Into The Light

Gloria Estefan

Epic, 1991

REVIEW BY: Mark Millan


1987’s Let It Loose was the breakthrough album that the Miami Sound Machine had hoped it would be. Prior to that release, they had only enjoyed some limited chart success with a couple of dance pop gems in “Conga” and “Dr. Beat.” With Let It Loose, though, not only had they secured a hit album and singles, but it also became apparent that the star of this show was their beautiful leader Gloria Estefan. Her songs were the hits and it was she who starred in their videos, which held their own against the likes of Madonna’s and Cyndi Lauper’s, to name a couple.

The follow-up disc, 1989’s Cuts Both Ways, hit the ground running, and spurred on again by Gloria’s love songs, it became her biggest selling album and cemented her place as one of the most bankable pop stars of the day. The title track, “Here We Are,” “Don’t Wanna Lose You,” and the bouncy “Get On Your Feet” were all big hits, but as Gloria and the MSM hit the road for a U.S. tour, their luck was seemingly about to run out.

On a cold and snowy day in March of 1990, the Estefan’s tour bus was rear-ended by a speeding semi-trailer. Gloria, who was asleep at the back of the bus at the time, was thrown through to the cabin and suffered some major injuries to her spine and neck. Doctors feared she would never walk again, let alone perform, but the ever-determined Gloria had other ideas, and after almost a year of surgeries and rehabilitation, she miraculously completed the tour.  my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

For her next release, Gloria had all the inspiration she needed as far as the lyrical content went.  But after moving away from her Latin roots with the mainstream pop sound of Cuts Both Ways, Estefan decided to continue down that path; however, that is the very thing that makes Into The Light a letdown when compared to her best works. This album hasn’t aged well, and apart from a couple of nice moments, this is probably her most forgettable effort to date. It is just too slick and polished, and at fourteen songs, it is way too long for a pop release.

The only real hits from this record were the so-so pop-rocker “Seal Our Fate,” the sweet “Live For Loving You,” and the autobiographical cut “Coming Out Of The Dark.” The latter (written about the accident and her recovery) was another smash hit for Estefan, but this album really moved because everyone loves a “comeback” and Gloria had mustered the comeback to beat all comebacks. Elsewhere, though, Into The Light is just very bland and very generic with overly sentimental, mid-tempo pop songs like “What Goes Around” and “Heart With Your Name On It.” 

Slightly more lively, tracks like “Sex In The 90’s” and “Light Of Love” inject some much-needed energy into the album, but they’re as forgettable as anything Gloria has ever recorded to date. The only other moment worth a mention is the song Gloria wrote for her son, “Nayib’s Song (I Am Here For You).” Gloria is a wonderful, introspective writer when she wants to be, but this is one of her weaker efforts (although that is largely due to the generic arrangement rather than to the lyrics).

Overall, Into The Light is for the diehards only, and while I’m a massive fan of Gloria’s, I really can’t stand this album much at all. Its best tracks are readily available on several compilations, which virtually renders this disc irrelevant.

Rating: C-

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