Marc Anthony

Marc Anthony

Columbia Records, 1999

http://www.marcanthonyonline.com

REVIEW BY: Alfredo Narvaez

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/29/2000

After the massive success of Ricky Martin's 1999 hit "Livin' La Vida Loca," many were looking for the next big Latin success. Some pointed to Jennifer Lopez, while others said Enrique Iglesias. Some others also looked at this young nuyorican as the next Latin artist that would strike it big in the English market. He was already a big star in the salsa and pop markets and was well-known within the Latin communities of the U.S. He wasn't a complete newcomer, but rather an established veteran who knew the demands of the American scene.

Unlike Martin or Iglesias, who had established themselves as pop artists who occasionally did salsa, Marc Anthony was mostly a salsa artist. That, however, changed when Anthony recorded this, his English debut. Longtime fans, I'm sure, might have been thrown for a loop by the lack of salsa grooves and merengue beats that had been his bread-and-butter in the Latin market.

To further complicate matters, the first single, "I Need To Know," is a perfect mix of salsa, pop and dance. That, I'm sure, may have led some to think that the rest of this album follows along the same lines. Let me be clear now: If you're only looking for more stuff like "I Need To Know," then you might be better off checking out his Spanish-language stuff or waiting for the sophomore album. Aside from "I Need To Know," you will find "That's Okay" as well as "Dimelo" (the Spanish version of "I Need To Know") and that's as far as it goes in this album for salsa. I say all this not to slight the album - both of those songs are very good and very fun. It's just that you might be shocked on a first listen to find that this isn't what the first single led you to believe.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

So then, if this isn't a salsa album, what is it then? For the most part this is a mid-tempo pop album. The majority of the album follows along the lines of the second single, "You Sang To Me." Again, that is not meant to be a slight. "You Sang To Me" is a very good pop song that works rather well. Other songs that go along this vein are the very, very good "When I Dream At Night," "Don't Let Me Leave" and "Love Is All." Anthony manages to come up with some emotion that makes the songs more worthwhile. You also get "My Baby's Been Good To Me" - a pop number that seems straight out of the 'N Sync catalogue. It isn't bad, but it's only good as a catchy tune.

You might also be surprised at the level of personal feeling some of these songs seem to carry. If you do, that's to be expected. At the time, Anthony was going through a divorce and that tends to tinge how these songs play. Stuff like "Am I The Only One," "How Could I" and "Remember Me" plays like a catharsis. And "My Baby You" seems to signal a shift of focus from wife to daughter. While you may get caught by how formulaic it might sound, I'll defer to those who already have kids as to whether or not the song sounds real. (AHEM: Mr. Thelen, that should be your cue.)

Does that mean that he is nothing more than a copycat or a second-rate artist that managed to latch onto the juggernaut that was Ricky (tm)? Nope. Not at all. Anthony, through his self-titled debut, manages to establish himself as an artist on the road to success. I do hope that for his next album, he brings more of the salsa and dance sounds that make Latin music in general and his in particular so popular. (Course, he could be busy. After all, he just married a former Ms. Universe. Damn! Some people are just lucky!)

Rating: B

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© 2000 Alfredo Narvaez and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Columbia Records, and is used for informational purposes only.