Ricky Martin (1999) is the eponymous singer’s self-titled English-language debut, and though it’s still his best-selling record, it definitely isn’t his best.
The ever-familiar Livin’ la Vida Loca starts the compilation. It is Martin’s first and only English-language Billboard 100 number one single to date. I consider it a Latin Pop masterpiece. Even after so many years no equivalent song has been released – by Martin or any other Spanish artist.
Spanish Eyes is the sophomore track. It almost reaches Livin’ la Vida Loca’s brilliance though is better lyrically. Both songs are undoubtedly danceable. She’s All I Ever Had follows but is simply too slow even for a romantic ballad. Spanish Eyes should’ve been released as a single instead of the afore-mentioned one.
Shake Your Bon Bon is another rhythmic anthem and was rightfully released as a single. It’s also the fourth piece on this collection. Other melodies include Be Careful which is a beautiful duet with Madonna. Legendary songwriter Diane Warren penned two serenades namely I Count the Minutes and You Stay with Me. The latter is my favorite out of all the rest. The lyrics are incomparable and I cite this as Martin’s paramount English ballad of all time.
The main problem with this record is that the slow songs outshine the faster ones. And this comes as a shock owing to Martin’s credibility as a mover and shaker. Also, Love You for a Day and I’m on My Way seem as if they were just incorporated to prolong the running time. They are extremely boring and below Martin’s standards as a singer.
All in all, Ricky Martin (1999) paved the way for similar stars, like Marc Anthony and Enrique Iglesias to release their English openers. And Martin’s attempt overshadows theirs. It’s not perfect but is as close to perfection as a Latin Pop disk can get.
Best Tracks off Ricky Martin (1999)
Livin’ la Vida Loca, Spanish Eyes, Private Emotion, I Am Made of You, You Stay with Me.
Average Tracks off Ricky Martin (1999)
She’s All I Ever Had, Shake Your Bon Bon, Be Careful, The Cup of Life (Remix), I Count the Minutes, Maria (Spanglish Version).
Bad Tracks off Ricky Martin (1999)
Love You for a Day, I’m on My Way.
The Rating: 3 out of 4.