Mediocre (album)

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Mediocre
Ximena Sariñana posed on the cover as the archetypical 1940s housewife in order to demonstrate the mediocrity of perfection.
Studio album by Ximena Sariñana
Released February 12, 2008 (2008-02-12) (Mexico)
July 15, 2008 (2008-07-15) (United States)
Recorded May 2007 (2007-05)–August 2007 (2007-08)[1]
Genre Pop, rock, alternative, adult contemporary, nueva canción, and indie pop (see musical style)
Length 49:20
Language Spanish, English
Label Warner Music Group
Producer Ximena Sariñana, Tweety González, Juan Campodónico, Gerardo Galván, Bruno Bressa
Ximena Sariñana chronology
Mediocre
(2008)
Ximena Sariñana
(2011)
Singles from Mediocre
  1. "Vidas Paralelas"
    Released: January 24, 2008 (2008-01-24)[2]
  2. "La Tina (Metronomy)"
    Released: June 2008 (2008-06)[3]
  3. "No Vuelvo Más"
    Released: August 2008 (2008-08)
  4. "Mediocre"
    Released: January 2009 (2009-01)

Mediocre (Spanish pronunciation: [meˈðjokɾe]) is the Grammy Award and Latin Grammy nominated debut album of Mexican singer and actress Ximena Sariñana, released in the United States on July 15, 2008 (2008-07-15).[4] Mediocre reached #10 on Billboard's Latin Pop Albums, and spawned the hit single "Vidas Paralelas" ("Parallel Lives"). The album gained additional attention when the iTunes Store featured Sariñana's song "Normal" as the canción de la semana — iTunes' free Latino song of the week — during the week of July 8, 2008 (2008-07-08).[5]

Mediocre garnered good reviews from many critics, receiving five stars from SoMinty, four stars from Time Out, and four stars from Rolling Stone magazine. Many critics praise Mediocre for being an eclectic album with a diverse style of songs featuring pop, rock, alternative, and nueva canción styles.

Theme[edit]

Sariñana clarified that her title choice, "Mediocre", means to denounce mediocrity and conformity. She explained in an interview, "This whole idea of the perfect woman of the ‘50s is what the title song is about... There was no possibility of being something different, and that, in turn, created a prototype of a woman who was mediocre."[6]

The album artwork for Mediocre meant to emulate the theme of mediocrity.[4][7][8] Sariñana elaborated, "The cover is a take on the idea that women in the ‘40s and ‘50s had to be ‘perfect.’ Perfect hair, perfect clothes, sitting quietly and making perfect meals and embroidering perfectly. And, ironically, they were all perfect in the same, uninteresting way so that ended up making them all mediocre. That was the idea."[7] Sariñana stressed that she did not intend to produce mediocre content for the album: "It’s not to say that the material is mediocre, but rather that it’s a message of irony, and I think the public gets that, but there are some people out there who like to poke fun at the title."[9]

Recording and production[edit]

Recording commenced in Buenos Aires, Argentina,[10] on May 2007 and finished in August 2007.[1] Various studio musicians were brought in for the recording of Mediocre. Bruno Bressa, the drummer of Volován, helped in the production process of the album, and also played the keyboard and tabla for its tracks.[1] Argentine producer Tweety González and Uruguayan producer Juan Campodónico produced the album in 2008.[8][10]

Musical style[edit]

A short audio clip from the track "Vidas paralelas".

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Mediocre showcases rock, pop, and hip-hop influences. Jimmy Draper of Time Out New York describes the musical style as "full of buoyant, jazz-inflected pop with occasional electronic underpinnings and outbursts of rock".[11] The album opens with "Mediocre", a heavily rock-influenced track,[12] leading to the pop single "Vidas Paralelas".[12] Sariñana relies heavily upon the piano in the pop track "Normal", which also features brass and vocal harmonies.[13] "La Tina" displays a hip-hop influence through its use of electronic beats.[13] "No Vuelvo Más" features Sariñana's use of additional vocal harmonies, as well as acoustic guitars. Ron Bronson of SoMinty points out that "Un Error" and "Sintiendo Rara" are slower songs reminiscent of Sariñana's interest in jazz.[12]

