by Ricky Martin
4.2 4

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Ricky Martin fell from grace hard with Sound Loaded, the 2000 sequel to his eponymous 1999 mainstream pop breakthrough and its hit single "Livin' la Vida Loca." Sound Loaded photocopied many of the sounds and styles of Ricky Martin, but it wasn't an exact duplicate: it was dingy, murky, and smudged, lacking the style and flair of the original, as evidenced by "She Bangs," the album's spin on "Livin' la Vida Loca." Following its commercial disappointment, Martin retreated from the spotlight for a brief period, releasing a Spanish album called Almas del Silencio in 2003, returning two years later with Life, his first English-language pop album in five years. On its album cover, Martin tries to strike a harder, tougher pose -- he has stubble on his chin and prominently displays a tattoo on his shoulder -- and that's just one of many different attitudes he tries out on the record. He starts the album with "Til I Get to You," one of the best (and maybe only) Robbie Williams knockoffs to date, segueing quickly into "I Won't Desert You," which is reminiscent of the best of early-'90s Jon Secada, before he hooks up with Scott Storch, producer of Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake, for a bass-heavy dance track, complete with cameos from Fat Joe and Amerie. Martin doesn't stop sampling styles there -- he does a by-the-numbers Diane Warren power ballad, dabbles in reggaeton, brings in most of the Black Eyed Peas for a track. In short, he tries to be a little bit of everything to everybody, which isn't a surprising reaction for a global superstar trying to both recover from a flop and to reintroduce himself after half a decade. Not surprisingly, not all of the styles work -- for instance, on the producer-driven dance songs, he sounds like a bit player on his own album, at once tamed and overwhelmed by the thudding bass and hip-hop beats. But there are as many moments that work here as those that don't and, tellingly, they're all tunes Martin had a hand in writing, including the aforementioned "Til I Get to You" and "I Won't Desert You" and the title track, which suggests that if Martin relaxed and wrote all of his own material, he might have a more consistent record on his hands. But that's not what he did here: he made a big-budget album, filled with cameos and collaborators. It fits his status as an international superstar and it's a livelier, better record than Sound Loaded, but he never once sounds as assured as he did on his 1999 breakthrough -- the difference between that album and this is that everything seemed to come easy for Ricky Martin six years ago. On Life, you can hear him struggle with what he should do and who he should be. Sometimes he struggles and succeeds, which is enough to make it worth a listen -- and it might even score him a hit or two -- but that palpable sense of exertion means this isn't quite the comeback or makeover it was clearly meant to be.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/11/2005
Label: Sony
UPC: 0828767831824
catalogNumber: 78318

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ricky Martin   Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals,Berimbau,Chant
Jon Secada   Background Vocals
Alex Al   Upright Bass
Rusty Anderson   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Wurlitzer
Randy Cantor   Electric Guitar,Keyboards
Jorge Casas   Percussion,Fretless Bass Guitar
Hossam Ramzy   Musical Direction
Lee Levin   Drums
Teddy Mulet   Strings,Horn,Keyboards,chamberlain,Wurlitzer
Itaal Shur   Bass,Oud
Patrick Warren   Keyboards,Sitar,Mellotron,chamberlain
Daniel Lopez   Percussion,Keyboards,Background Vocals,Guitar (Nylon String)
Albert Sterling Menendez   Hammond Organ,Clavinet,Moog Bass,Juno
George Noriega   Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Strings,Electric Guitar,Hammond Organ,Sitar,Background Vocals,Spanish Vocals
Javier García   Background Vocals
Wagdey Ghoniem   Violin
Rita Rosa   Chant
Emanuel Baker   Drums
José Antonio Molina   Strings   Bass,Keyboards,Background Vocals
Printz Board   Bass,Trumpet,Keyboards
Tamer Yassin   Violin
Adel Eskander   Violin
Monir Hariri   Violin
Tim Izo   Saxophone
Aziz Jorge   Violin,Soloist
Tamer Ghoneim   Violin
Yasser Taha   Cello
Ihab Sobhy   Violin
Hesham Nabawi   Violin
Debi Nova   Vocals,Background Vocals
Noriega   Fretless Bass Guitar
Mahmoud Osman   Violin
Sean Garrett   Vocals
Aymen El Hambouli   Cello
Emad Taha   Cello
Taha Taha   Cello
Hassan Moataz   Cello
Hassan Sharara   Violin
Doctor Mohamed Abo Arab   Viola
Emad Azmy   Violin
Víctor Cabrera   Keyboards
Khaled Dagher   Cello
Doctor Kamal ElReedy   Viola
Mamdouh ElWaaraq   Violin
Ihab Abdel Hamid   Violin
Doctor Samy Ibrahim   Violin
Saad Kamel   Violin
Ebada Mansy   Violin
Amir Mikhail   Viola
Mostafa Abdel Naby   Violin
Jorge Pajon   Guitar
Vivian Perez   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Francisco Saldaña   Keyboards
Danielle Staley   Background Vocals
Amichelle Winkler   Background Vocals,Chant,Spanish Vocals
Pirulina Winkler   Background Vocals,Chant
Dave Cabrera   Acoustic Guitar,Strings,Electric Guitar,Sitar
Danny Lopez   Electric Guitar
Keith Harris   Drums

