Puerto Rico’s Ricky Martin has been making waves over the last couple of years with album releases and as a judge on The Voice Australia; and we’ll never forget what he’s done for the Latin music industry, the release of his smash hit Livin’ La Vida Loca and his first English sung self-titled album in 1999 helped to shatter the barrier between Latin and mainstream music. In 2011 Martin released Música + Alma + Sexo, consisting of songs in both English and Spanish, becoming his second highest charting album since Ricky Martin and his fourth top ten album; now in 2015, Ricky has released his tenth studio album A Quien Quiera Escuchar, which is all very exciting.
The track listing makes it very clear that we are in for one of Martin’s Spanish sung records, but this doesn’t come as a shock, think of it as him revisiting his career beginnings; different languages can be heard throughout lead single Adiós, including French, English and Spanish which represent regions Martin has enjoyed visiting, the track is addictive and you won’t get it out of your head. Second single Disparo al Corazón (Shot To The Heart) is a beautiful pop/rock ballad driven by the luscious guitars and Martin’s emotional vocals, a commendable performance; Isla Bella sounds like a song that could be used wonderfully for the soundtrack of a Latin movie, when you translate the lyrics from Spanish to English you are being told the story of how you always return to your roots. Perdóname (Forgive Me) has another beautiful melody, the guitars are luscious and the strings are beautifully strung, the protagonist longs for forgiveness from an ex-partner who they had unintentionally hurt; a fun guitar riff and some neat work from the percussion makes Náufrago (Castaway) an enjoyable listen, as uplifting as it sounds the lyrics say different as the song is about being left deserted by somebody you thought you could trust.
La Mordidita (The Nibble) brings back the Latino party vibe we love Ricky Martin for, it also features Latin rapper Yotuel who only had a short contribution, an intense track about the lust felt for somebody you desire; Cuanto Me Acuerdo de Ti is another addictive track, this time being about trying to find a way to rid yourself of the mark left on you by somebody you need to forget. The atmopshere that is created both by the lyrics and instrumentation of Mátame Otra Vez (Kill Again) is intense, the protagonist sings of repeatedly dying in the arms of somebody using him for his body and longing for “death” so he can start all over again; Nada is another wonderful ballad, this time about being somebody else’s excess baggage in a relationship from which you need to move on and turn the page. A Quien Quiera Escuchar (For Those Who Want To Listen) is a song about letting go and accepting that you are who you are and you should embrace what fate lines up for you; on the deluxe edition of the album, we are treated to beautiful acoustic versions of Mátame Otra Vez and Náufrago, plus a remix of Nada by Dharmik which gave the song a more upbeat vibe.
A Quien Quiera Escuchar, whether you speak Spanish or not, was an interesting listen; you felt every emotion that Ricky Martin expressed with his wondrous voice, which was accompanied stunningly by the instrumentation of each track. Ricky has truly evolved from that 1999 Livin’ La Vida Loca era to a more mature and sophisticated sound, you will find yourself taking a firm grasp to each lyric, especially if you have Google Translate at the ready; each song is relatable too, everybody has felt the searing pain of a failed relationship or that sense of belonging to your heritage. A Quien Quiera Escuchar is a beautifully written album that Ricky Martin should be proud of, the only criticism would be that the deluxe edition could have used some extra songs that weren’t already featured on the album.