Radio Creme BruleeThe new Kylie Minogue - Enrique Iglesias duet is an absolute dud
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The new Kylie Minogue – Enrique Iglesias duet is an absolute dud

18 February 2014 5 Comments
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enrique-iglesias-kylie-minogue3666In an ideal world, collaborations in pop music should be aimed at artists with complementary competencies building off of each other to create a song or musical work that goes beyond what they could have achieved individually. These days, it seems to be more about commercial leverage and one artist using the other as a commercial crutch (e.g. the played out “rent a rapper” phenomenon). Sometimes, the collaborations might be solely about “star power” and not result in any substantial artistic value. Sadly, the new Enrique Iglesias and Kylie Minogue duet “Beautiful” falls into that category.

Latin American pop star Enrique Iglesias enjoyed an enviable career at the height of the Latin invasion in the musical mainstream in 1999. With hits like “Bailamos“, “Be with you“, “Hero“, and “Escape“, he seemed like an artist that was poised for more greatness. Unfortunately, since this “Seven” album, every subsequent release feels like a diminishing return wherein he seems to have shed his Latin roots in his music and is instead opting for a vocoder-heavy “tired and repetitive” sound that has been overdone by most artists in a misguided endeavor to sound “current and modern”. He also seems to think that collaborations with the “hot rappers of today” will give him credibility with a younger generation. As a result, he might have diluted his legacy over the last decade with one unmemorable record after another. This is a shame since he is an incredibly talented artist.

Aussie pop princess, Kylie Minogue, is also at a rather interesting juncture of her career. She has a had a series of singles and non-standard studio work since her hit album “Aphrodite” (released in 2010) but with the exception of “Limpido” (her duet with Italian popstar Laura Pausini), none of the releases have done much in terms of whetting the appetite for more of her music. “Into The Blue” – the lead single of her “soon to be released” album “Kiss Me Once” is also far from earthshattering. While it is possible to think that her new duet with Enrique Iglesias is a ploy to capitalize on her star power, I do not necessarily believe it is. Musically, the two artists come from different worlds and can hence build off of each other – assuming they actually stuck to their competencies. Sadly, they do not.

Beautiful” is a MOR ballad. The one thing I would have hoped artists would have recognized by now is that vocoders NEVER work on ballads. Vocoders should be used sparsely at best and only momentarily on upbeat tracks. It appears that Kylie and Enrique skipped this very basic lesson in pop music arrangements. The song opens with an annoying vocoder heavy segment that is followed by lackluster verses and an even more vocoder-heavy chorus. The vocals throughout the song seem drowned out – which is a shame given that Enrique Iglesias is in fact a very competent vocalist. The song is quite off-putting from the very beginning and does not leave the listener longing for more at all. One cannot help but listen to this and think about what a lost opportunity this collaboration is. There is so much potential in a duet featuring Kylie Minogue and Enrique Iglesias and sadly, it was wasted on this highly disposable track – which is slated to be featured on Kylie’s “Kiss Me Once” album and Enrique’s “Sex + Love” album. This collaboration could have been a winner for both artists and instead all it does is amplify the downward slide both of them are on. Fortunately, for Kylie, she still can bounce back. We are less hopeful for Enrique Iglesias -which is a pity since we do have a fair share of admiration for him.

For those of you have not heard the duet, here it is:

STAR RATING: 1 STAR (out of 5)

What are your thoughts on the new Kylie-Enrique duet? Feel free to comment below and share.

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5 Responses to "The new Kylie Minogue – Enrique Iglesias duet is an absolute dud"

  1. GEO says:

    I take issue with a particular point in this article that seems very misinformed.

    As I’m sure you’re aware Enrique Iglesias had a career prior to Bailamos recording and releasing Spanish albums which continues to this day but have you actually heard any of it? Prior to crossing over Iglesias’ music was only Latin in the sense that it was released in Latin America.

    These were straightforward pop songs – mainly light rock influenced ballads with occasional uptempo which sounded very much of the music of the time. By his own admission Iglesias grew up in the United States knew very little Latin music but it was unnecessary as his music was accepted very warmly anyway.

    Of course in 1999 Enrique made a bid for worldwide stardom by being part of a fad that year of Latin-themed pop songs. A very odd choice for an artist that continuously claimed his music was not actually Latin. Sadly that particular trend highlighted something about the industry – it’s often said that Latin singers have to compromise their ethnicity to have English hit but I find that mainstream likes expects their non British and American acts to sound and act…well non British or American often in very stereotypical ways.

    All the Latin crossovers of that year used the same tropes in their early mainstream work; leather pants, hip shaking writhing in some kind of liquid to Spanglish lyrics and “world” sounds. Look at Shakira (who crossed over after the trend had faded) who did use a few Latin elements in her music but was mainly a folksy rock influences artist ala Alanis Morisette suddenly transforms into another leather pants wearing, hip shaking act.

    I’m not condemning any of them for going this route it was obviously seen as the “correct” thing to do at the time to get your foot in the door of the mainstream and I doubt any of them thought the sound would define them forever but certainly for Enrique in particular it wasn’t his roots and I don’t think it was his selling point or as you put it his “competence” either.

    Bailamos was of course successful but seemed pale in Ricky Martin’s Livin’ La Vida Locas shadow in the UK and the less said about Rhythm Divine the better so it wasn’t exactly that successful at the time. Every album since then has had a token Latin-pop song that gets released as a single from Love To See You Cry to Tired of Being Sorry but while nice did any of them do much on the charts? One might argue that at least part of the reason he had a fall from grace was because of sticking with that style long after the “Latin-invasion” was over.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum the other songs that you listed; Hero and Escape were straightforward pop songs. I defy anyone to find any hint ethnicity in either and yet they were the tracks that Iglesias really came into his own with. The latter even uses the voice warping effect you admonish him using in his recent output.

