Picks and Pans Review: Dreaming of You

updated 07/31/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/31/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT


Compounding the tragedy of Selena's murder in March is the fact that the 23-year-old Tejano singer was at a critical juncture in her career—bidding to cross over from regional success in the Latino market to mainstream pop appeal. In view of the incomplete evidence here—four selections from what would have been her first English-language album fleshed out with some of her biggest Spanish hits—it appears that Selena was destined to make a significant impact on the Top 40.

On the shimmering ballad "I Could Fall in Love," the Texas native exhibited a luminous romanticism, comparable to Gloria Estefan's. But it is apparent from the funkier, up-tempo material, like "Captive Heart" and "I'm Getting Used to You," that Selena also had a quality Estefan never explores: a husky carnality reminiscent of Taylor Dayne.

The most impressive aspect of the new material is the startling stylistic growth it reflects. The radio-ready arrangements are markedly smoother and more sophisticated than anything Selena had recorded before, worlds away from the accordion-heavy conjunto music with which she first gained attention. Her voice had also gained subtlety and shading, improving considerably from the florid passion of her earlier efforts. Sadly, we will never know just how remarkable her metamorphosis might have been. (EMI Latin/EMI)

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