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    Ricky Martin:


    Thu, 13 Oct 2005 11:57:09

    Album Reviews: Life by Ricky Martin

    It's kind of hard to believe it's been over six years since Ricky Martin scored huge with "Livin' La Vida Loca." But it's also easy to forget that the song, the smash hit of his first English language LP, was merely one winning track on his fifth solo album, which was merely the next stage following a string of hit albums as the leader of Menudo. Ricky Martin has been around and has experimented with a variety of musical styles. The stings and effects-laden guitar that open up this album reintroduce us to an expansive, rock-focused vocalist who feels perfectly at home in a stadium rock environment. "Going to change in a new direction/Make a move with a new intention," goes the first track's chorus -- a message, perhaps, to listeners who had pegged his music as dance-pop dreck.

    Of course, track two turns the beat around, and Martin dives headfirst into straight pop territory for the remainder of the album. But not without several highlights, including a stellar (if too brief) appearance by Amerie in "I Don't Care," a track that also includes a cameo by Fat Joe. Overall, the album is a calculated mixture of smooth dance tracks ("This Is Good"), straight-ahead quasi-rockers ("Till I Get To You"), hip-hop-ish sub-bangers ("I Am"), and sultry ballads ("Stop Time Tonight"), with two Spanish-language tracks thrown in for good measure -- nothing too dangerous, all of it at least decent. For strict pop music, this album is exceptional for the simple fact that there isn't a throwaway track here. The broad variety on this album keeps it continually interesting, and it's designed to offer at least a little appeal to nearly everyone out there. - Cory O'Malley

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