Being a pop icon is nothing new to the Grammy-winning, Puerto Rican singer/actor Ricky Martin. He was a child star with the '80s kid group Menudo. And he was a regular on the soap opera General Hospital
. But he hit the big time in 1999 with his smash Anglo hit Livin la Vida Loca
. On his new CD, Martin returns to his Hispanic roots with this zesty Spanish language release, which translates as Souls of Silence
. Backed by poetic and pulsating string/synth/horn production from Tommy Torres, George Noriega, Emilo Estefan and Stefano, this effort comes with all of Martin's grand moods and grooves. The fiery, flamenco-flavored "Jaleo" is rendered in Latin pop and hip-hop, Spanglish versions. Both takes, along with the equally danceable numbers like "Besos de Fuego," are designed to move your bon bon. But Martin's bolero
ballads "Tal Vez," the title track, penned by the other
Latin star Alejandro Sanz, and Ricardo Arjona's "Assignatura Pendiente" show that Martin can sing for the heart and the hips. With this effort, Ricky Martin moves into Celine Dion territory and may be able to keep his loyal Latino dance/ pop fans while making new ones in the adult contemporary market. --Eugene Holley, Jr.