If you’re going to make an album called Insomniac, you’d be wise not to include a bunch of songs likely to put people to sleep. Maybe it’s not realistic for a guy who had his biggest hit with “Hero” to give up the sappy stuff altogether, but Enrique Iglesias could’ve come up with something more imaginative than “Somebody’s Me” and “Little Girl,” both of which are dull ballads that try to be poignant but end up not saying much of anything at all. “If I leave with you and I get you home/Baby, you’re going to love what I do when I’m on top of you,” Iglesias coos over a Sadé-ish R&B beat on “On Top Of You.” It’s unusual to hear such blatantly sexual language in a romantic love song, sort of like a tamer version of Biggie & R. Kelly’s “Fuck You Tonight,” except that song’s vulgarity was tongue-in-cheek. “On Top Of You” is unintentionally hilarious and just plain creepy. The ballads are disappointing because the rest of Insomniac isn’t half bad. “Ring My Bells” features hip-hop elements and subtle electronic effects that give it a seductive, brooding feel, while “Push,” with a cameo from rapper Lil’ Wayne, does a fair job of emulating the Timbaland sound, though it ultimately comes across like something Justin Timberlake might have recorded for his last album before realizing it wasn’t good enough to make the cut. The most immediately appealing track is lead single “Do You Know? (The Ping Pong Song),” which features the most creative use of table tennis in a song since Dave Matthews Band’s “Lie In Our Graves.” It’s a gimmick but it works. The best of the slow songs are those that eschew pronouncements of Iglesias’ sexual prowess in favor of simple lyrics that are sentimental without being corny, such as the acoustic “Don’t You Forget About Me” (no, not a cover of the Simple Minds song). If all of the ballads were this good, Insomniac would’ve been worthwhile effort; instead, it’s a case study in ironic album titles.
Score:Label: Interscope Release Date: June 12, 2007 Buy: Amazon