31st May, 2003

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Another Enrique Iglesias number one, another throaty, unconvincing ballad. This one is particularly unprepossessing because the verses borrow imagery from a song (and a legendary performance) so immeasurably better that everyone involved in "Para Qué la Vida" (what's the use of life) should have been too ashamed to carry on with the rest of it. It's different enough from "Nothing Compares 2 U" that there would be no danger of running afoul of the Purple One's (or the Bald One's) legal teams, especially since no English version was ever cut that might attract more attention, but calling up the ghost of that crowning moment in pop history only underlines how damp of a squib the present offering is.

Enrique had more or less mastered the craft of ballad-singing by this point, to the degree that he ever would: nothing but vulnerability in the voice, melodies by committee, and hangdog in extremis lyrics that make a sympathetic listener want to comfort the broody boy with perfect cheekbones and unthreatening stubble. He could go on forever at this rate, and looks likely to. He eclipsed Luis Miguel as the artist with the most Hot Latin #1s with this record, and although the contest isn't technically over yet, it's all but a foregone conclusion.

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