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Latin - Released August 15, 2020 | Sony Music Latin

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Pop - Released October 30, 1992 | Epic

In 1984, Gloria Estefan started off as the lead singer of Miami Sound Machine. By 1987, after scoring four big hits from their first major U.S. album, they became Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine, and by 1989, after even bigger success, it was simply Gloria Estefan. This greatest-hits collection covers the years 1985 to 1992, featuring most of the pop confections that propelled her to the top of the charts and to international stardom. Among the hits included are her three number ones: "Anything for You," "Coming Out of the Dark," and "Don't Wanna Lose You," as well as other Top Ten hits including "Conga," "Words Get in the Way," "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You," "Can't Stay Away from You," "Here We Are," and the single mix of "1-2-3." There are a few glaring omissions, however. "Bad Boy," her second Top Ten hit, was left off, and that is unfortunate because the hit version was a remix of the original album version and is extremely difficult to find on CD. Other omissions include "Dr. Beat," "Falling in Love (Uh-Oh)," "Oye Mi Canto," "Live for Loving You," and "Can't Forget You." To round off the set are four new recordings, including the album's first single, "Always Tomorrow," the Jon Secada-penned "I See Your Smile," the irresistible Latin-flavored dance track "Go Away," and the semi-tepid holiday tune "Christmas Through Your Eyes." This is a good collection from a great artist that could have been a great collection had they included all the hits. © Jose F. Promis /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 14, 2006 | Epic - Legacy

The 2006 release of The Essential Gloria Estefan satisfied a long unmet need for a career-spanning English-language retrospective, one that includes the singer's popular hits with Miami Sound Machine in the mid-'80s as well as her subsequent solo recordings. For years, Estefan fans had few best-of choices to choose from -- the Spanish-language Exitos de Gloria Estefan (1990), the two-volume Greatest Hits series (1992, 2001), and the latter-day Amor y Suerte: Exitos Romanticos collection (2004) -- with no alternatives, not even budget-line knockoffs. The long-overdue release of The Essential Gloria Estefan thankfully resolved this gripe, for it includes the highlights from all aspects of Estefan's varied output, spread generously across two jam-packed discs. (Well, it does exclude her bounty of Spanish-language recordings, the highlights of which can be found on Oye Mi Canto: Los Exitos, an excellent single-disc retrospective released simultaneously. But at least there are some key inclusions here from the excellent Mi Tierra album from 1993 -- a full-length that deserves to be heard in full. Pretty much all the Miami Sound Machine hits are here, beginning with "Dr. Beat," as are all of Estefan's initial solo smashes from Cuts Both Ways (1989) and Into the Light (1991). Some of these songs are featured in their single versions, notably "Bad Boy," "1-2-3," and "Live for Loving You," which is a good call in those cases, because these versions were the ones that became radio hits. There is also a lot of Estefan's post-prime material here, taken from albums like Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me (1994), Destiny (1996), and Gloria! (1998); and there are a few songs previously found only on compilations, most notably the beautiful "I See Your Smile." But the emphasis overall is on Estefan's more popular, earlier material, and rightfully so. The sequencing may be an issue for some, as it splits her songs between a "fast" and "slow" disc -- that is, a disc of dance-pop and one of ballads. It's an appropriate decision, for Estefan's music always did veer back and forth from one extreme to the other. However, the decision to sequence the discs non-chronologically is more troublesome, especially for those who would prefer the Miami Sound Machine material front-loaded in favor of the less well-known latter-day solo recordings. These minor matters aside, The Essential Gloria Estefan is without question the one-stop English-language retrospective that her catalog had been lacking for years. A more succinct single-disc collection (for instance, the Miami Sound Machine-heavy Greatest Hits) may be more suitable for the less committed, but anyone looking for the full package need not look further. That is, unless you want her Spanish-language hits, too, in which case there's the likewise full-package Oye Mi Canto: Los Exitos. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 27, 1993 | Epic - Legacy

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World - Released June 3, 1993 | Epic

