Gloria!

Gloria Estefan

Sony Music, 1998

http://www.gloriaestefan.com

REVIEW BY: Alfredo Narvaez

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/02/1999

Following her album Destiny (which saw her reign as one of the queens of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics) Gloria Estefan decided to draw back from the subtle, acoustic side and return to her "diva" place. This album marks that return. Particularly, there's a very and definite 70s vibe to Gloria! that has become popular with many other singers and "divas." (I find that term to be both amusing and annoying, don't you?)

The album starts with the flamboyant "Heaven's What I Feel." Here she sings about loving someone - even though they're both in full-time relationships (Emilio, should you start worrying?) The song is pretty enough to be liked by teenage girls and danceable enough that older ladies will instantly recognize and like its vibe. As a matter of fact, that kind of attitude pops in other tracks. "Don't Stop" and "I Just Wanna Be Happy" are two other songs that are easy to like, but won't annoy you. They are sugary, but not to the point of fattening.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Another thing I've always liked about the Estefans is their desire to always mix in the sounds of the Raza. (It's OK for me to say it - I'm a card-carrying member, ;-) ). Partly, it is because a large percentage of her fan base is Hispanic, that's true. However, she does not shy away from putting music that often times is ignored by the music fans here in the U.S. Here, she sings "Oye" in Spanish - I have yet to see Celine add a French song to her big English albums. On the other hand, "Cuba Libre" sings about the feelings many of the expatriates of that island feel - hoping for a day that they'll be able to return home.

I don't, unfortunately, agree with a few calls. I know that Wyclef Jean is an incredible musician. But his contribution to "Don't Release Me" doesn't sit well with me. On one hand, that song tries to be a syrupy ballad, a club number and a rap song. Stick to one direction! On the other, Wyclef raps about meeting Gloria at a club - which would be fine in a full-on rap number between them both. But here it feels like they did separate pieces and tacked them later on.

My second gripe goes to the number of remixes found at the end of the album. I don't mind one or two, but five?! That's why there's singles - you tack them onto those. I think I stated this on the Shania Twain review, but I'm not a big fan of artists adding 20 songs on one CD if there's nothing relevant to say or do in each song. This drags down a CD. At the very least, they were smart to add these remixes at the end of the CD - where, if you don't want to listen, you can stop the album.

However, these two gripes at least don't bother me that much. When the album is good, it is. "Real Woman" is at least amusing and then there's those small songs that guys play to girls around February 13th I think. "Don't Let This Moment End" is very pretty and so is "Touched By An Angel." (Better than the TV show I'd say!) They feel like they belong at a junior or senior prom--right before the BIG number.

Gloria! should cement Mrs. Estefan's place as a Club Goddess. She is showing to the upcoming "divas" that they don't have to appeal to the "Under-17" group only. There can be club and rave tracks and they can appeal to more than just its targeted group audience. A fine record.

Rating: B+

User Rating: B+


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© 1999 Alfredo Narvaez and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sony Music, and is used for informational purposes only.