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Music Review: Gloria Estefan – Miss Little Havana

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Gloria Estefan’s first English-language album targeted at the pop market since 2003’s Unwrapped, Miss Little Havana is the singer’s most energetic and youthful set in quite some time. Like 1998’s all-dance opus Gloria!, Havana gets its fuel from a searing lineup of rump-shaking ditties. Add to that formula deeper hooks and an contagious swarm of Latin and tropical influences, which are  melded effortlessly into a funky club-pop potpourri courtesy of producer Pharrell Williams, and the result is even more infectious.

With a deeper tone to her delivery than previous efforts, Estefan approaches the Miss Little Havana CDnew material with a renewed zest and vigor. Trumpets, trombones, and zinging Latin percussion provide the backdrop for her characteristically matter-of-fact yet engaging storytelling. The title cut finds her stylishly conveying Williams’ tale of a down-and-out teenager who survives by keeping her head in the clouds. Meanwhile, she coyly characterizes the restlessness of resisting the charms of a taken pursuer on “Make Me Say Yes.”

Room is made for only a couple of low-key moments, keeping the dancefloor momentum strong throughout with touches of disco, hip-hop, and salsa. Furthering that premise, Target stores’ exclusive CD edition includes a remix of the single “Wepa” featuring Pitbull; a remake of “Let’s Get Loud,” the 2000 hit which Estefan co-penned for Jennifer Lopez; and a vibrant reconstruction of Miami Sound Machine’s defining anthem, “Conga.” All in all, it’s a welcome return to the party that will likely please fans young and old.

 

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About Justin Kantor

Justin Kantor is a music journalist with a passion for in-depth artist interviews and reviews. Most of his interviews for Blogcritics can be heard on his Blog Talk Radio program, "Rhythmic Talk." Justin's work has been published in Wax Poetics, The All-Music Guide, and SoulMusic.com. A graduate of Berklee College of Music's Music Business and Management program, he honed his writing chops as a teenager—publishing "The Hip Key" magazine from 1992-1996. The publication, which was created out of his childhood home in Virginia Beach, reached a circulation of 10,000 by the time he was 16. At Berklee, Justin continued to perfect his craft with a series of 'Underrated Soul' features for The Groove from 1997-2003. This led to a companion TV show on Manhattan Neighborhood Network in 2002, as well as writing for the national Dance Music Authority (DMA). A self-described "obscure pop, dance, and R&B junkie," Justin also has penned liner notes for reissue labels such as Edsel Records and FunkyTownGrooves. He's excited to be a part of the BlogCritics team and indulge his musical fancies even further. Connect with him at his Facebook page, or via krystolfan@gmail.com.
  • Jon

    I’d like this music

  • luvpink

    OMG…I love her new album. I am African American but very much like and interested in the Latino culture. My first time hearing “Wepa” made me dance and eager to get the album.