By Rebecca Bulnes
By Laurie Charles
By Chuck Strouse
By Lee Zimmerman
By Laurie Charles
By Falyn Freyman
By Hans Morgenstern
Raymond — three cameras taping his every move for a TV pilot destined for gay cable network LOGO — introduced a more glamorous, sexed-up, introspective, and darker persona. With musical direction from one of the producers working on Gloria Estefan’s new album, Raymond gave a peek into “Mystery Boy” as well as a track called “Cruisers,” which whimsically skewers Internet astronauts. Talk about keeping it real — “Cruisers” will have you deleting some Websites from your laptop while it mirrors your “secret single behavior,” as Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw termed it.
The finale, “There’s a Light,” was an anticlimactic jam session featuring the Miami Gay Men’s Chorus. There was great harmonic merit, but little shine.
Raymond is a better than good singer; you can’t front on that fact. His new tracks might not have you singing in the streets, but they will be the soundtrack to your sexy secret single behavior, in the privacy of your home. — Billy Blair Williams
Sony’s Salsa Caliente (y Corporate)
If there were ever a hypothetical candidate for a Tiger Beat Lifetime Compulsive-Bilingual-Record-Releaser of the Year award, it would be Frankie J., who this week replies in English to his Un Nuevo Dia full-length with Priceless.
This marks the third time Frankie has gone Hollywood after flying off in a solo direction from Latin megaband Kumbia Kings, who, it turns out, weren’t quite ready to release him from the soul-eroding grind of 100,000 Mexican tween chickies screaming his name. Turning on his heel without an escape route planned, Frankie feigned obliviousness to the lawsuit sandwich the Kings’ management threw his way, now long since made up for in receipts from his previous two records, the last one being 2005’s The One, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200.
This time out he is assisted by a producing bullpen that includes Jermaine Dupri and Mannie Fresh, who collaborated on the album’s leadoff single, “That Girl,” featuring Chamillionaire. If you can tear your eyes from the jiggling, you might note that the video for the song was shot in Miami; it was directed by Gil Green, who headed up Frankie’s Latino-hop opus “Obsession (No Es Amor).” — Eric W. Saeger