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Ricky Martin's Life

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

By

Ricky Martin’s new pop album, Life, is his first English language CD since Sound Loaded was released in 1999. Martin’s music is often full of surprises, but I’ve always found them fun, energetic and musically interesting. After first listening to Life, I felt a little confused. Was this a Latin album? Was Ricky moving on to some other genre and forgot to let us know?

But the more I listened to the CD, the more I liked it. If I dropped my expectations, Life became an interesting global fusion, alternating mideastern instrumentation and arrangements with reggaeton tracks. Whether or not it's to everyone's taste, the album is filled with a bold, new pop sound that reflects the diversity of life itself.

Global Sound

There was a rumor of Middle Eastern music in Sound Loaded, but the unexpected rhythms and instrumentation of “One Night Man” came as a breather from the more predictable Latin pop format. In Life, it’s hard to find many traces of Latin influence, from rhythm, instrumentation, or sentiment.

That said, there’s a lot of variety in the album. There’s rap and hip-hop, with the help of Fat Joe and Amerie on “I Don’t Care” and from Daddy Yankee on “Drop It On Me”. There’s something that sounds like tribal chant. There are Indian string arrangements. Martin’s voice, always the weakest instrument in his musical repertoire, is bolder and more confident than on earlier albums and the rock/pop production is hip and smooth.

Dual Disc Format

The album was released both as an audio CD and as a Dual Disc. The Dual Disc version has behind-the-scenes footage, the video for “I Don’t Care” and the video for the Spanish version of “Que Mas Da”. However, Sony has put some copy protection software on the Dual Disc version and apparently it installs software on your PC in an inappropriate manner. I would avoid it

Bottom Line

Life is not a bad CD. It just tries to be something for everyone, and doesn’t quite pull it off. And if the acid test of music is “you’ll know it when you hear it”, the Latin sound is not something you are going to hear much of on this album. But my Armenian produce guy gave it a “thumbs up” when I rolled into the market.

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