NEW YORK (AP) — Romeo Santos would rather let his fans figure out what he and Julio Iglesias are singing about in their duet, "El Amigo," included in his new album, "Golden."

"To me, this is one of my most genius records because you don't get it the first time. It is put together in such a subliminal way," the auto-proclaimed King of Bachata said in a recent interview.

"Golden," which is being released Friday, is Santos' third solo album post-Aventura, the band that made him famous. It has 18 tracks, including two directed at the "haters," Santos said, as well as collaborations with other Latin stars such as Juan Luis Guerra, in "Carmin," and Nicky Jam and Daddy Yankee in "Bella y Sensual."

Santos said he hopes the album will connect with a varied and broad audience.

Working with Iglesias, he said, was a huge honor. "I mean, what can I say? ... This is our Frank Sinatra ... he is a legend."

In an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press, he recalled how he was asked to participate in Iglesias' duets album. Santos told Iglesias he'd love to do so, but he had a better idea: inviting him to record a new song for "Golden." He recorded "El Amigo" without referring to its subliminal message.

Santos said Iglesias got it and called a few days later to tell him that he was a genius. "I had a lot of fun working on that song," he said.

"Golden" combines the Bachata from the Dominican Republic with international rhythms and boasts sensuality across its lyrics. It has an homage to Puerto Rico's Jibaro music; a story of infidelity narrated in two songs, one from the perspective of the lover and the other from the perspective of the husband; an irreverent duet with Jessie Reyes; and a song with emotional advice from a father to a daughter who is dating the wrong guy.

Santos, who is of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent, offers different hues of his emblematic high-pitched voice and mixes Spanish with English in many of the tracks.

"It's probably by far my most complete production yet," he said. The album comes out with a second single at the top of Billboard's Latin Airplay: "Imitadora."

The first single, "Heroe Favorito," was No. 1 until Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's megahit "Despacito" took the spot and maintained it for 19 consecutive weeks.

"It's a blessing, you know, when I read these titles. 'Despacito' is phenomenal; you can't really chase that type of success. I'm a huge fan of the record, the original, and then when the remix came out I said, 'Oh my god, it just got greater!' So to me it's just an honor to be able to position my second single No. 1 as well," Santos said a few hours after unveiling his wax figure at Manhattan's Madame Tussauds on Wednesday.

He got to work with Daddy Yankee — and Jam — on the track "Bella y sensual", something he said people were demanding from him for many years.

"You know, the last Reggaeton I did was ... 'Noche de sexo' (a song released in 2006 by Wisin & Yandel, featuring Santos), so I thought it was time. I flew out to Puerto Rico to record with Yankee, I recorded with Nicky in Miami and it was a great experience. I reached out to them with a certain level of respect already ... but when I left each session, I left with a higher level of respect and wow," he said, "these guys are amazing."

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