Picks and Pans Review: Better Part of Me

updated 09/04/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/04/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Jon Secada (Epic)

Jon Secada was doing the Latin pop thing long before it took over the charts. And this album opens up in that tradition with "Stop," a frothy bit of Ricky Martinesque fun, buoyed by propulsive bass lines, percussive horn flourishes and Secada's warm-as-the-Gulf Stream vocals. After that jolt of café cubano, however, the fare is mostly decaf. Things don't pick up again until "Papi," another upbeat, Latin-flavored tune that Secada sings in both English and Spanish, a welcome idea he repeats with "Stop," which he performs in a Spanish translation, then again as a hidden track, with the Spanish lyrics sung to a straight merengue arrangement. The latter track underscores the fact that the Better Part of Secada is his Latino side. When he forsakes it to croon mid-tempo R&B ballads, as he does on the bulk of the tunes here, the result is lackluster.

Bottom Line: Some bright moments, but all too few

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