Gloria Estefan's first U.S. Spanish-language album, Mi Tierra is one of her most satisfying, and a step above her English-language pop albums. Her voice is extremely well suited for the material, and the result is a breezy, sunny album with moments of melancholy and longing -- in short, one of her most consistent albums to date. Additionally, some of the best-known and most well-respected Latin musicians were employed to further embellish the album. There are plenty of happy upbeat songs on this set, including "Montuno," the anthemic "Mi Tierra," "¡Sí Señor!...," "No Hay Mal Que por Bien No Venga," and "Hablemos el Mismo Idioma," which are all perfect for a summer cocktail pool party. The ballads are among her most compelling, among these "Con los Anos Que Me Quedan," with beautiful lyrics and guitars augmenting the lovely melodies. That song, incidentally, later resurfaced as the English-language "If We Were Lovers," which can be found on her Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 collection. Other ballad highlights include the longing "Mi Buen Amor" and "Volveras." The lyrics, which are included in their English translations, resonate much more in Spanish. This set easily ranks as one of Estefan's best albums, albeit least commercial. True fans of the artist will love this set, which showcases her as much more of an organic talent than her pop songs demonstrate. On "Hablemos el Mismo Idioma" she suggests, "Brother, give me your hand, let's speak the same language," and that language is music. An album such as this deserves to be listened to and appreciated by everyone, Spanish-speaking or not. A true pleasure. © Jose F. Promis /TiVo
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Pop - Released February 6, 2001 | Epic

Gloria Estefan's second volume of greatest hits seems more progressive than her first, considering the techno-leaning sounds of her 1990s hits which dominate this set as compared to the more straight-ahead pop from her 1980s hits. This collection assembles nearly all of her Hot 100 hits since her last Greatest Hits album (only "Don't Let This Moment End" is missing). Most of the songs are included in their original album versions, save for a couple which may be of interest to the collector. "If We Were Lovers," one of her loveliest and classiest ballads, was originally on the Mi Tierra album in its Spanish-language form, titled "Con Los Anos Que Me Quedan." The English version of the song had never been available on any of her albums until now. Also making its first appearance on a Gloria Estefan album is her duet with 'N Sync, "Music of My Heart." "You'll Be Mine (Party Time)" and "I'm Not Giving You Up" are featured in remixed forms which had previously only been available as singles. The real treat, however, are the three new songs, which rank among the singer's best, especially "You Can't Walk Away From Love," a dramatic, sweeping, Middle Eastern-tinged ballad. Also included is an updated remix of her first U.S. hit, "Conga." All in all, this is a fine greatest-hits album, almost superior to her first, with classy ballads, great pop songs, and high-energy dance numbers. © Jose F. Promis /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 2, 1987 | Epic

After years of under-the-radar album releases and a regional following at best, Miami Sound Machine rocketed to mainstream recognition with one song, "Conga." That one song changed everything for the group, especially lead singer Gloria Estefan, who suddenly became a pop star by default. So when it came time to release the follow-up to Primitive Love, the album that had spun off "Conga," the Miami Sound Machine billing was changed to the more marketable "Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine" (and an album later, just Gloria Estefan). Thankfully, the change of billing is the biggest change from Primitive Love to Let It Loose. The unabashed dance-pop remains, most importantly the token romantic ballads and dance songs (the often goofy album filler remains too, of course). If you really want to analyze the albums relative to one another, you'll find that Let It Loose essentially is a rewrite of Primitive Love -- almost song for song, in fact, with a very catchy pop song opening the album, followed by the title track, a romantic ballad, some side-closing filler, a second-side-opening dance song, some filler, another token ballad, and then some more filler to close out the album. But this is precisely why Let It Loose is such a great little album. You see, Primitive Love had been a mid-'80s dance-pop gem as far as mid-'80s dance-pop goes, and Let It Loose is a marked improvement. For instance, the slight misfire of "Body to Body" is now the bull's-eye pop of "Betcha Say That," the pretty-good ballad "Words Get in the Way" is now the really good "Can't Stay Away from You," and so on. The one exception is "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You," which isn't quite on a par with "Conga," but then again, that's raising the bar awfully high. In any event, listeners ate up every spun-off single, all five of them, which was more than enough to drive the album well into the Billboard 200 Top Ten. Its appeal and popularity aside, Let It Loose is all the more special because it marks the end of Miami Sound Machine in name as well as sound. When Estefan would return with Cuts Both Ways in 1989, she'd drastically shift her sound toward adult contemporary, and while that opened up a new and lucrative market for her to tap with much success, it meant the end of goofball filler like "Love Toy" and bubblegum delights like "1-2-3." © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 26, 2006 | Epic - Legacy

