Halftime Leisure

Critical Voices: Enrique Iglesias, SEX AND LOVE

March 20, 2014

SEX AND LOVE – nope, it’s not that Ethics class you were too nervous to sign up for. It’s just Enrique Iglesias, back at it again.

In his latest release, the singer dishes out an interesting mix of tracks, ranging from sweet to sultry to downright sexual. It’s also a medley of collaborative numbers, featuring the usual suspect/homeboy Pit Bull, as well as Flo Rida, Marco Antonio Solís, and India Martinez.

The album opens with “I’m A Freak,” a jumpy, electric number with some, well, not-so-subtle lyrics. Enrique’s distorted voice swings high in the chorus as he croons, “Cause I’m a fre-eak/The way you pop it and drop it/All over me-ee.” Pitbull, who appears later in the song, doesn’t help matters, adding, “You know I lick it/And do the things that make you explode.”

This, er, explosive opening is redeemed somewhat by the next few tracks, which transition abruptly into Spanish lyrics and melodies. In fact, “Bailando” (“Dancing”), a Latin-heavy guitar number, is probably the first song on the album you’re able to listen to without cringing – if only because you can’t understand any of the words.

Still, even if you don’t speak Spanish, it becomes clear that these songs are a huge step up from the raunchy English ones, both melodically and emotionally. In El Perdedor (“The Loser”) we catch Enrique, for the first time, outside his party-happy, hypersexualized persona. Accompanied by only a soft acoustic guitar, he sings about the bitter regret of losing the girl he loved to another man.

Unfortunately, this sweet, Spanish interlude quickly whips back into super-club mode with “Let Me Be Your Lover.” “We’re falling in love/With party… and alcohol!” yells Pitbull in the opening lines. (Ironically, a party and alcohol might be the only things that could render this song even remotely appealing.)

The closing tracks, including “Turn The Night Up,” turn once again, to vulgar, unoriginal formulations: “I wanna get nasty, ahh, nasty/Girl you got the bum bum.” I mean…really?

As Enrique’s tenth studio album, I was sort of hoping that maybe this LP would show, you know, maybe some emotional maturity. Instead, it’s “Tonight (I’m F**kin’ You)” all over again – song after song of Enrique backsliding into worn-out, sexualized lyrics that don’t say anything new.

Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing inherently wrong with explicit lyrics – they’re risky and fun, especially if they have a catchy melody to carry them. But SEX AND LOVE, at the end of the day, is just an absurd, unfortunate attempt to disguise an album we’ve most assuredly heard before.

 Voices Choices: “El Perdedor,” “You and I”

“You and I”

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“I’m a Freak(feat. Pitbull)”

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