Newest Review: ... this album: The insanely catchy 'Ping Pong Song' was the lead track. So called because of the ping pong sound effect which runs throughout... more
I Can't Get No Sleep
Insomniac - Enrique Iglesias
Member Name: plipplop
Insomniac - Enrique Iglesias
Advantages: Quality, chilled out pop music that complement Enrique's seductive style
Disadvantages: Nothing daring here
Enrique Iglesias, son of famous Spanish crooner Julio, is a bit of a phenomenon. Recording music in both his native Spanish and English, it was in the former music market that his career originally took off. In the late 1990s, the singer's appeal started to crossover into the mainstream music market but in 2001 he hit the big time, with the hugely successful ballad "Hero". Reaching number one in the UK, Hero was almost certainly responsible for more minor burns than any other such record, as millions and millions of concertgoers reached for their cigarette lighters to hold aloft mid-song. Iglesias was almost eclipsed by his own success and, commercially at least, has struggled to repeat the success of that year.
Insomniac is Enrique's eighth studio album and marks a small departure from previous albums for the singer, moving towards a more contemporary sound, as opposed to his traditional Latin influences. Like previous albums, however, it remains a strangely seductive package, the combination of soulful melodies and mid-tempo beats working in harmony with the singer's haunting vocals and obvious sex appeal, to great effect.
The album's safer, Latin-tinged songs generally work very well. Somebody's Me is almost certainly the album's standout song, a powerful, lighter-waving ballad that comes straight from the same machine that produced Hero. It's hard not to be intoxicated by the sound and for anybody who has ever felt the pain of a failed relationship it almost certainly hits a nerve. (A Spanish language version is also included, but really doesn't work for an English-speaking audience.) Tired of Being Sorry is more up-tempo, but equally appealing, mixing Latin instruments with a more contemporary pop song. Ring My Bell (the album's opening track) takes some listening to but has a growing appeal, even within the track's running time, as the vocals gain momentum.
The Urban influences work well with the singer's vocal style. Push, featuring rapper Lil' Wayne, is a strong, commercial track that could be one of hundreds of similarly radio-friendly tunes. On Top of You is perhaps less commercial in sound, but rather more seductive, with a lyrical intent that's likely to drive most of his listeners mad. On Miss You, the sound shifts to something not unlike Shakira, but in spite of the likeable instrumental effects, the tired vocal soon becomes rather clichéd.
More commercial styles come to the fore in Do You Know (the Ping Pong Song), which enjoyed good chart success here, in spite of the ridiculous title. The album features both an English and Spanish language version, and the ping-pong sound effects remains curiously enticing. The bitter vocal whilst unlikely ever to apply to someone like Iglesias, remains at the heart of the song's appeal. Wish I Was Your Lover (a sentiment shared by millions of Iglesias fans) has a gorgeously breathy vocal that creates the most seductive sound on the album, by far. Other tracks are less successful. Stay Here Tonight and Sweet Isabel are likeable enough, but the Kelly Clarkson soft rock / pop style doesn't really match Enrique's voice. Don't You Forget About Me wants to be another Hero, but is rather strained and has little lasting effect. Little girl is a sort of lullaby, which certainly boasts a heartfelt vocal but is ultimately a bit naff.
Insomniac is a gentle, chilled out album that is at its most effective when the mood warrants it. Emotive of warm summer evenings, this isn't really an album to share with friends and is likely to have a more personal appeal. I find it immensely soothing to listen to on long journeys or at the end of long days when, curiously enough, it can soothe me to sleep. For most of Enrique's fans, it's hard to deny the singer's appeal to do just that, vocally or otherwise. It would have been nice to see a more daring Enrique, however, with his forays into the urban scene suggesting the most potential.
The album is arranged across fifteen standard tracks, with two additional tracks for the European download market. However, the three Spanish-language versions are unnecessary (and really quite unwelcome) and feel like padding here, The inclusion of dance remixes of Hero and Not In Love (previous commercial successes from earlier albums) are a nice bonus but a stark reminder of the need to persuade European buyers to go for this album rather more vigorously than their Latin American equivalents.
Expect to pay around £8 for the album, either electronically on iTunes or in physical format.
Summary: Bedtime ballads and sultry seductive songs