Ooh, he’s back. The pelvis-shaking dude called Ricky Martin is back with his English sophomore effort Sound Loaded. Now, I’ve been a fan since his Spanish salsa days, but I have a feeling that Sound Loaded will be the one album that distinguishes the fans from those who just love one song, that Livin’ Da Vida Loca song.
This is because if anything, Sound Loaded is heavier on the typical Ricky Martin (or rather, the Child/Rosa production team) sound and less accessible to those looking for, say, Livin’ Da Vida Loca 2. She Bangs makes a worthy follow-up, but it is nonetheless not the best track here.
The whole atmosphere of this album is one of hedonistic carnivela in sweltering hot South American tropics. It’s jolly good fun as Mr Martin pays tribute to haughty, hard-to-get, love ’em leave ’em teases in songs like Loaded (great one) and Jezabel (yes, it’s spelled that way). He turns the tables in the cheeky One Night Man, but even then he is still the playful Romeo.
The obligatory ballads don’t reek, thankfully, of sugar. Nobody Wants to Be Lonely is a listenable, if average, ballad.
But the glorious stand-out tune has to be the no-nonsense rock tune If You Ever Saw Her, where Mr Martin does his best Madonna impersonation. It’s campy, hysterical, and probably the closest Mr Martin would come to acknowledging rumors of his homosexuality while camping it up as a Romeo to the ladies.
Really, no matter how bland he is in interviews, when Ricky Martin sings, he really comes to life. Fiery, sassy, and altogether red-hot, Sound Loaded is a firecracker of a record. If there is a born entertainer, well, Ricky Martin may be it.