For this, his third English-language album (seventh in total, hence the title), Enrique appears to be making a direct tilt towards the American market. The production has a strong tint of REO Speedwagon / Foreigner-style, ’80s adult-orientated rock and even the subject matter seems tailored for US audiences, especially California Callin’, which also happens to be one of the strongest cuts on the album.
This tendency towards trans-Atlantic blandness is balanced by some Latino flourishes, especially on opening track Not In Love and bonus track Be With You. However, while tracks like The Way You Touch Me, Break Me, Shake Me and You Rock Me, are intended to inject some testosterone into proceedings they are perhaps just a little too smooth and yes, contrived, to be entirely convincing. They’re also delivered in that flat, raspy style so beloved of American rock bands which, again, doesn’t entirely convince.
Enrique is on much safer territory when it comes to the ballads with which, let’s face it, he first made his name. Hit single Addicted is typical, although, even here there’s a tendency to over-egg the pudding with a mannered vocal.
Generally, Iglesias’ vocal delivery is smoother than on previous offerings, but he is never going to have the seductive silkiness that his father, Julio, possessed in such abundance. Even the dreaded vocoder makes an appearance on Be Yourself, which, bizarrely, sounds like Ocean Colour Scene on an off day. Wish You Were Here (With Me) is better, and at least has a tune that is half-memorable.
The veritable army of producers credited on 7 tells its own story, namely that this album has been (too) carefully crafted for maximum airwave exposure. That said, there’s a certain uniformity to the overall sound of the album, which, in the main, comprises chunky guitar riffs and anthemic choruses, although little that lodges in the consciousness for more than about 15 minutes. It’s an album that would seem to have been designed – and I use that word advisedly – for the arenas of North America, where Enrique will no doubt be pitching tent very soon.
Just so Enrique’s European fans don’t feel he has deserted them, this album includes the Spanish version of Addicted (Adicto), as well as a couple of fairly pointless remixes of the same track. The fans will no doubt lap them up, as indeed, they will the rest of the album, such is its air of familiarity and predictability. It’s hard to see it earning Enrique many new followers though.