    Also in 2010 he experienced a career renaissance of sorts in the US and many countries he’d been persona non grata in when I Like It and Tonight became his most played and best selling songs.

    Thus I don’t feel the “diminishing returns” or the dilution of a supposed legacy argument really pans out. Neither does the whole idea of him abandoning of his “Latin roots” if anything he abandoned a style he used for five minutes to gain mainstream acceptance after years of it being unsuccessful for him.

    Interestingly he has explored some real Latin styles in his more recent Spanish music but I don’t think that would work in his mainstream releases. I think he’s in a good place now.

  2. Frannie says:

    There’s an album sampler on youtube with songs from the album. Admittedly, I’m not a big Kylie fan but for me there was only one song I enjoyed. It was called I was Gonna Cancel and was produced by Pharrell. It has a R&B feeling to it. I guess her fans don’t like that and want typical Kylie but I thought it was interesting and cool. I’m a little confused by the clips because I thought she was going to experiment with R&B/hip hop beats on this album, but most of it is typical Kylie disco/electro pop. But there was only one song that had an R&B feel. I think Pharrell is a talented guy. I greatly enjoy the stuff he did with Daft Punk, Madonna and some other artists.

  3. @GEO: Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on our post. I truly appreciate the time and effort you have put in it.

    I actually heard about Enrique Iglesias a few years before he released “Bailamos”. I saw him perform in Spanish at a Miss Universe contest. Coming to think of it, nothing about song that he performed, besides the fact that was in Spanish, was particularly “Latin”.

    From 1999-2001, there were some defining Latin-flavored elements in his music – most noteworthy one being the Spanish guitar. And yes, it was probably quite stereotypical but pleasant.

    It is true that all the Latin artists that emerged in 1999 played the exact same game. Besides Enrique Iglesias, I didn’t pay much attention to the others since their music did not grab me. There was more style than substance. I actually thought Enrique delivered when it came to substance.

    I completely agree with you on your point about Shakira and her style. What she gravitated to was a departure from her positioning outside of the American mainstream.

    In terms of my reference to Enrique’s “competence”, that is relative to my perception of what he brought to the table. I am quite sure most people have a different perception of Enrique and that is fine. I mean, there is an inherent subjectivity here right?

    Rhythm Divine did not chart high in the US either. The third single “Be with you” did well since Enrique performed it at Spring Break locations during college “Spring Break”. We are super-fond of “Love to see you cry” but I do not believe the song got a US single release. I was traveling in Asia at the time I heard the song and I remember it being huge there.

    You have a point about sticking to a style and how he may have done that for a bit too long – but trying to sound like literally everyone else by featuring the token rapper, and the vocoder obscured what he brought to the table as a vocalist. I understand the notion of blending into the mainstream but to what extent?
    Interestingly enough, I was not a fan of either “Hero” or “Escape” and we do not feature either of those songs on our radio station. But you’re right – those were huge hits for Enrique.

    For the format we’re going for on our radio station, we just find that we set ourselves up for disappointment every time we look to Enrique Iglesias for something new. We believe that if an artist creates good music once he has the capacity to do so again. We’re just waiting to get to the point where Enrique Iglesias can get exciting for us again.

    Last, but not least, your comment was a well-informed one and we truly appreciate it. We do not want people to necessarily agree with this. We’re bigger fans of counter-arguments. Thank you so much for that. Just out of curiosity, how did you discover our radio station?

  4. @Frannie: I heard the album sampler and tweeted about it two days ago. “I was Gonna Cancel” could be a good song but I have not heard enough of it to make a judgment yet. This is a typical Kylie album – nothing r&b about it at all. The closest she has gotten to r&b was on “All I See” and I thought that was pretty good – if not great. I took liked what Pharrell did with Daft Punk and Madonna. We’re even featuring his new single “Happy” on high-rotation. But yes, not sure if the new Kylie album is going to be much to look forward to. Rumors suggest that the album’s title track “Kiss me once” will be a big hit for Kylie.

  5. Mark says:

    Wow, careful, criticising artists making “music” today, and as anyone today (plus Madogga and Minogue) is obviously beyond critical reproach, I hope you’re prepared fr the shockwaves that may come off it. I mean I thought giving records a critical evaluation was only something we did in the 80s, when reviewers (i.e failed musicians) were so insightful in fair they gave such astute and meaningful evaluations of great 80s artists as “hateful record, that’s crap, typical them, what’s it all mean, style over substance” blah blah blah. Back then those jerks never had it so good. Aside from all the critically acclaimed stuff that incidentally I hated while they all loved (Police, The Jam, Madness, Cure).

    But Minogue and that Inglesias being “underwhelming”-SURELY NEVER! When has Madonna, Kylie, and everything from the 90s onwards especially to the rubbish of 2000-present EVER do anything that wasn’t 150% perfect? I mean, we’re in a golden age of musical genius and we have been since the 80s left us, aren’t we?! And wonderful people like Kim Wilde, Sandra, Alphaville, Duran Duran, Bangles, China Crisis, OMD, A-ha and the like are all ignored and act like they don’t exist any more aside from a “few moments in the 80s”, while all the old lushes with far less to offer are allowed to continue and mingle with all of today’s trash.

    Underwhelming? Never. Thank God for the 90s-now and onwards. I mean who needed a decade like the 80s, with all of it’s variety, imagination, songcraft, storytelling, and actual great musicianship, barrier-breaking sounds and differing voices that could generally sing and din’t need poncy little YouTube nor puppet shows to break through, but had to please difficult execs through months and months of waiting and demoing tapes. Who needs that? Now is what matters, in all its paucity, toxicity and lip-service to declare a turd a gold bar when it’s still a turd. Aren’t we all lucky!

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