Oh my. This is tough. It’s clear that “The Best Thing About Me is You,” the new single and video from Ricky Martin is a deeply personal statement for him since coming out last March. It offers a clear, heartwarming message about inclusion that, quite frankly, in these divisive times, can never be stressed enough.
It’s a relentlessly earnest and upbeat song and clip. The simple video, shot primarily against a white or black background often with equality scribblings in a black marker, features people of all different races, religions (there’s a woman in an abaya) and sexual orientation. Of course, the unifying feature is that they’re all stunningly gorgeous and straight from a modeling agency. (He could have stood to have thrown some normal-looking people in there, I’m just saying...no one could ever possibly object to a world populated by such staggering pretty people, no matter what their political, sexual or religious persuasion).
The video opens like an Amnesty International promo clip. Martin, arms crossed, is silenced by a piece of tape over his mouth (on which is written “You=Me”) as images of different people—a gay couple, a Muslim and Westerner, a young girl, a very pregnant woman stroking her belly—swirl by and a portentous voiceover says “Love/Equality/Justice/Innocence/Freedom.” If there was ever a well-intentioned clip, this is it. By the end, the multitudes are all together, gently swaying back and forth with Martin. And it bores me to tears. Plus, where's Joss Stone, who sings on the track?
[More after the jump...]
Part of the problem is the song, written by the tremendously talented Desmond Child. It's boring and sounds like a watered-down Jack Johnson or Jason Mraz track (especially when Martin sings the word, “Remedy,” the title of one of Mraz’s biggest hits). Lyrically, it’s an odd mix about grabbing life with both hands and don’t take any of it too seriously, combined with a love song that you’re the best part of me. It’s all about self-acceptance, but with a bit of a twist. At first, given a few images of a baby, I thought it was about Martin’s kids, but one of the verses about being an adult and partying all night threw that out the window. If I'm good enough shouldn't the best thing about me be me, not you? Oy, I think I’m thinking about it way too hard.
And that’s the issue. Martin is very entitled to make a statement, and this one comes with an easy to swallow, lilting melody. It feels so true to him and none of us should expect him to have to keep shaking his bon bon and grabbing La Vida Loca all these years down the road, but is it so wrong to wish that he would?
Martin's new album, "Music Almo Sexo," comes out Feb. 1.