Lissette Corsa of Orlando Weekly points out that Mediocre follows a unique contemporary jazz style.[8] Corsa praises Mediocre, calling it a "deftly crafted alt-pop record", but notes that "it’s the electronic embellishments, dub effects and jazz trimmings—in the form of loose piano lines, subtle tempo changes and vocal improvisations—that make it unique."[8] Corsa also praises Sariñana, whose "lyrics exhibit a remarkable depth for someone her age", saying Sariñana has "a keen understanding of composition and melodic structure".[8]

Genres[edit]

Since Mediocre incorporates many different styles of music, the exact genre of the album is disputed. Allmusic classifies Mediocre as a pop/rock album with adult alternative pop/rock and adult contemporary stylings.[1] However, the iTunes Store classifies Mediocre as an alternativo album[2] to accentuate its Latin American style as well as its alternative style. SoMinty classifies Mediocre as an indie pop album,[12] and Rhapsody categorizes Mediocre as nueva canción, or "new song".[14]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[15]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[13]
SoMinty 5/5 stars [12]
Time Out 4/6 stars [11]

Criticism of Mediocre has been mostly positive, and many critics highly acclaim the album. The Rolling Stone staff rated Mediocre four stars, and Rolling Stone's average viewer rating is four and a half stars.[13] Mark Kemp, a music journalist from Rolling Stone, called Mediocre one of the strongest debuts from a female singer-songwriter since Norah Jones' Come Away with Me, exclaiming "There's sultry torch songs, folky ballads, smart rock — and not a bum track among them."[13] Ron Bronson, a music journalist from the website SoMinty, awarded Mediocre five stars. He describes Sariñana's voice on Mediocre as being "something along the lines of Nellie McKay meets countryman Julieta Venegas meets Sia. [Her voice is] original, in other words. Very original.... If you have any real desire to listen to music en español, you'll be hard pressed to find a better singer on the indie scene these days. Ximena has got chops, folks."[12] Ernesto Sánchez of People en Español labeled Mediocre "one of the most promising Latin Music albums of [2008]".[16] Eric Danton of The Hartford Courant pointed out that "her prospects in the United States are less predictable thanks to a fragmented radio landscape and what for many English-speaking listeners is a language barrier."[17]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Sariñana was nominated for two awards at the Latin Grammy Awards of 2008 for Mejor Nuevo Artista (Best New Artist) and Mejor Canción Alternativa (Best Alternative Song) for her single "Normal".[18] Sariñana won an award at the MTV Latin America Awards 2008 for Artista Revelación (Discovery Artist).[18][19]

On December 4, 2008 this album received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Mediocre"   Ximena Sariñana 4:16
2. "Vidas Paralelas"   Baltazar Hinojosa; Ximena Sariñana 3:57
3. "Normal"   Ximena Sariñana 4:48
4. "La Tina a"   Joaquín del Paso; Ximena Sariñana 3:56
5. "Reforma"   Baltazar Hinojosa; Ximena Sariñana 3:25
6. "No Vuelvo Más"   Leo Minax; Ximena Sariñana 4:13
7. "Cambio de Piel"   Baltazar Hinojosa; Ximena Sariñana 3:53
8. "Sintiendo Rara b"   Erik Coates 3:53
9. "Un Error"   Baltazar Hinojosa; Ximena Sariñana 4:32
10. "Gris c"   Juan Berta; Santiago Carámbula; Nicolás Kolender;
Federico Lima; José López
3:07
11. "Pocas Palabras"   Baltazar Hinojosa; Ximena Sariñana 6:15
12. "Monitor d"   Bruno Bressa; Gerardo Galván; Chalo Galván 4:23
13. "Reforma e"   Baltazar Hinojosa; Ximena Sariñana 3:47
Total length:
49:20

Notes[edit]

  • Data for composers compiled from Allmusic.[1]
  • Fields with an em dash (—) are not applicable.
  • All tracks in bold have been released as singles (see the singles section for more details)

