26 November 2021 (released)
26 November 2021
Ricky Merino may have started out as an actor, but he is now also celebrated as a presenter and singer. With his initial fame born out of musical theatre, he reached mainstream acclaim in Spain following his appearance on Operación Triunfo 2017. While he may have finished in 12th place, the 2017 series has proved itself time and again to have been a real bed of talent. With fellow contestants including Agoney, Aitana, Amaia Romero. Roi Mendez, Ana Guerra and Alfred Garcia, it has launched a phenomenal a real who's who of the current Spanish music scene. While Merino may have taken the scenic route to releasing his debut album, it has finally arrived.
Boasting 14 tracks (albeit two versions each of 2019's hit singles Miénteme and A Mi Manera), the album serves as something of a Greatest Hits collection. With 10 singles already under his belt, all but two have made the final cut (his 2017 debut single, Nuestra Isla and the non-Conchita featuring cover of Smalltown Boy). While the album would have benefited from both from a fan perspective, when listening through it feels like a body complete.
Even though a lot of the material isn't fresh, in the context of the album it works. Merino's sound has developed and grown throughout his career, but it all fits together effortlessly. The sound is distinctive to Merino and has appeal both to his home audience, but to the wider industry.
As a presenter on Sing On! Spain and the upcoming Channel 4 series Language of Love, his name on the international circuit is already growing, so it was arguably wise to feature not just the stunning collaboration with Conchita, but a riotous pop anthem in English. Sinner has hit written all over it. With all the key ingredients of a dancier Enrique, it could well see him break out internationally as the new Latino God.
That being said, Ricky sounds best in his mother tongue and there is something still truly show-stealing about Miénteme, although the powerful Ruth Lorenzo collaboration Carnaval comes close to taking the crown as key cut.
While he has returned to musical theatre in Spain, where he is currently appearing in Ghost, he has focussed on bold, brilliant pop for his album. This is an addictive album that truly shines brighter than his contemporaries.