Rosa is "Livin' la Vida" Mad Love
Robi Draco Rosa's fifth solo album, Mad Love, is an eclectic mix of hits and misses. The singer-songwriter-producer took two years to create the record and his efforts are evident.
Rosa began his musical career as a member of the Puerto Rican group Menudo. He then penned several songs for fellow Menudo member Ricky Martin. However, the writer of "Living la Vida Loca" may surprise listeners. He has risen above such trite lyrics and compiled an album of masterfully-crafted poetry set to a variety of musical genres.
According to sonymusic.com, Rosa said, "I never feel like I'm going to plan to play rock today, or I'm going to plan to play reggae. I just want to do what feels right. I go by the adrenaline or the heartbeat. I just try to keep the spontaneity, which is what I thrive on."
The sexy flamenco number, "Dancing in the Rain," benefits from Rosa's smooth, sensual vocals as well as the flutes, muted trumpets, and electronics that weave a beautiful musical tapestry. Lyrics include: "There she goes she's like a sexy rose and her body's like a secret that you gotta know / Yeah, that's where I want to be...You move like you own the world, why don't you dance with me?"
"Crash Push" is a catchy Latin beat you can sing along with. Rosa croons, "Desire has no safety / She leads you on a road gone crazy / Hold me back; I think I'm falling over you / Help me now; I'm losing me into you / What did you do?"
Rosa demonstrates his vocal talents in a surprising falsetto in "My Eyes Adore You," a beautiful ballad with passionate lyrics.
"Como me Acuerdo" is one of the few Spanish songs on the album. Though it is not one of the standout tracks, it has its high points in its gorgeous harmonies and ethereal instrumentals.
"Heaven Can Wait" allows Rosa to bring out his inner rocker. Although it adds to the eclectic feel of the album, it seems to be a strong deviation from the other songs.
The multi-talented Rosa is also a painter and a poet. Both these talents are revealed in Mad Love in the way Rosa paints gorgeous images with his verse. Rosa's way with words is especially evident in "This Time." "I'm an ocean dweller and I'm in my symphony of uncertainty. In my head the sky is changing for you and me."
The album's title track embodies the feelings behind the entire album-romance, passion, and desire. "Cuz when I said I love you, that's forever / Do you remember when sunrise meant that we should close our eyes / And words were just obstacles between our hellos and our goodbyes?"
Listeners should not be fooled by the arena rock and Miles Davis-like jazz, this record is really about love. According to sonymusic.com, the album was a testament to his marriage with actress/director Angela Alvarado. Rosa said, "I've always been kind of a romantic, but I reached another level in our relationship and it was just when I was diving into this album. So I just committed to that and I said, 'Let me just go full-on and make beautiful love songs.'"
Interestingly, Rosa includes Spanish versions of "Crash Push" and "Dancing in the Rain" as bonus tracks on the album. Listeners may enjoy hearing these catchy melodies in Rosa's native language.
Mad Love is a wonderful blend of styles that allows Rosa to be romantic without being sappy. This feel-good album goes beyond being bilingual and bicultural in that it spans themes, genres, and tones as well.
Rating: 2.9 Polar Bears (of 4)
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