Direct notes[edit]

  • ^a "La Tina" was remixed by Metronomy in 2008 and released as a single.[3][20]
  • ^b Originally performed by Erik Couts[10]
  • ^c Originally performed by the Uruguayan band, Loop Lascano[10]
  • ^d Performed with Volován.
  • ^e The second version of "Reforma" is only available through the iTunes Store.[2]

Singles[edit]

"Vidas Paralelas" ("Parallel Lives"), the first single from Mediocre, was released on January 24, 2008 (2008-01-24). The remix of "La Tina" ("The Bathtub") by Metronomy was released in 2008, and an official music video on YouTube was released by Warner Music Mexico in July 2008 (2008-07). "Normal" was promoted on iTunes to the public in the United States in July 8, 2008 (2008-07-08), when it became the iTunes Latino Free Single of the Week.[5] Los 40 Principales has announced that a music video for the title song will be released in the near future.[21]

Year Title Length[2] Notes
2008 Vidas Paralelas 3:57
2008 La Tina (Metronomy Remix) 3:51
  • Released to the public in June 2008 (2008-06)[3]
  • Informally released as a single
2008 Normal 3:40
  • Downloadable from July 8–14, 2008[5]
  • Promoted in the iTunes Store as the descarga gratis de la semana — the free download of the week[5]
2008 No Vuelvo Más 4:13
  • The music video on YouTube was uploaded by Warner Music Mexico in 2008.
  • Released as a digital download and music video
2009 Mediocre 4:16
  • The music video for "Mediocre" has been finished and has been released.[21]

Credits[edit]

The information below is provided by Allmusic,[1] and the personnel are listed in alphabetical order. Clicking the arrows changes the sort order.

Name Instrument or Role Personnel notes[1]
Bruno Bressa Keyboards, Tabla, Producer Bressa, a drummer from Volován, played drums on their album Monitor (2007). Bressa composed the song "Monitor".
Ulises Butrón Guitar Butrón has also collaborated with Fito Páez, an Argentine musician.
Juan Campodónico Arranger, Producer An Uruguayan musician, Campodónico was a member of El Peyote Asesino and has produced numerous albums, including the original soundtrack to Shrek 2.
Héctor Castillo Mixing Castillo has engineered many albums, including John Legend's album Once Again (2006), and Björk's album Volta (2007).
Nico Cota Percussion, Drums, Hand Drums Cota played percussion on Luis Alberto Spinetta's album Los Ojos (2005).
Uriel Dorfman Engineer, Mixing Dorfman has engineered many successful albums, including Alexandre Pires' album Alma Brasileira (2004) and Gustavo Cerati's album Ahí vamos (2006).
Alejandro Franov Piano, Accordion, Sintesi del Suono Med Franov acted as the librettist of Gustavo Cerati's album 11 Episodios Sinfónicos (2002). His first solo album, Khali, was released in 2007.
Gerardo Galván Guitar, Keyboards, Producer Galván sings with Volován. He composed the song "Monitor" with brother Chalo Galván and drummer Bruno Bressa.
Hernán González Trombone Hernán played the bass for Plastilina Mosh on the albums Aquamosh (1998) and Hola Chicuelos (2003).
Tweety González Piano, Keyboards, Producer, Engineer, Mixing González has been on the music scene since 1990. He engineered Shakira's Oral Fixation Vol. 2 in 2005. González has worked extensively with Soda Stereo and played various instruments on Gustavo Cerati's album Ahí vamos (2006).
Mariano Lopez Engineer Lopez has engineered and produced Illya Kuryaki and the Valderramas' albums Horno para calentar los mares (1993), Chaco (1996), Leche (1999), and Kury Akistan (2003). He has also recorded Soda Stereo and Luis Alberto Spinetta.
Alejandro Piccone Fiscornio Piccone plays trumpet for the band La Vela Puerca.
Ximena Sariñana Piano, Programming, Vocals, Producer, Vocals Before Mediocre, Sariñana acted in various movies and telenovelas. Mediocre is officially Sariñana's debut album.
Luciano Supervielle Piano, Arranger, Casio, Brass Supervielle, along with Juan Campodónico and six others, is a member of the South American band Bajofondo. He has also played keyboard with Uruguayan musician Jorge Drexler.
Sergio Toporek Graphic Design, Graphic Conception Toporek designed the cover of Mediocre. He has also designed covers for other groups, including Café Tacuba's album Re (1994), their compilation Lo Essential de Café Tacuba (2001), and Aleks Syntek's Más Fuerte De Lo Que Pensaba (1994).
Guillermo Vadala Bajo sexto Vadala is a bassist. He has played with Fito Páez, Julieta Venegas, and with Thalía on her album El Sexto Sentido (2005).

