Some tracks in the album try to put people to dance, but they just don’t succeed. For example, “Baila,” “Déjame subirte al cielo,” and “Ay, cariño” use Caribbean and African rhythms, and prove that MDO should only focus on ballads instead.
The two new tracks in “MDO 5th Anniversary: Greatest Hits” are “Me huele a soledad” and “Ayúdame a olvidar,” both of which are pop ballads, and both of which recently have become popular in radio stations in Tijuana and San Diego.
Although MDO might never be as popular as the original Menudo line up, the band has had five successful years so far. Hits like “No puedo olvidar,” Volveras a mi,” and “Dame un poco más” probe that MDO has a style of its own. “MDO 5th Anniversary: Greatest Hits,” without doubt, is a collectors’ item for those who like pop.