While Escape is not excessively stylized, it is meticulously styled in the way great albums are, where surprises are hidden in every corner. The surprises here include hushed female vocals that glide into the choruses (most notably on "Don't Turn Off the Lights") and the rippling echoes and vocal distortions that begin on the title track and run like a theme throughout the rest of the album. There are also the natural gifts that he brings, his singing for one, which is both trembling and direct -- he creates anticipation for the moments when he will break the latter syllables of a word into a lilting high note or an unyielding holler. No one will ever blame Iglesias for lack of emotion and, if his music inspires heart tugging, his voice -- always in control even when it sounds on the verge of tears -- is the culprit. He may milk it excessively on a drippy ballad like "Love to See You Cry," but it is perfect for the beautiful "Hero." Elsewhere, driven by guitar strumming and drum rattling, "Maybe" carries the essence of the whole album. The simplicity of the lyrics "Maybe you'll say that you want me, maybe you'll say that you won't" will not earn high points with art appraisers, but the day pop music demands intellect over emotion is the day love songs serve no purpose. Some people have questioned how "Hero," a song about longing for romantic love, was accepted as an anthem for the World Trade Center tragedy. Despite lyrics like "Would you tremble if I touch your lips," it makes sense. At the time of its release, in the wake of war and broken hearts, Iglesias' new album, and indeed the song "Hero," are a reminder that love, no matter how seemingly out of reach, is the conquering force. Maybe the Latin Invasion has ended. Maybe Latin musical roots are now growing in American listeners in the same way American rock has been ingrained into other cultures for years. And maybe that is why Escape is not just an English-language album by a Spanish artist, it is a universal album about love. Love is a greater influence than money and, as Iglesias sings, "In the end, our love mattered."
Peter Fawthrop, Rovi