Enrique Iglesias is back this month with his latest studio effort. The bold title of the latino superstars bilingual tenth studio album SEX AND LOVE suggests a collection of songs made for love-making and romance. Instead, the effort unfortunately prooves to be a generic, throwaway soundtrack for drunken flirting and frenzied quickies in a dirty cubicle. There are redeeming tracks though, but these will be explored later.
First, the party songs. There’s nothing tantalising or mischievous about the unerotic opener I’m A Freak. It’s just another disposable track with pointless hooks, headache-inducing synths and the inevitable yet unnecessary cameo from Pitbull. The rapper is equally redundant on Let Me Be Your Lover, a typical song about ‘the one’ despite splashing money on pretty girls and alcohol. On the flip side, it’s a nice touch that Flo Rida TRIES to sing an actual melody during his feature on There Goes My Baby.
A few old recordings are featured on the international deluxe version of this release. The scrapped lead single for the 2011 reissue of Euphoria, I Like How It Feels (featuring Pitbull AGAIN), is ironically one of the least RedOne-sounding tracks on the album. 2012’s Finally Found You (featuring Sammy Adams) is unworthy of a Geordie Shore party, let alone Ibiza. It’s worrying that lead single Turn the Night Up couldn’t think of better rhymes than ‘sexy…impress me…nasty’, and sounds better during the trance-influenced instrumental parts.
Next, the slower English tracks are a hit and miss. The vocals on the passable duet with Kylie Minogue, Beautiful, are so robotic that even Jennifer Lopez on Physical (which is not a cover of Olivia Newton-John’s classic) sounds more ‘live’ and natural. The subdued escapade of You and I recalls the uplifting Euro-pop originating from Sweden, including works from producers like RedOne. Only a Woman will do for those who miss tender ballads like Hero, though the autotune on Iglesias’ vocals may be hard to overlook.
The Spanish tracks are genuinely lovely and make listeners wonder why they must be subjected to the earlier reductive samplings of Eurotrash. Bailando (featuring Cuban musicians Descemer Bueno and Gente de Zona) has Iglesias’ trademark crooning over a danceable groove produced by DJ Frank E [responsible for Iglesias’ Tonight (I’m Lovin You) and The Lonely Island’s I Just Had Sex]. The greatest revelations of the album are the tender yet strongly written guitar ballads Loco (featuring India Martinez) and El Perdedor (featuring Marco Antonio Solis), both of which finally prove that Iglesias CAN sing. The latter track is a real highlight, as its respectful production shows Iglesias at his most vulnerable and would be great to slow-dance to at a tropical club.
Enrique Iglesias is clearly split between making mindless music aimed for boozy nightclubs and music that actually involves some emotion and thought. The Spanish tracks show that the performer is still capable of churning out pop classics about ‘LOVE’ in the vein of Bailamos and Escape. However, the ‘SEX’ songs will age badly and Iglesias must move away from these to remain a viable force on the pop charts.