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Dig These Discs :: Gloria Estefan, Erasure, Melissa Errico, Katrina

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Friday Oct 21, 2011

Fall is upon us, and there's no better time to get those leather pants out of storage and hit the club. Because when the DJ drops these new tracks, it's going to rock your Saturday night! And when Sunday rolls around, count on the soothing sounds of Erasure and Melissa Errico to work out all those kinks.

"Miss Little Havana" (Gloria Estefan)

The Queen of Latin Pop is back with her first new English language album in eight years, and her white-hot Dominican meringue-styled single "Wepa" is set to take the clubs by storm. With her collaborator and producer Pharrell Williams, Estefan returns to the Latin sound that made her famous. The title track is a catchy but sad tune about a 17-year-old "oprimido" who moves to the big city searching fame, but finding heartache. "Say Ay" showcases the bilingual Miami sound that made Estefan a crossover hit. "Heat" drops a drum-laden Cuban beat that will bring a shimmy to your shoulders, as Estefan sings, "Hot like the summers in Cuba." And "Hotel Nacional", featuring Estefan singing in French and rhyming Susan Lucci with Kristi Yamaguchi, is both hilarious and infectious, forcing your feet to jitterbug. Estefan even revisits her old tune "Let’s Get Loud", which was a global hit for J Lo. It may have been some time in the coming, but with the drop of "Little Miss Havana", Estefan shows us she was well worth the wait. (Crescent Moon Records/Verve Forecast)

"In The Blink Of An Eye" (Katrina)

Katrina has a fine voice, with haunted lyrics that, while not very original, are certainly heartfelt. "Isn’t it amazing that love made me blind" she sings in "Shame on Me". Her "If Only" has the sound and regret of the hit "Free Falling," but with a sophomoric patina that Tom Petty and his ilk would never abide. Her "Closet Full of Love" has almost a country twang to it, albeit pop-kissed. She presents a stronger showing in "NeverTowne", a tune with a bit more patter and sass, reminiscent of a young Sheryl Crowe. In "Lost in the Hollywood Hills", Katrina goes full Miley Cyrus. One can almost envision the comic shopping-spree montage that could serve as the backdrop for this throwaway tune. Her "Krazy Kisses" seizes on more of an R&B feel, the better to showcase her vocal chops. The kisses end in the next song, "Hey It’s Over", in which she tells her beloved to pack up his beer bong and flat screen and hit the road. As an artist, Katrina is not without talent. But barring a swift departure from the oeuvre of bubble-gum pop, it is hard to see much of a future for this promising young artist. (Red Red Records)

"Tomorrow’s World" (Erasure)

What is it about Erasure that sends one straight back to ’90s nostalgia? In this ever-changing world, you can always count on Erasure to provide the soundtrack to a lifetime of sad, happy, regretful rom-com moments. And their new nine-song release, "Tomorrow’s World", doesn’t stray far from their tried-and-true formula. The duo of Vince Clark and Andy Bell will surely find success with this, their 14th studio album. Among the top hits are "When I Start To (Break It All Down)", a catchy tune with the urgency of an ’80s-era John Hughes soundtrack. With the plaintiff lyrics, "What did I do, did I deserve it?" the sense of love and loss is palpable. The dance floor may give some action to hits like the opening track, "Be With You" with its poppy chorus, and "Fill Us With Fire", with the haunting lyrics, "We only dream in black and white/ blind to the beautiful ones/ We all want to touch the sun." The obligatory break-up anthem, "What Will I Say When You’re Gone" comes with a poppy synth break; the brooding ends with the closing track, "Just When I thought It Was Ending", in which Bell sings, "It’s just a matter of time/ only time will heal you." There is nothing terribly groundbreaking here, but "Tomorrow’s World" serves to cement Erasure’s reputation as an outfit whose solid songs you can always count upon. (Mute Records)

"Legrand Affair" (Melissa Errico)

Holy standards! Straight from the Broadway boards to your drawing room, Errico’s soaring, elegant voice on her new album, "Legrand Affair" is nothing less than enchantment. Her reputation as a beguiling chanteuse is well deserved, from her role as Cosette in "Les Mis" at the tender age of 18 to co-starring with Alec Baldwin in last summer’s "Gift of the Gorgon". Errico brings full-bodied passion to hits like "I Was Born in Love With You," her crisp notes and lush composition evoking legends like Joni Mitchell. The accompaniment of a 100-piece orchestra from Brussels doesn’t hurt any. And never were a maraca and jingle bells put to better use than in "His Eyes, Her Eyes", a tale of the delicate cat-and-mouse game of seduction. It may be sacrilege to say so, but Errico channels Streisand herself in "The Windmills of Your Mind", capturing the intensity of love, loss, and memory like Dusty Springfield never could. "I Will Wait For You" and "In Another Life" are fine pieces, and "You Must Believe in Spring" paint a lush, pastoral landscape, as Errico sings, "Beneath the deepest snows, the secret of a rose/ is it knows, you must believe in spring." Errico gives the total Idina Menzel on "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" a wholly Broadway sound, and keeps things sweet with "Maybe Someone Dreamed Us", a story of the perfect pair. Six years in the making, this thrilling, expansive, 15-song release is destined to become nothing less than epic. (Ghostlight Records)

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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