While on his Spanish-language albums Enrique Iglesias allows himself to focus on ballad material, his English albums must please a wider audience -- scattered Latin pop fans, straight pop listeners, Wal-Mart shoppers, and of course, his passel of female worshipers.
7 accomplishes all that and more, positioning Iglesias as not only a drop-dead pop crooner who whispers everything middle-aged housewives want to hear, but also as a hip, knowing postmodern vocalist closer to Kylie Minogue than Ricky Martin.
Iglesias can please several crowds at once because, first of all, they're not that different and, second, his production team deftly arranges the hipness while he can remain the earnest balladeer.
Alex Ander and Rob Davis, one of two main teams working on the record, quote freely but well: "California Callin'" is "The Boys of Summer" by way of New Order, while "The Way You Touch Me" and "Break Me Shake Me" are very good Fleetwood Mac rewrites.
Given arrangements with teeth, Iglesias responds with a set of solid performances, ones that suit his audience but also offer something to listeners who aren't immediately captivated by the faraway look in his eyes on the cover.
Pardon the occasional pandering lyric, as on "Free" ("...free to do the dirty things you like"), as well as the occasional awkward tenderness ("I was alone, grasping for my sanity/Your beauty came, free of vanity/Opened my mind, gave me your anatomy"), or that Latin cry he occasionally inserts into his voice; 7 is a solid pop album from an artist with someone to seduce, if not something to say.