Rising flamenco-pop artist Pablo Alboran just made history in Spain – three of his albums (his latest, Tanto; his self-titled debut album; and his acoustic set, En Acústico) were No. 1, 2, and 3, respectively on the Spanish charts, and that's something no one, not even his predecessor Alejandro Sanz, can claim.
Although Alejandro Sanz' new, Latin Grammy-nominated record "No Me Compares" asks precisely that he not be compared to anyone, that is exactly what I'm going to do to settle the score once and for all of who's the overall king of hearts when it comes to Spanish, flamenco-loving, pop-rock heartthrobs. Just to spice things up, I put another Spaniard in the ring, Antonio Orozco, who was also up for a Latin Grammy this year - for Song Of The Year ("Estoy Hecho De Pedacitos De Ti," feat. Alejandro Fernandez).
MEET THE CONTENDERS
Alejandro Sanz, 43
Antonio Orozco, 39
And last, but not least, Pablo Alboran, 23
Because we're comparing these artists based on the following skills, we had to leave some people out (sorry, David Bisbal, you don't play your own instruments.)
Our categories are: Impact, Hotness, Superior Guitar Skills, Killer Vocals, and Poetic Lyricism.
Let's see how they fared...
Hailing from Madrid, Sanz has been in the game since 1988, Barcelona-bred Orozco for 10 years, and Malaga's Alboran for less than five, so it's clear who the veteran is.
But even though Alboran just made chart history in Spain, it's nice to see that he respects his elders. "Of course Alejandro Sanz has been a big influence," he told us last year at the Latin Grammys, when he was up for three awards, including Best New Artist. "He's wonderful and very generous. He called me to congratulate me on the nominations, he invited me to his home. He really connects with people. He's Alejandro Sanz, there's nothing else to it."
Orozco isn't as well known outside of Spain, which is why his record label, Universal, announced at the Latin Grammys that he'll be embarking on his first major tour in February 2013, so Sanz better watch his back!
Let's be real. If they weren't attractive, we'd be less inclined to listen to their beautiful lyrics. Lucky for these three, they're all easy on the eyes. Back in the day, Sanz would've murdered this category, and he still looks good, even if we can tell he's had a little something something done. Then again, his wife Raquel Perera is a brand ambassador to a line of anti-aging cosmetics, Matriskin, made in France, so maybe he just has his skin routine down.
Orozco has that Javier Bardem-like, I'll-kick-someone's-ass-for-you roughness going on, and we just want to run our fingers through his long, thick, curly hair in the video for "Estoy Hecho De Pedacitos De Ti." But as a whole this one goes to Pablo, who still has that youthful glow and probably will only get hotter as he gets older.
SUPERIOR GUITAR SKILLS
Alboran's strumming skills are on display on his latest album, En Acústico, and Orozco can hold his own, too. But this is one category where Sanz again wins and it's really no wonder: Sanz has been studying the work of flamenco master Paco de Lucia ever since he picked up his first guitar as a little boy, and it shows.
Don't believe me? Listen to this buleria, "Todo Es De Color," off his MTV Unplugged album and the argument ends there.
Alboran's range is impressive, especially on the ballad "Solamente Tu," off his debut album. Orozco's voice has a nice texture to it, too, even if it is a little unpolished for my personal taste. But if we're talking who is the perfect blend of flamenco and pop, it's Sanz all the way. "Corazon Partio" is the most perfect example of this.
Alboran may be the rookie here, but he sure knows how to express profound heartache, as in "Ladrona De Mi Piel":
"Ya no es suficiente /te has cansado y pretendes que te abraze como la primera vez/ Fuiste tu, ladrona de mi piel/has seguido mis andares, me has robado el ayer/fuiste tu, quien destrozo mi ser/que me has hecho daño y no lo quieres ver."
Sanz always teaches us a new, elegant, ancient-sounding word in Spanish with each song. In "No Me Compares," it's aspavientos, which apparently means fuss, or an exaggerated display of feeling. For that alone he deserves credit.
Orozco is such a diehard romantic it's hard not to fall for him when he hits you with lines like these, from "No Hay Mas":
"No hay mas imposibles que no verte/mas mal sueños que perderte/no hay silencios que callen por ti/no hay mas ilusiones que tenerte/mas riquezas que quererte/no hay mas pobres sin ti."
Winner: This is a tough one, so we're going to say it's a tree-way tie!
And the reigning champ is….ALEJANDRO SANZ! Who rules your heart?