Technical Credits

Ricky Martin   Composer,Producer,Engineer,Executive Producer,Author
Claudia Brant   Composer,Spanish Lyrics
Randy Cantor   Producer,Engineer
Charles Dye   Engineer
Larry Gold   String Arrangements
Jorge Gonzalez   Engineer
Hossam Ramzy   String Arrangements
D. Warren   Composer
Bob Wartinbee   Engineer
Daniel Lopez   Producer,drum programming,Bass Programming,Spanish Adaptation
Billy Mann   Producer,Engineer,Vocal Producer
George Noriega   Producer,drum programming,Vocal Producer
M. Robinson   Composer
Matt Knobel   Engineer,drum programming
Gustavo Celis   Engineer
Javier García   Spanish Adaptation
José Antonio Molina   String Arrangements   Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer,drum programming
Maestro   Engineer
David Cabrera   Audio Production
Dylan Dresdow   Engineer
S. Garrett   Composer
Conrad Golding   Engineer
Scott Spock   Engineer
Elias de León   Vocal Coach
Matrix   Producer
B.E. Mann   Composer
Kam Houff   Engineer
José de Vega   Image Design
Sean Garrett   Arranger,Producer,Vocal Arrangements,Vocal Producer
Robert Shahnazarian   Pro-Tools
Víctor Cabrera   drum programming
Jorge Pajon   drum programming,Bass Programming
Francisco Saldaña   drum programming
Maria P. Marulanda   Art Direction
Danny Lopez   Audio Production
Scott Storch   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Vocal Producer

Customer Reviews

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Life 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've loved Ricky's music since the begining of his career. This is different, in a much more creative way. It is the same, loss, life, with a real emphasis on the message that he is trying to send out. The only thing that was frustrating was that his beautiful clear voice was muddled with others trying to harmonize, but just in a few spots. The songs are fun, romantic, and sexy. Warning... They make you want to get up and dance!! What more can you ask for??!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
While I am a fan of his first two English albums (as well as his two most recent Spanish albums), the new album is a welcome change. "Life" successfully finds itself a place in the mainstream, while still maintaining an exotic flavor. Much of this album has a decidedly Eastern feel to it (as opposed to simply stereotypical Latin), using instrumentation and chord structures typically found in Arabic & Indian music. You may question Ricky Martin's dabbling in these rather obscure genres, however Latin music itself has its roots in the Middle East. He also wisely chooses to use the "next big thing" on a few of his songs: Reggaeton. Daddy Yankee's appearance on this album is smart for both artists, allowing for each to be introduced to a different demographic. I would expect to see Daddy Yankee release an English album within the next year. Should Ricky's album have any commercial significance (which I believe it will), I think it could usher in a new wave of music tinged with the same Eastern elements. Even much of 50 Cent's wildly successful "The Massacre" (especially this album's singles) uses Middle Eastern instruments, rhythms, and chords. I also believe Ricky's success will largely depend upon the performance of Shakira's new English album, "Oral Fixation, Vol. 2," to be released in November. And if "Fijacion Oral, Vol. 1" is any indication, Shakira is bound for a comeback herself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If I were to make an album, I would have a hard time sticking to a certain sound. I understand it's nice to have consistency with music, but I enjoy a lot of different types of music and I think no musician should feel the need to be stuck inside a box. I like Ricky's new image...and for some reason it doesn't seemed forced. I'm not sure I'll love the album, but anything's better than "She Bangs". How about a song with the Los Lonely Boys. That would be a nice addition to his next album. He's got a nice voice, he's just not sure where to go with it :-) I would add this album to your collection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago