Review of Enrique Iglesias's 'Euphoria'

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Enrique Iglesias

EUPHORIA

When did Enrique Iglesias lose his way? Sure, he's never had what you might call exacting standards, never given the impression that he wants to be anything more than what he is: a likable, jeans-and-T-shirt kind of guy with a modest voice and a famous father, made into a superstar thanks to sheer will, good timing and a high-priced team of songwriters and beatmakers.

But his new, dual-language disc, "Euphoria," just feels wrong. Maybe it's the focus-grouped assortment of blandly agreeable tracks. Or the middle-of-the-pack Top 40 guests (Pitbull, Usher). Maybe it's the new "Jersey Shore" version of the video for his (once enjoyable, now ruined forever) single "I Like It," a video so taste-defying that when one of the show's cast members semi-strips onstage, it's not even the most embarrassing part.

The video sets the tone for the rest of "Euphoria," a craven, cheery disc that takes the concept of "crossover" literally. Roughly half of its songs are in English, the other half in Spanish, a nice nod to both Iglesias's early days as a Spanish-language singer and his continuing run as an English-singing pop star.

"Euphoria," in other words, is shameless in two languages, which isn't to say it's entirely bad: There's a steamy dance-pop collaboration with Usher ("Dirty Dancer"), a wallop-packing duet with Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger ("Heartbeat") and a luscious mid-tempo collaboration with Dominican superstar Juan Luis Guerra ("Cuando Me Enamoro").

But "I Like It" is the disc's candy-coated center, a busy, frothy concoction of whomping synth noises, unexceptional beats and an abbreviated chorus somehow wrapped around Lionel Richie's "All Night Long." It's noisy and pointless and irresistible, proof positive that shame is overrated.

-- Allison Stewart

Recommended tracks:

"I Like It," "Heartbeat," "Cuando Me Enamoro"


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