Ricky Martin

Ricky Martin

Ricky Martin’s first English-language album hit the stores in 1999 amidst feverish expectation, and his challenge was to win new fans without alienating his enormous Latin music base. He pulled it off by emphasizing his personal charisma and brash energy, turning Ricky Martin into a mini-review of Latin pop/modern rock show-stoppers that play up different aspects of the singer’s persona. On the ballad side, there are tunes like “Spanish Eyes,” a sultry number draping Martin’s vocals in rich strings. “Be Careful (Cuidado Con Mi Corazon),” a duet with Madonna, achieves similar results with luminous electronica production. More conventional ballads like “She’s All I Ever Had” and “Private Emotion” are adequate if not outstanding, but the real excitement in this album comes from the upbeat tracks, particularly the sassy (if silly) “Shake Your Bon-Bon” and the irresistibly over-the-top “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” In these sweat-drenched numbers, Martin flirts and seduces in joyful thrall to the beat, and you forget that Ricky Martin is a carefully-crafted project designed to please a world-wide audience. You simply surrender to this gifted singer’s undeniable charm.

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