by: Manuel Carrasco

After rising to fame as a reality television heartthrob, Operación Triunfo runner-up Manuel Carrasco garnered respect with a recording career that found him blossoming into an accomplished songwriter. While he was credited with writing only about a third of the songs on his debut album, Que Corra el Aire (2003), he wrote practically everything he sang from his self-titled second album onward, including the hits "Y Ahora" and "Cariño Esperame." On his fourth album, Inercia, he is once again credited with writing all of his own songs, and there are quite a few gems here, above all "Sígueme," "Menos Mal," and "Que Nadie." The latter song is particularly noteworthy, for it became a number one smash hit, topping the Spanish charts for five weeks straight in late 2009. The smash hit version is a duet with Spanish superstar Malú; however, the original version is sung solo. Much like Carlos Baute' s chart-topping duet with Marta Sánchez from earlier in the year, "Colgando en Tus Manos," the smash hit version of "Que Nadie," is exactly the same as the original non-hit version albeit with overdubbed duet vocals, and in the wake of the song's breakout success, a new version of the album was issued, adding the duet version along with some bonus material. Those particular about picking up the hit version of "Que Nadie" featuring Malú should seek out the Edición de Lujo of Inercia, the one released in September 2009, a year after the original edition's release. The 2009 edition shifts the sequencing a bit, putting the duet version of "Que Nadie" in album-opening position and pushing all the other songs, including the original version of the song, back one track number, and it tacks on two worthwhile bonus tracks, the lively "Nunca Más" and the acoustic "Voy." Though Carrasco could benefit from a bit more diversity in his songwriting, particularly in terms of musical style, he continues to develop and impress as a songwriter with each successive album release. Inercia is yet more evidence that he's a genuine talent rather than simply a long-haired hunk as some critics suggest. ~ Jason Birchmeier

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