It’s virtually impossible to make a cover song that is even better than the original version, but I’ve got to say as both a critic and as a music enthusiast in general, Esteban Alvarez’s rendition of “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman” (titled “Has Amado Una Mujer de Veras” on his new album La Bikina) comes awfully close. Using his trademark blend of Latin rhythm, jazz piano and classically-minded arranging, Alvarez takes a 90s relic and brings it into the 21st century with immense zeal, and even if you aren’t much of a Bryan Adams fan, I’m pretty sure that if you enjoy sensuously smooth music, you’re going to like this song nevertheless.
There are really only a couple of indie performers on the entire globe at the moment who have as much buzz around them as Esteban Alvarez does right now. And it’s for good reason; his music is finding its way into markets and formats some in his scene has only ever dreamed of. What is so critically important about his work isn’t just the artists who are making huge gains because of it, but the fact that his work is igniting interest in a subgenre of pop music that is sorely overlooked by today’s music media.
The unique thing about Esteban Alvarez is that his music has a very rare quality of appealing to fans of classical music, instrumentals, post-rock, jazz, urbano, new age and contemporary pop, making him not only marketable to his core audience but insanely versatile as an artist in general. There are understated nuances littered throughout his music, and this latest single is no different. A trained ear could spend an endless amount of time studying the complexities of his melody; I for one just enjoy sitting back and listening to him play his heart out on the piano.
This guy is so devoted to making music, and it’s abundantly exhibited in all of the work that he’s produced to date. I found myself, after hearing “Has Amado Una Mujer de Veras” for the very first time, feeling completely relaxed and isolated from any stress that I was experiencing earlier in the day, which doesn’t often happen when I sit down to review a record or a single. The way that Alvarez exudes such a command over his instrument, his exquisitely precise timing, is almost therapeutic to the ear and mind both.
Esteban Alvarez lives to make music for the sake of making music; deriving any harmony that he can out of the subtleties of life, taking the mundane moments and turning them into iconic scenes of triumph. There aren’t a lot of words to summarize how important that is to the world that we live in, especially right now when it seems like nobody really wants to get along with each other anymore. But words aren’t necessary when you’ve got music as powerful and moving as this. I won’t try and describe his sound anymore. I’ll just tell you to get out there and listen to his work for yourself. You won’t regret it.