Tuesday, February 13, 2018

"Hold Me" by Menudo

Song#:  2315
Date:  05/11/1985
Debut:  85
Peak:  62
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Pop, Latin Pop

Pop Bits:  This Puerto Rican boy band was developed in the late 70s by producer Edgardo Diaz. The group would basically become the eternal boy band with members' contracts ending when they turn sixteen and replacements hired. The group issued their first LP in 1977, but it wasn't until 1981 that the hits started coming. They quickly became huge stars in Latin America and soon they began to catch on in Europe. They slowly began to break into the US market a couple of years later performing in New York and getting music spots on ABC Saturday morning TV. Their first English language album, Reaching Out, appeared in 1984. While it got a lot of press and attention, the album and its first single, "If You're Not Here (By My Side)," failed to fully catch on. They tried again in '85 with a self-titled album that featured this single. The song finally got them on the Pop chart, but it was a minor entry and would end up being their only one to reach the chart. While they would continue to release English language versions of their albums over the years, Menudo just didn't catch on in the US. The group and its revolving door of members remains popular in many countries before calling it a day in 2009.

ReduxReview:  I have to admit that I've never heard a Menudo song until now. It seems surprising since they were all over the place around this time period. A ton of people knew about them, yet no one really wanted to listen to them. It could have had to do with all the promo and marketing that tried to sell them as teen heartthrobs (or really as product rather than actual music makers). I think folks tuned them out before giving them a chance. I was certainly one of those people who rolled their eyes at the mere mention of their name. However, if they had quality tunes and proper marketing, they might have made a bigger splash in the US. This song is actually not all that bad. The problem with it though is that it's too mature for them. It was written by Howie Rice, who supplied a song to The Pointer Sisters for their Break Out LP and it sounds like something the Sisters could have done. Not teenagers. I think people were expecting, fun, age appropriate boy band pop with a Latin twist and this wasn't it. Wrong material and bad marketing basically doomed the group in the US. At least later on we got Ricky Martin out of the deal (see below).

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  While several former members of Menudo tried to branch out to solo careers, only two of them became major stars. One became a Grammy-winning Latin artist who also helped another member become a worldwide star. Robi Rosa (aka Draco Rosa) and Ricky Martin both joined Menudo in 1984. Rosa would stay with the group until 1987, Martin until '88. Rosa first went solo in 1988 with a pair of successful albums in Brazil. After a stint in a rock band called Maggie's Dream, he returned to solo work. In 2013, his solo album Vida won the Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album. It also took home the Latin Grammy award for Best Album. Martin initially moved on to acting working on stage and on TV. He eventually struck out on a solo career with his first album in 1991, which would sell over 500,000 copies worldwide. He recorded two more solo albums while also maintaining an acting career that saw him star in two US TV shows. He was in the two-season sitcom Getting By and spent a couple of years on the soap General Hosptial. In 1998, he teamed up with Rosa and the pair worked on Martin's breakthrough album Vuelve. Rosa co-wrote and produced most of the tracks. The album would be a major success and would earn Martin a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Performance. They teamed up again for Martin's US #1 self-titled album, which featured the #1 hit "Livin' La Vida Loca." Rosa co-wrote that song with Desmond Child. The track would be nominated for both Record and Song of the Year at the Grammys. The album would be nominated for Best Pop Album. Martin would have one more highly successful album with 2000's Sound Loaded.


No comments:

Post a Comment