Greatest Hits, Vol. 2

Artist: Alabama
Listenability Scale: 95%
Released by: BMG Entertainment
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

One of my favorite country bands of all times is Alabama so it should be no surprise that this is one of my favorite CD’s. As is the case with a lot of country albums, at least according to my secretary, it’s filled with sad songs, like “Lady Down on Love” and “Then Again,” but I must say Alabama does a better job at keeping things upbeat. This CD gives you a “Dixieland Delight,” a “Song of the South,” a “High Cotton,” and even a “Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)” which although could have been a really sad song had daddy not been found, does show that sometimes the man upstairs is listenin’. A great live band, and a great CD, this one gets a 95% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale. I would have given it 100%, but I can do without “Hats Off.” Just my opinion.

That’s it for this quick review! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Ricky Martin

Artist: Ricky Martin
Listenability Scale: 90%
Released by: Columbia Records
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

A Mostly Fake Story with an Album Review

The weekend started on a sad note. I found out I wouldn’t be able to live la vida loca at the Ricky Martin concert. Most of Friday I spent drowning my sorrows with a bottle of Jack, kept reading the note that I wasn’t going to be able to go, and had to keep wiping the tears off of my Ricky Martin CD as I weeped “Ricky! I really wanted to see you. Damn those other people! I should be there. I wanted to shake my bon-bon. I wanted my cup of life filled. I wanted to see you on the hood of a car. I wanted to hit on the single moms who had to bring their daughters. Ohhhhhh, Ricckkkkyyyy!”

I woke up Saturday morning with tear tracks down the side of my face, a new day but another sad day because I should be looking forward to Sunday, to Ricky. I opened another bottle of Jack, got the dude-pad ready for the Halloween party, but I was not in the partying mood. My friends came by, and I tried to put on a happy face under my giant Chef (from South Park) head, but they could tell something was wrong. Whammy was the first to notice, asking “Dude, what’s wrong?” I just drunkenly slurred something like “Wicky, I’m nat goin’ ta get ta see Wicky,” and slugged down another gulp. “Geez, Dude,” Whammy said, “Lighten up. It’s a party!” And she proceeded to desert me. Then Trash cornered me “Give me that bottle. Whoever she is, she’s not worth getting so drunk over.” She tried to take away the bottle but I held tight, slumped in the corner, “Wicky, Wicky.” She mumbled something like “Damn, get over it,” and walked away. Stu finally figured it out as he took my bottle to make himself a Jack & Coke while I sobbed, “Furst I miss Spwingsteen, now Wicky.” “You’re upset because you’re not going to get to see Ricky Martin? Dude, I think you’re starting to take this whole concert thing too seriously. It’s just Ricky Martin. I think my sister has an old tape of him on ‘General Hospital.’ I’ll get it for you if that might make you happy,” Stu offered. I grabbed the bottle of Jack back from him as Stu tells the Dude on the Left what’s wrong and he says “I told you we should have gone to see GWAR. Dumb-ass.”

Sunday morning, the day Ricky Martin is in Chicago, a half-filled bottle of Jack beside my bed, an extra hour of sleep due to the end of daylight savings time, and the sun hits my face through a crack in the curtains. I shake the cobwebs out of my head, look at myself in the mirror, and think to myself “Self, you’ve got to get over this. Make the best of this.” “But how can I make the best of this?” I question myself. “Self, that’s not the first concert you’ve been shut out of, and it probably won’t be the last. Look at the bright side, you get to stay home and watch “X-Files.” “Yea, but self, it’s a re-run.” “Wow, self, that’s kind of a bummer.” “Yea.” And the conversation with myself continues until myself tells myself another idea “Self, so you can’t go to the concert. Why don’t you, around eight o’clock, pop in your Ricky Martin CD, turn it up really loud, and live la vida loca in your living room?” “Wow, that sounds pretty pathetic. Besides, if I do that than I won’t be able to hear the doorbell when the trick-or-treaters come and I’ll wake up in the morning to eggs splattered all over the dude-pad.” “Wow, dude, you’re way over-thinking this. Why don’t you just write a CD review? Maybe he’ll come back to Chicago another time and you can see him then.” “Self, sometimes you’re so smart. That’s what I’ll do, write a CD review.”

And with that I poured the rest of the Jack down the drain, took two aspirin, popped Ricky Martin back into the CD player, made up just about all of the above story, and proceeded to get to reviewin’.

The Review

Alright. I admit it. I like Ricky Martin. No, not in that way, but there is just something about his CD, accordingly titled “Ricky Martin,” that I just like. Sure, “Livin’ La Vida Loca” can get anybody’s butt moving, the haunting “Spanish Eyes” keeps me singing along to the chorus, and “The Cup of Life” has made its way onto my exercise mix, but maybe it’s just because the CD is so much fun to listen to, even the slow songs, that I find myself leaving it in my CD player.

Now, unless you’re dead you’ve probably heard something about Ricky Martin. Me, I first remember him while trying to catch General Hospital and find a job (watching more General Hospital rather than finding a job I must confess). So, he leaves General Hospital and most everyone in America forgets about him, including me, all until the Grammy Awards. Hell, even I was watching and said “Whoa. Who the hell was that?” And then it began – Ricky Martin – everywhere. Now whereas the Latin invasion seems to be hitting fast and hard, leading to a one hit here and a one hit there, Ricky has so many years of experience in the entertainment business that “Ricky Martin,” the CD, well, I would have been surprised if it didn’t do well. Why, for me? Well, I guess maybe it goes along with his acting background, but Ricky sounds excited on the exciting songs, i.e. “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” “The Cup of Life,” and “Shake Your Bon-Bon,” and then the ballads, you can almost see him serenading a young lovely on a balcony. His projection of a song is as important as the song itself and Ricky does it like a pro.

The CD basically has two speeds. You’ve got the “get down with your bad self” songs for the dudes who will say they hate Ricky Martin yet still know all of the words to “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” combined basically with enough ballads to please most girls on the planet, especially enlisting the help of Madonna on “Be Careful” and Meja on “Private Emotion.” Most of the songs are of the English nature, with a couple popping up on the CD in the Spanish version, and then there are the Spanglish songs, mixing English and Spanish during the same song. But through it all, through every song, whether in English, Spanish, or Spanglish, there is that Latin influence, from the horns, to percussion, to guitar, that lets you know that for the American pop scene, Ricky Martin has taken control of the charts with something we haven’t been used to hearing.

If you moved, even a little, to “Livin’ La Vida Loca” or got kinda sappy as Ricky sang “She’s All I Ever Had,” well “Ricky Martin”, the CD, is for you. You’ll shake your booty, get a tear in your eye, and maybe even learn some Spanish. Even though, in my opinion, the CD doesn’t seem to challenge things musically, being pretty much high energy Latin music or Latin sounding ballads, it is fun. That’s enough for me. I give it a 90% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale. “What, only 90%?” you say. Yea, only 90% because of two things. One, even though I like most everything, even “Livin’ La Vida Loca” after hearing it about a billion times, I can’t stand “Shake Your Bon-Bon.” Yes, I admit it makes me want to get down with my bad self, but I just hate it. But two, maybe more than hating the Bon-Bon song, I think there is more challenging musical stylings that Ricky can showcase. He’s got the looks, he’s got the voice, let’s just push them to the limit. Oh well, just call me weird, but I think there is more that Ricky can give than is on this CD, and that is kinda scary.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!