In the last few years, many artists have chosen to record the so-called “Primera Fila” albums; an unplugged, recorded live album where they sing well-known songs and a few new ones.
Why do they do it? Well, in my opinion, most of the artists that record them tend to be well-known, with long careers yet that for some reason or another have had trouble getting new hits and seem a bit stagnated.
At least, these albums tend to offer new and different versions of hits. Of course, a song sang live sounds different than the recorded track and in the “Primera Fila”, songs get a new vibe that many makes them even better than the original versions.
Costa Rican Singer adds feeling to the Primera Fila version of “Si quieres decir adios” from Franco de Vita.
The best part of the Primera Fila is when artist manage to find unreleased songs that work on the acoustic format and that serve as first singles.
One of the first Primera Fila, and in my opinion, one of the most successful is Thalia’s, who with the help from Mario Domm (Camila), managed to revive her carreer with “Equivoda”. Even better, she was able to change her image from a highly produced, telenovela queen to a “true” artist with actual musical talent.
Mexican singers Sasha Sokol, Benny Ibarra and Erik Rubin took a break from their solo carreer to get back together (in their teen years they were part of Timbiriche, a Mexican Menudo that also included Thalía and Paulina Rubio). Their case is special since they decided to rerecord each others songs and a few new ones. The album has revived their careers even deciding to tour Mexico together.
Franco de Vita, Cristian Castro, Juanes y Alejandra Guzmán are only one of the fews that have taken the challenge to revisit their classics and those of others live. The most recent example, is the Spanish band La Oreja de Van Gogh who manage to do a pretty good job with a few guests (Check out “La Playa” with Leonel García), without damaging La Oreja’s peculiar sound.
The best one? The new song “María” with Natalia LaFourcade.
If an artist needs to reinvent himself and wants to be more original than just releasing a greatest hits album, the best recipe is to record a Primera Fila album.