By Ken Tucker
Updated September 27, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Latin singer who deserves to move more CDs than Ricky Martin offers his first English-language disc — the self-titled Marc Anthony — making an exceedingly smooth, beguiling transition. The conversational phrasing and subtleness of Anthony’s beats give his swirling ballads purpose and direction, and ”I Need to Know” and ”You’ve Been Good to Me” display the artist’s most effective approaches to hip-shaking, upbeat material.

There are a few too many baby-you’re-the-greatest banalities, but griping about a man who reveres women in the current rock climate seems churlish, so let’s congratulate Anthony for livin’ la vida apasionada.