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No Amor Para “Musica+Alma+Sexo”

Ricky Martin's new album leaves a lot to be desired.

On Jan. 31, 2011, Ricky Martin released his latest album titled “Musica+Alma+Sexo,” which translates to “Music+Soul+Sex.” The album is targeted toward a mostly Spanish-speaking audience, as only two tracks on the album are in English. Martin’s relatively recent coming out was surrounded by much hype, but one can hardly expect this album to garner similar attention.

To put it simply, it was boring.

Most of the songs on the album are monotonous and have very little fluctuation as far as the flow of melody is concerned. They don’t really have any buildup and are sung with what seem like feigned emotions of soulfulness. Even the tracks that are relatively upbeat on the album aren’t very exciting. In fact, few tracks really stand out.

“The Best Thing About Me Is You” is one of the two songs that are in English and is obviously geared to target a more general audience. On this track, Martin sings alongside the English soul singer Joss Stone. If you think the combination of Stone and Martin is awkward, you should give this track a listen. At least one of your expectations of this album will be exceeded. Cheesy phrases such as “I’m as happy as I can be/ because I’m allergic to tragedy” and “I think I’m cool cause your name’s on this heart-shaped tattoo” plague the song. What was probably supposed to be the punch of the album may very well be its biggest failure.

A remix of one of the tracks, “Frio,” features Wisin and Yandel, a Puerto Rican duo. Their influence is quite noticeable in that the song displays some reggaeton undertones. The song is tolerable, with beats that are more reminiscent of those found on the soundtrack of “The Lion King.”

Martin’s signature Latin fever sound is completely lacking in this album. There’s nothing that you can really shake your bon-bon to. If that’s what you’re after, don’t waste your time. Look no further than his 1998 self-titled album. “Musica+Alma+Sexo” is hardly worth the $10.99 on iTunes or even the risk of having illegally downloaded material on your computer.

Martin seems to be making a move toward becoming a more serious artist, which is admirable. However, his efforts just come up short, looking completely disingenuous and contrived.

As the title of the album suggests, one can expect the music to be more soulful. Perhaps this is why he brought in Stone, but Martin most definitely has moved away from the upbeat tempos that is characteristic of his music. Instead, electronic sounds have replaced the sassy Latin beats.

The significant change in sound can possibly be credited to the general direction most pop music is taking nowadays toward a more electronic sound, but on some tracks, Martin’s voice is barely recognizable due to the heavy use of voice synthesizers.
The album is supposed to send out messages of tolerance, which goes along with recent events in Martin‘s life. However, singing duets with women is yet another element that adds to the general insincerity of the album. One can hardly take a love song seriously when it is being sung between a homosexual man and a woman. It would have been nice to have seen Martin go for a duet with a male counterpart to truly be a revolutionary in the music world. Even other homosexual artists such as Adam Lambert don’t have music that is obviously directed toward a homosexual orientation, but do make ambiguous sexual references. This could have been Martin’s groundbreaking opportunity to introduce music that was openly homosexual and to pave the way for future homosexual artists after him.

It seems like the producers of the album were resting their hopes for success on the hype surrounding Martin’s coming out last year rather than putting forth material that was legitimately noteworthy.

This album comes as a disappointment because one would expect new, upbeat party tracks that would become a staple of pop-music. Martin’s previous successes such as “Livin la Vida Loca” and “She Bangs” are widely recognized to this day, but it is doubtful that any of the songs on “Musica+Alma+Sexo” will be as notorious. It would be a surprise if American radio stations were to give any of the tracks airtime.

Rating: 1.5/5 Stars