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Esencials: Sol ()

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One of three best-of Maná compilations in the Esencials series released in 2003, Sol focuses on the band's rockers, whereas Luna focuses on their ballads and Eclipse on a distillation of both. Maná is admittedly known best for their ballads, which tended to score them their biggest hits historically, but the guys are convincing rockers as well, as showcased here on Sol. Highlights include "Oye Mi Amor," which is probably the best of Maná's earlier rockers; the song was released in 1994 on Donde Jugaran los Niños? and bares some of the band's initial resemblance to the Police as well as the influence of Soda Stereo. By and large, Maná rocked better with each album they released, however, and indeed, their most recent work here is their most appealing. "Sábanas Frías" and "Ángel de Amor," both released in 2002 on Revolución de Amor, are very impressive, the former notably featuring salsa legend Rubén Blades, while the newly recorded song "Te Llevare al Cielo" is a soaring album opener that is clearly among the band's best songs to date, rockers or otherwise. As enjoyable as Sol may be from beginning to end, especially relative to Luna, keep in mind that since Eclipse compiles the best of the band's ballads as well as rockers -- distilling the highlights of both Luna and Sol to a single disc -- it's the recommended route to take for anyone considering a Maná compilation. Eclipse includes all the key songs found here, like the aforementioned "Oye Mi Amor" and "Sábanas Frías," and it intersperses them with ballads like "Rayando el Sol" and "Vivir sin Aire," not only showcasing a full picture of Maná's musical ability but also offering a more compelling listening experience overall. Note that all three Esencials releases include "Te Llevare al Cielo." ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi Hide synopsis

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