Picks and Pans Review: Mad Love

updated 04/05/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/05/2004 01:00AM

Robi Draco Rosa
POP-ROCK

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Robi Draco Rosa, an alum of the old Puerto Rican boy band Menudo (which will be relaunched after a talent search taking place later this year), is hoping to pull a Ricky Martin and find grown-up success. Although Rosa, 34, cowrote and coproduced such hits as "Livin' La Vida Loca," "The Cup of Life" and "Maria" for Martin, he actually sounds like the anti-Ricky on this English-language effort. His sophisticated stylings on Mad Love hint that he wants to be the Latin Sting, with mixed results.

The singer-songwriter-guitarist smoothly blends pop, rock, Latin, jazz and world beat influences, giving an artful allure to tracks such as the sweeping title tune. But Rosa, whose lyrics were inspired by his love affair with actress-wife Angela Alvarado, takes himself a little too seriously at times; this disc can be maddeningly moody. Where's a good bon-bon shaker when you need it?

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