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Enrique Iglesias - Insomniac

Enrique Iglesias, Insomniac

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

ENRIQUE Iglesias claims his eighth studio album Insomniac took three years and countless sleepless nights to assemble (hence the name). Well, the toil seems worth it as this is, arguably, his best solo offering to date.

Spearheaded by the insanely catchy Do You Know? (The Ping Pong Song), the album offers 12 songs in English, three in Spanish and two remixes. And for the most part, it’s every bit as addictive as that damn ping pong song.

Iglesias says of the album: “I guess at first I did want to consciously make a record that had a cool sound to it. But then I said to myself, ‘fuck that; I don’t want to take myself too seriously. The truth is, I just want to write songs that I like’.”

Well, there are traces of cool, that sit hand in hand with other moments of pure cheese. And yet somehow the album emerges triumphantly as a sparkling pop triumph.

Of the cool moments, a hip hop detour featuring rapper Lil’ Wayne is sure to appeal to any pop fans who get their kicks from listening to Justin Timberlake and Ciara (oddly) – it’s sly, slick and genuinely radio friendly.

Album opener Ring My Bells also kicks things off in style, a moody effort that’s heralded by a sombre piano intro and some foreboding vocals. The finger-clicking beats that follow set things up for a really atmospheric slice of pop that recalls the recent brilliance of Nelly Furtado’s latest offering.

The acoustic guitar opening of Somebody’s Me threatens to detour into Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want territory, before dropping a moody beat and some pining vocals, which serve to underline why Iglesias has made such a successful career for himself (including Grammys and American Music Awards). And there’s a genuine Latin sensibility surrounding the Flamenco-style guitars of Tired Of Being Sorry that broaden its appeal.

Of the cheesy moments, do they come any more so than Do You Know?. No matter how hard I try to think otherwise, that darn ping pong ball back beat and insistent melodies combine to create a near-perfect blast of summer fun. It’s the sort of tune that (irritatingly) gets into your head and has your toes tapping along (and hips swinging) before you’ve even had chance to complain.

Likewise, efforts such asOn Top Of You, an outrageously sexy offering designed to steam things up with lyrics like “baby you’re gonna love what I do, when I’m on top of you”.

In truth, the album could benefit from a few more of the edgier pop that marks the opening few tracks, given that it does tend to come over all sentimental and longing on later tracks such as I Wish I Was Your Lover and Miss You.

But thanks to some slick production values and some friendly beats and electronics, Iglesias ensures the album stays the right side of annoying and often quite endearing.

It’s probably not cool to say so, but Insomniac is the best fun I’ve had with a pop album this side of the aforementioned Ms Furtado. High praise indeed from an old indie soul like me!

Download picks: Ring My Bells, Push, Do You Know?, Somebody’s Me, On Top Of You

Track listing:

  1. Ring My Bells
  2. Push
  3. Do You Know? (The Ping Pong Song)
  4. Somebody’s Me
  5. On Top Of You
  6. Tired Of Being Sorry
  7. Miss You
  8. Wish I Was Your Lover
  9. Little Girl
  10. Stay Here Tonight
  11. Sweet Isabel
  12. Don’t You Forget About Me
  13. Dimelo
  14. Alguien Soy Yo
  15. Amigo Vulnerable
  16. Hero [Thunderpuss Edit]
  17. Not In Love [Armand Van Helden Club Mix]