CD Review: Martika – Martika’s Kitchen (Reheated Edition)

Martika’s Kitchen was the 1991 second album for Latin pop singer Martika. The album featuring no less than four song writing collaborations with Prince was the follow up album to her 1988 self-titled debut.

Martika had already shown a degree of depth and maturity with her debut single, Toy Soldiers in 1989. The Latin Pop vibe became more prominent with hits More Than You Know, Water and her cover of Carole King’s I Feel the Earth Move.

Her second album therefore took a different turn, returning to the more mature overtones that Toy Soldiers  delivered but retaining the dance element with a more sophisticated edge.

27 years on from its original release, Cherry Pop’s reissue of Martika’s Kitchen has all the warmth and vibrancy of its original release. Prominent are Prince’s contributions to the release, where it appears he may have had a little more involvement beyond the songwriting process.

The albums big hit, Love Thy Will Be Done, is still every inch a strong ballad combining beautiful instrumentation with Martika’s almost prayerful but empowered vocal delivery.

 The album’s title track, Martika’s Kitchen, Don’t Say U Love Me and the experimental sound of Spirit (does anybody notice a teasing riff similar to Madonna’s Vogue here) all display further production from Prince and its clear the pairs collaboration worked well beyond a one-off song.

Listeners could almost be forgiven for thinking that two further tracks, A Magical Place and Broken Heart also had input from Prince, especially with the catchy vocal refrain that embeds itself into the latter’s melody, but the jury is still out on those!

Making up the rest of Martika’s Kitchen are the poppy Coloured Kisses (released at the time in the UK on red vinyl for Valentines Day) and the single’s superior flip Pride & Prejudice. There are also strong ballads, Take Me to Forever and Safe In The Arms Of Love and the Latin flavoured pop of Temptation and Mi Tierra.

There was much to love about Martika’s sophomore release and its confusing why it sank so quickly after peaking at 111 in the Billboard charts. It fared better here in the UK reaching No,15, although probably because a lot of the dance vibes it favoured were popular from artists such as Madonna and the UK’s own Cathy Dennis.

The expanded release featuring the original Martika’s Kitchen album alongside a bonus disc of remixes from Martika’s singles Love Thy Will Be Done, Martika’s Kitchen and Coloured Kisses, are therefore timely and display a strong body of work from both Martika as an artist but also as a collaborator with one of pop music’s greatest innovators, Prince.

 If you missed it first time round, make sure you find time to visit Martika’s Kitchen now!

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