Guitar strings penetrate a reflective drum beat in the opening bars of “Para Ti,” the third single from Labán’s highly anticipated debut album Todos Somos Dueños de Aquí, but they’re not the only agent of evocation that is flexing some sonic muscle at the onset of the track. The percussion shadows the strut of a swaggering bassline; a velvety vocal warms a stone cold groove that inspires us to shake our hips to its synchronized march; the guitar is lightly overdriven, but even though it isn’t virtuosic in the conventional sense, it’s imparting as much emotion as the narrative in the lyrics is. This is unquestionably Labán at his most relaxed, unurgent and cathartic (as we’ve heard him, at least), and there’s a confidence in his voice that is infectious from the moment that we first hear it in this song. “Para Ti” doesn’t ask a lot from us in exchange for a plethora of passionate melodies that tend to sting as hard as heartache does, and while it might not be as engrossing as “Dueños de Aquí,” it’s a superb addition to his discography just the same.

As much as the vocal is the centerpiece of this single, it doesn’t steal any of the blistering thunder away from these incredible beats, which might be the most stirring component to behold in “Para Ti.” Unlike past cuts, I’m not getting as much of a melancholic overtone in the instrumentation; on the contrary, the pain here appears to be in the tortured, bittersweet singing of Labán, who could be crooning in virtually any language and still get his point across through his wickedly intoxicating vocal timbre.


I like that “Para Ti” isn’t overproduced in any way; from the guitars to the drums and right back to the lyrical delivery from Labán, nothing here feels forced, overly varnished or dripping with the insipidities of technological augmentation. The rhythm is naturally blushing, the harmonies overwhelming in their organic grandiosity, and even if the song would have been more anthemic with a heavier bassline, I don’t get the impression that Labán was going for that in this track – or any that we’ve heard from Todos Somos Dueños de Aquí thus far.

Looking for a romantic jazz pop sound with an erudite edge both lyrically and instrumentally? You won’t need to search beyond the collective works of Mexico’s own Labán, who continues to prove himself an amazingly adept singer, songwriter and arranger in songs like this most recent release. “Para Ti” is devoid of the innate embellishments that so many of this artist’s contemporaries have come to require when conceiving new music, and though it rebels against mainstream production standards when it comes to embracing commercialized bells and whistles, you’re not going to find another track bearing as much of its composer’s identity as you will in this one. Labán isn’t afraid to be himself with us, whether it be in his sharply appointed harmonies or the raw admissions we find in his poignant poetry, and that is probably the biggest reason why his brand is getting the buzz that it is right now.

Sebastian Cole