In 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.
We are an American internet radio station that broadcasts worldwide. The station features an eclectic mix of current pop and rock music from both sides of the Atlantic alongside hits, forgotten gems, and rarities from the last three decades.
Give us a spin when you get a chance.
We just might become your alternative of choice!