Musical Vibes: Enrique

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Written by Ahmed Tarek 

 

Enrique in Egypt 2004
Enrique in Egypt 2004

 

The biggest news on the local music scene this week has surely been that international superstar, Enrique Iglesias, is coming back to Egypt (having already performed in 2004)to play another concert in Golf Porto Marina Resort, Alexandria on August 9. Yup, today is your day Enrique fans!

One of the Musical Vibes column’s tasks is to profile artists, who are either long established and popular, or just starting out and breaking through, and since Enrique is coming to town in a few days, there’s  certainly no occasion more suitable to profile him than this one. Here we go!

 

Background

Enrique Iglesias is the son of the infamous Spanish singer Julio Iglesias. He wanted to pursue a career in music as a teenager and recorded a demo tape consisting of one Spanish song and two English ones under the stage name, Enrique Martínez, and sent it, with his father’s former publicist’s help, to the Mexican label Fonovisa, to which he later got signed.

He released his albums Enrique Iglesias (1995), Vivir (1997) and Cosas del Amor (1998), recorded in Spanish, to major success in Latin countries. It wasn’t until the release of his first English single, Bailamos, from his debut English album and fourth overall, Enrique (1999), that he scored his first number one in the US and began to attain major success in English-speaking countries and the non-Latin market overall.

Iglesias rode his wave of success and released his most successful album to date, Escape (2001) and followed it with Quizás (2002), 7 (2004), Insomniac (2007) and his two Greatest Hits albums, 95/08 (containing his Spanish hits) and Greatest Hits (containing his English hits), both released in 2008. After 8 years of moderate success in Anglophone countries, Iglesias later resurfaced on the English music scene with two big hits, I Like It and Tonight (I’m Loving You), from Euphoria (2010), his first bilingual album. His latest album is Sex and Love, released earlier this year.

 

Enrique performing on stage in India
Enrique performing on stage in India

 

My Personal Picks

Throughout a career that spanned 19 years and a discography of 10 studio albums, Iglesias has given us some good songs, especially during the early to mid 2000s. I’ll admit that I haven’t listened to his Spanish albums, but I’ve listened to tracks from his English ones, so while these songs might not be his best, they are certainly my favorites.

Escape 

 

I remember this was my jam like 6 years ago! The chorus, buoyed by a catchy bass line, explodes into 80s-style multi-layered vocals and synths and features one of Iglesias’ best hooks ever, “You can run, you can hide, but you can’t escape my love”. In the latter half of the song, the electric guitar star wails as Iglesias transitions into his trademark falsetto repeating “You can run, you can run”. The simple, yet heartfelt lyrics and the dynamic production make this song pretty much irresistible.

 

Bailamos 

 

His breakout hit remains one of his best club bangers to date and still sounds fresh after all these years. This Latin pop track was the peak of the late 90s’ Latin wave, so listening to it in 2014 just makes me nostalgic.

 

Tired of Being Sorry 

 

The track is a cover of a song of the same name by the American band, Ringside. It speaks of a relationship threatened by the lovers’ demons. The eeriness of the lyrics is heightened by the Iglesias’ soft mumbling in the verses and the production, which starts with Latin-influenced strings that make way for thumping synths. A very magnetic and hypnotic song overall, and surely a career highlight too.

 

Maybe 

 

This light rock song was one of the first Enrique songs I’d ever heard. It speaks of a guy trying to mend a deteriorating relationship and can’t let go of his lover. His vocals make this one of his gems. It ends in Iglesias trademark fashion, which is repetitive, airy falsetto.

 

Somebody’s Me 

 

This is my favorite Iglesias song ever. Well-written, well-sung and well-produced, it literally never ever gets old and deserved much more success. Somebody’s Me is Enrique Iglesias at his absolute best. He nailed it. His skilled vocals carry the emotional weight of the song and capture the feeling of longing perfectly. I don’t think anybody could have done it any better. Bruno Mars, a singer known for his crooning too, would have made it sappy and annoying with his raspy, throaty belts. Good one, Enrique.

 

What I Want Next

I’m hoping that Enrique branches out lyrically a bit on his next albums. He already has the sex and love anthems territory covered better than anybody else, so now the time has come to try some new things. Maybe cut down a bit on the club bangers and make room for more emotional, lyrically-driven songs a la Somebody’s Me. How about some acoustic, guitar driven songs? I want to see Iglesias’ music get slightly more organic, even if just for one album, and then he can go back to EDM and dance-pop.

 

3 days left for Enrique's concert!
3 days left for Enrique’s concert!

 

Now why does Enrique Iglesias’ concert matter?

It matters, not only because Iglesias is a huge star, but also because this is the first time a global artist decides to play a concert in Egypt since the 2011Revolution. It’s been no secret that the political instability and civil unrest that followed the Revolution made tour promoters worldwide wary of sending their artists to tour in Egypt, so this news might be seen as an indication that our country is gradually getting considered by the rest of the world as more stable and safe in comparison to the last couple of years. Love or hate Iglesias, this is certainly an interesting development.

Anyway, enough of that political talk! If you are planning to buy a ticket to the concert, you should know that many Iglesias songs contain sexually explicit lyrics and profanities and that he sometimes invites female fans on stage and can hug or kiss them at times. So go at your own risk.

Tickets are available at Ticketsmarche.com (that is if the concert is not already sold out!)

 

 

 

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