Pop music doesn’t get much more manufactured than it does on Marc Anthony’s second English-language effort, Mended. Armed with a bevy of in-house producers (Corey Rooney, Ric Wake, Dan Shea), Anthony delivers an album’s worth of watered-down Latin pop that could just as easily be sung by Ricky Martin or Jennifer Lopez. While his interpretation of tracks like the acoustic guitar-driven “I Need You” are undeniably earnest, much of the album’s lyrics are complete rubbish: “I don’t need someone to own me…I’m the one who needs to hold me,” he says on “Don’t Tell Me It’s Love.” Sure, it’s just harmless pop music, but is it too much to ask for a bit of thematic harmony to go along with the sonic conformity? On the very next song, he declares: “So many times I prayed to find/Someone like you to hold me.” Anthony digs himself even deeper with the most asinine of rhymes: “Do you believe in loneliness?...When all I knew was onlyness, there you were.” It’s all so by-the-numbers that by the time something fresh comes along (“I Wanna Be Free” is imbued with the forlorn cries of a French horn), it just sounds bizarre and out of place.
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