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Album review: Ricky Martin's 'Musica + Alma + Sexo'

Rickymartin Anybody who has seen Ricky Martin in concert knows that the Puerto Rican singer has something going for him that too many stars of his stature lack: He actually likes music. Martin's adventures in commercial Latin pop reveal a genuine appreciation for the spidery beauty of an Afro-Cuban piano line, the epic chords of power balladry en español and the hyper-kinetic seduction of samba polyrhythms.  Even when he's singing a trashy, pseudo-Latino anthem like "Livin' la Vida Loca," he brings such a wide-eyed enthusiasm to the experience that you almost start shaking your hips to a salsa beat yourself.

Comprised mostly of material in Spanish, "Música + Alma + Sexo" is all about hope and liberation. After all, Martin has just released his autobiography, stepping out of the closet following years of speculation. The fact that the Spanish-speaking media have an unhealthy preoccupation with the sexual orientation of their celebrities is very sad indeed, but Martin's music hasn't really changed that much since this life-changing revelation: professional to a fault, a bit faceless on occasion, genuinely pleasant most of the time. As always, he enlists songwriters with an almost virtuoso ability to materialize memorable hooks out of thin air.     

Steeped in the majestic atmospherics of reggaetón but reflected through a prism of creamy pop, the lush "Frío" -- composed by famed boricua duo Wisin & Yandel -- is probably the strongest cut here. And whereas the lyrics of "The Best Thing About Me Is You," a duet with Joss Stone, sound a bit forced in English, the Spanish version of the tune crackles with bonhomie. Martin rarely transcends the narrow parameters of commercial Latin music, but the sincerity of his vision places him one step ahead of the competition.

-- Ernesto Lechner

Ricky Martin
"Música + Alma + Sexo"
Sony U.S. Latin
Two and a half stars (out of four)

 
Comments () | Archives (5)

I just got the album and its a breath of fresh air. Even if you don't know the Spanish language its still moving and very emotional, inspiring and ignites you like a brush fire. A must for a music lovers collection.

Martin can come off as cheesy in English, but in Spanish — oh my! I've listened to his Spanish-language CDs for a decade or more, and even though I don't understand a word of the lyrics, he is a mesmerizing talent in his native tongue.

Ricky martin is the best sex simbol man. Great info. Bye!

The song "Tu y Yo" is reason enough to purchase this CD. I've listened to him for over 10yrs, and there is not 1 song on this CD that I would skip. I'm counting the days till his concerts I'm attending.

Rick Martin had a lot of courage and personality to take on homosexuality ...


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