Tuesday, 16 March 2010

2002 Enrique Inglesias: Hero

A mere thirty one years after we met the father, son Enrique gives lie to the claim that apples don't fall far from the tree by eschewing Inglesias Sr's Mediterranean groove for a low key, Americana drive time power ballad (just as I was bemoaning the lack of guitar based songs in recent months, now we get two on the trot. Typical). Low key in production that is; 'Hero' might for the most part be a song of plucked acoustics but it's no more than two steps removed from the hot air balloon of an eighties soft rock behemoth - the likes of Foreigner, Journey or (shudder) REO Speedwagon wouldn't need to waste too much candle in tweaking this for their own agenda.

So what does that tell us about 'Hero'? Nothing that the title doesn't really, Enrique's sultry groan rubs the dry sticks of the tune until they smoulder, but he can't get it to give off much actual heat in its passing - 'Hero' imagines itself as freshly minted from the mould stamped 'tortured singer songwriter', but in striving for effect that vital ingredient called 'heart' has been neglected and in its place is a set of tips taken from the 'How To Write One' manual. As far as that goes, 'Hero' ticks off the quiet start/loud climax, "I can be your hero, baby, I can kiss away the pain. I will stand by you forever" promises checklist to the letter, but following such a strict template makes 'Hero' run on oil rather than warm blood and its mechanical presentation betrays not a hint of spontaneity or fragility. It has the best of intentions, but on listening to 'Hero' I hear more ice than fire at its core - buying the biggest, most expensive Valentine's card in the shop remains an empty gesture as long as it was given for effect only and such an overblown statement will never take the place of a genuine hug.

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