He's the man credited with almost single-handedly taking Latin pop mainstream, with hits like "La Copa De La Vida" and "Livin' La Vida Loca". His albums have sold in the millions, and his live performances are always worth watching. He is, of course, Ricky Martin, and his latest album, "Sound Loaded", is one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of the last few months.
Does "Sound Loaded" live up to the hype? Well, yes and no. Yes, it certainly has some great tracks, with both mellow rhythms and get-up-and-boogie dance numbers; no, because it doesn't seem to mark any departure from Martin's usual style or any major development as an artist.
The album gets off to a good start with "She Bangs", easily one of the most infectious dance numbers in recent months, before slowing down with "Nobody Wants To Be Lonely" and the tender "Amor". "Come To Me" talks about lost love, "Jezabel" is a great rendition on the fickleness of women, and "One Night Man" and "Loaded" are also good.
My favourite tracks, though, have to be "She Bangs", also available as a rocking Spanish version, and the very sly "If You Ever Saw Her", which has a great chorus line. Both these tracks showcase Martin's ability to churn out music that can fill a dance floor, and the lyrics have to heard to be believed (take a look at the lyrics sheet to "She Bangs" and you'll see what I mean!). While Martin doesn't stretch himself very far artistically, "Sound Loaded" is still a good effort, and is well worth a listen.This article was first published on 23 Nov 2000.