Chart performance[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 1 November 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Mediocre". iTunes Store. Retrieved 2 November 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c "Produce Metronomy remix de La tina del álbum Mediocre de Sariñana" (in Spanish). Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico: El Informador. 25 June 2008. Retrieved 31 October 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Martínez Tutek, Andrés (22 July 2008). "Ximena Sariñana: Anything but Mediocre". People en Español. Retrieved 31 October 2008. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b c d "Free iTunes Downloads". Blogger. 8 July 2008. Retrieved 15 September 2008. 
  6. ^ Morales, Ed (19 August 2008). "Ximena Sarinana is many things; 'mediocre' is not one of them". PopMatters. Retrieved 15 September 2008. 
  7. ^ a b Guanabee (17 July 2008). "Guanabee Chats With Ximena At LAMC" (PHP). Guanabee. Retrieved 15 September 2008. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Corsa, Lissette (11 September 2008). "No Desperate Housewife: Mexican singer Ximena Sariñana dances around conformity". Orlando Weekly. Orlando, Florida. Retrieved 1 November 2008. 
  9. ^ Martínez, Andrés (22 July 2008). "Ximena Sariñana: Anything but Mediocre". People en Español. Retrieved 16 September 2008. [dead link]
  10. ^ a b c d "Singer-Songwriter Ximena Sariñana To Perform On KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic And WNYC's Soundcheck" (CFM). New York City: Global Rhythm. 3 July 2008. Retrieved 31 October 2008. 
  11. ^ a b Draper, Jimmy (30 April 2008). "Album Review - Ximena Sariñana". New York City, New York: Time Out New York. Retrieved 31 October 2008. [dead link]
  12. ^ a b c d e f Bronson, Ron (19 May 2008). "Mediocre by Ximena Sariñana". SoMinty. Retrieved 15 September 2008. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Kemp, Mark (18 September 2008). "Ximena Sarinana". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 15 September 2008. 
  14. ^ "Mediocre by Ximena Sariñana". Rhapsody. Retrieved 2 November 2008. [dead link]
  15. ^ Birchmeier, Jason. "Mediocre > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  16. ^ Sánchez, Ernesto. "Mediocre: Ximena Sariñana". People en Español (in English and Spanish). Retrieved 16 September 2008. 
  17. ^ Danton, Eric (22 July 2008). "CD Review: 'Mediocre' by Ximena Sariñana". The Hartford Courant. Hartford, Connecticut. Retrieved 27 November 2008. 
  18. ^ a b "Ximena Sariñana" (in Spanish). Retrieved 31 October 2008. 
  19. ^ "Juanes arrasa en los MTV Latinoamérica". People en Español (in Spanish). 17 October 2008. Retrieved 31 October 2008. 
  20. ^ Sariñana, Ximena with Metronomy (31 July 2008). "Ximena Sariñana - La Tina by Metronomy" (SWF). Warner Music México. YouTube. Retrieved 31 October 2008. 
  21. ^ a b "Actualidad - Ximena Sariñana con nuevo vídeo" (ASPX) (in Spanish). Mexico: Los 40 Principales. 19 November 2008. Retrieved 22 November 2008. 
  22. ^ "Ximena Sariñana - Mediocre (album)". Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  23. ^ a b "Mediocre - Ximena Sariñana". Billboard. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Certificaciones –" (in Spanish). Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. 

External links[edit]