Music

Ricky Martin: Sound Loaded

Charlotte Robinson

Ricky Martin

Sound Loaded

Label: Columbia
US Release Date: 2000-11-14
UK Release Date: 2000-11-06
Amazon
iTunes

Ricky Martin is back and ready to please bon-bon shakers everywhere with the follow-up to his massively successful English-language debut, 1999's Ricky Martin. The Menudo alumnus doesn't suffer the sophomore slump on Sound Loaded (it's not his second album after all; just his second in English), instead offering up the same punchy pastiche of Latin instrumentation, dance club beats, and AC ballads that made his previous outing a worldwide smash.

Teaming once again with Robi Rosa and other top-notch songwriters, Martin has delivered another surefire hit album. Although there's no single moment on Sound Loaded to rival his first crossover hit, "Livin' la Vida Loca", the song "Loaded" comes damn close. In addition to having wildly catchy hooks, both songs combine disparate sounds -- '60s pop and Latin with occasional hard-rock vocal intonations -- without a second thought.

Unfortunately but expectedly, there are some crummy ballads which, in spite of Martin's competent vocals, are the lowlights of this collection. "Nobody Wants to Be Lonely" and "The Touch" (co-written by Diane Warren, the contemporary songwriter most likely to be revealed as the antichrist) could be performed by any American R&B singer or boy band, and probably with more technical proficiency and emotion than Martin can muster. His power as a performer is best showcased on hyperkinetic dance tracks like "She Bangs" and "Loaded", but during the course of most of Sound Loaded, Martin concentrates on mid-tempo Latin numbers with intricate percussion, wailing horns, and lyrics about the pleasures and perils of romance.

One of the best of these mid-tempo numbers is "Amor", which starts off sounding like a rewrite of the Santana / Rob Thomas hit "Smooth". Thankfully, that's not the case, as the song turns into something much more interesting and satisfying. With a bridge highlighted by a percussion break, a truncated pop-rock guitar solo, and a lazy, lolling piano, "Amor" -- and the fabulous closer "Cambia la Piel" -- prove once again that Martin is the only one of the stars of the "Latin explosion" who actually makes Latin-sounding music on a regular basis.

The only real caveat to be offered about Sound Loaded is that three of the album's fifteen tracks are Spanish-language versions of previous titles. It's a bit dull hearing the same music twice in one sitting, even if the lyrics are different, but Martin and his cohorts probably figured it was better to bore a few than to risk offending his many Latin fans. After all, pleasing everyone is what Ricky Martin is all about. And so it goes; Sound Loaded isn't going to convert anyone who wants to kick Martin's shimmying ass back to Puerto Rico, but it's going to make everyone who already loves him happy.

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.

Film

From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

Music

The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.

Music

'Modern' Is the Pinnacle of Post-Comeback Buzzcocks' Records

Presented as part of the new Buzzcocks' box-set, Sell You Everything, Modern showed a band that wasn't interested in just repeating itself or playing to nostalgia.

Music

​Nearly 50 and Nearly Unplugged: 'ChangesNowBowie' Is a Glimpse Into a Brilliant Mind

Nine tracks, recorded by the BBC in 1996 show David Bowie in a relaxed and playful mood. ChangesNowBowie is a glimpse into a brilliant mind.

Music

Reaching for the Sky: An Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bruce Sudano

How did Bruce Sudano become a superhero? PopMatters has the answer as Sudano celebrates the release of Spirals and reflects on his career from Brooklyn Dreams to Broadway.

Music

Inventions Conjure Mystery and Hope with the Intensely Creative 'Continuous Portrait'

Instrumental duo Matthew Robert Cooper (Eluvium) and Mark T. Smith (Explosions in the Sky) release their first album in five years as Inventions. Continuous Portrait is both sonically thrilling and oddly soothing.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch Are 'Live at the Village Vanguard' to Raise Money for Musicians

Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch release a live recording from a 2018 show to raise money for a good cause: other jazz musicians.

Music

Lady Gaga's 'Chromatica' Hides Its True Intentions Behind Dancefloor Exuberance

Lady Gaga's Chromatica is the most lively and consistent record she's made since Born This Way, embracing everything great about her dance-pop early days and giving it a fresh twist.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.

Music

Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.

Music

Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.