Robi Draco Rosa – “Mad Love” (2004) Album Review
It took a while before Robi (Robby) Rosa was taken seriously as a musician, singer and songwriter and the album, “Mad Love” was his catalyst to elevate him among the greats. After leaving Menudo in 1987, Robby recorded a solo album in Brazil, made a low-budget movie in Germany and then set his sights on the American markets with the motion picture, Salsa. This movie, while decent, was a joke and Robi was resting on the fans from his Menudo days. This was not him. He was pretending to be the “boy next door” in order to make a living.
Once Robi decided that it wasn’t working, he became himself and changed his identity with various projects including writing songs for people such as Usher and Ricky Martin, under a pen name of Ian Blake. But once his music wasn’t associated with Ex-Menudo Robby, but was being taken seriously…Robi came out with his own brand of music. It is very experimental and it works for him. It is dark and free and nothing like a Menudo.
“Mad Love” is filled with gothic ballads with undertones of classic rock guitars. The work that Robi presented in this album wasn’t at all mainstream, yet it debuted at #2 on Billboard and #1 Latin. The album is about 75% in English, but the music is not just English versions of previous songs like his album, “Songbirds and Roosters”. The album’s success and appeal were greatly international, in Europe and South America. It did not take off in the U.S., as radio stations did not find its appeal board enough for the picky US Latin markets.
The album has three Spanish language tracks, “Como Me Acuerdo”, which spawned its own album after this, then “Noche Fria” and “Mas Y Mas”, both have English counterparts on the album. The song that performed quite well in the US was “Mas Y Mas” which Robi would late record with Menudo bandmate, Ricky Martin.
I love the album as a whole, probably because when I listen to it, I hear a lot of influences that remind me of The Doors. Robi’s voice is so pure and raw and I can feel all the emotions from each of the songs. I don’t think there is any part of the album that I don’t like. If you like alternative rock, this is a great album to start with if you are getting into Robi’s music.