Marc Anthony was a salsa superstar throughout the '90s, long before the Latin pop explosion of the 1999. Once Ricky Martin ushered in a new era of crossovers that spring with "Livin' La Vida Loca," there was a rush of crossover acts, almost enough to make it seem like Anthony was left behind. After all, his bid for mainstream success as the starring role in Paul Simon's Broadway musical The Capeman was undone as it became one of the Great White Way's most notorious failures. Still, Anthony had his own English-language album in the works. Titled Marc Anthony, the record appeared in the fall of 1999, guaranteeing it a shot at a mass audience, which is exactly what it was designed to do. As a matter of fact, it's almost a bit too calculated, opening with two interchangeable ballads that set the tone for a pleasant, subdued set of Latin-tinged adult contemporary pop. Anthony sings beautifully throughout, but he's never given the opportunity to be truly electric, the way he can be with hot salsa numbers. The liveliest the album gets is the catchy, mid-tempo single "I Need to Know," which is gently danceable, or the mild salsa of "That's Okay," and the Latin dance-pop of "She's Been Good to Me." The rest is almost all pop ballads, perfectly produced and gamely sung by Anthony. Some of these work very well, others simply fade into the slipstream. That's particularly frustrating because Anthony is such a talented singer that it's evident that he's capable of much more than this. Marc Anthony isn't bad for what it is, and a few of its singles are quite good, but it's not at the level of his earlier records, or Martin's crossover bid of 1999, either.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine