Picks and Pans Review: Gloria!

updated 06/08/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/08/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Gloria Estefan (Epic)

Abandoning the crowded diva field to Celine, Mariah and others, Estefan ignores the ballads that have been her strength and turns the beat around to her mid-80s Miami Sound Machine days with this collection of lusty, Cuban-flavored disco and dance-party tunes. Sounding giddy over love and the libido, Estefan, 40, is helped here by big, big production numbers complete with strings, horns and a hallelujah chorus. Produced by her husband and Miami Sound Machine founder Emilio Estefan Jr., the disc brims with more than 70 minutes of music, including remixed versions of five of the CD's first 11 tracks. Odd as it may seem to include dance remixes of dance tunes, Fugees rapper Wyclef Jean's playful reworking of "Don't Release Me" is a delightful blend of Haitian hip hop and Cuban salsa. One suggestion: lose the drum machine. While it does no harm to dancing feet, it hurts the head.

Bottom Line: Sexy Miami club music that deserves a big olé

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