Album of the week
For those who haven't yet heard him sing in Spanish, get ready to meet the real Marc Anthony. Although the Latin pop star's 1999 self-titled English-language debut went triple-platinum on the strength of the Top 10 hits "I Need to Know" and "You Sang to Me," some of the fire and passion that marked his earlier all-Spanish albums got lost in the translation. Now, on this festive salsa disc, Anthony cuts loose with an infectious fervor, amply getting his groove back.
An all-out party album, Libre ("Free" in Spanish) pulsates with the energy of a salsa club, capturing a live feel with its tropical rhythms, syncopated horns and keyed-up piano. The life of the fiesta, though, is Anthony, who, singing in the native tongue of his Puerto Rican parents, shows why he is one of the best vocalists around, Latin or otherwise. His pliant, powerful tenor soars with conviction on numbers such as "Hasta Que Vuelvas Conmigo" "Barco à la Deriva," connecting emotionally with the listener in way that transcends language.
Bottom Line: Salsational