Released in the same year as The Essential Gloria Estefan, The Very Best Of is much less comprehensive, but still features 15 U.K. Top 40 hits from Cuba's biggest musical export. One of the most underrated artists of the late '80s, Gloria Estefan -- together with her husband's Miami Sound Machine -- was responsible for some of the most infectious and joyous pop hits of the decade, opening the doors for the likes of Shakira and Jennifer Lopez in the process. Her unique blend of Latin beats and synth-heavy pop on such tracks as "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You," "Conga," and "1-2-3" helped her first two albums Anything for You and Cuts Both Ways, sell a million copies. But her ballads were just as strong, particularly the haunting "Can't Stay Away from You" and the beautiful "Don't Wanna Lose You Now." Her '90s output, however, was more inconsistent. The official theme for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, "Reach," is perhaps her finest moment, a motivational power ballad complete with gospel choir and tribal drums, while the Caribbean-flavored "You'll Be Mine," later sampled in Will Smith's "Miami," is an effortlessly uplifting party track. But there were several ill-advised attempts at high-energy disco-pop, particularly the two tracks from 1998's Gloria!, "Heaven's What I Feel" and "Don't Let This Moment End," and the three straight covers from Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me represent Estefan during her least creative period. With two of her three last albums in Spanish, just two songs from the noughties appear, the world music-inspired title track from 2003's Unwrapped and her biggest chart hit, Mylo's reworking of "Dr. Beat" on "Doctor Pressure," featured here alongside the original. There are a few surprising omissions, notably the Top Ten hit "Christmas Through Your Eyes" and her Oscar-nominated *NSYNC duet "Music of My Heart." But with a track list spanning 20 years and seven albums, The Very Best of Gloria Estefan is still an enjoyable and well-assembled hits collection from the undisputed Queen of Latin Pop. © Jon O'Brien /TiVo
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Pop - Released October 14, 1994 | Epic

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Pop - Released January 29, 1991 | Epic

In early 1990, when she was one of the biggest pop stars in the world, Gloria Estefan suffered a broken vertebrae when her tour bus was struck in an accident, and her miraculous recovery from that near tragedy greatly informed her successive album, Into the Light. Though often noted as a "comeback" album, that descriptor is misleading. Yes, Into the Light is a comeback -- a comeback from her accident, that is. It's not a comeback in the sense that her previous album, Cuts Both Ways, had been a failure or even a disappointment. No, Estefan hadn't fallen off, so to speak, with that album. Quite the opposite. It was a monster hit, breaking into the Top Ten and scoring a couple of high-charting ballads: "Don't Wanna Lose You" and "Here We Are." It also marked a drastic shift away from the unabashed dance-pop of her Miami Sound Machine output toward a more respectable adult contemporary appeal. This shift affected not only her image but also her audience as a result, and that shift is even more apparent on Into the Light. In fact, the shift seems complete, as this is full-fledged adult contemporary album with serious themes and toned-down production. It sounds pleasant while playing, for sure, smoothly gliding from one song to the next, highlighted by a pair of memorable singles: the hit ballad "Coming Out of the Dark" and the cooing singalong "Live for Loving You." But there's not much else here that's all that exciting. In fact, Into the Light is so streamlined and safe that it seems plain and even bland, if not outright boring. Sure, Estefan's work with Miami Sound Machine had been silly and adolescent at times, but it was fun and lively, too. For every cheeseball song like "Surrender" or "Love Toy," you would get a pop gem like "1-2-3" or "Betcha Say That," not to mention the token slow-dance ballads and get-on-your-feet jams. But to lament the end of Miami Sound Machine is beside the point, for Estefan would move on after Into the Light to make occasionally exciting albums like Mi Tierra. The thing is, from this point forward in her career, Estefan's best work would almost always be Latin in nature. Yet for those listeners not interested in the sticky-sweet dance-pop of Miami Sound Machine or the Latin confetti of her latter-day highlights, there are albums like Cuts Both Ways and Into the Light, albums that aim for widespread adult contemporary appeal. And as far as those such albums go, they don't get much more inspired than this "comeback" album, which admittedly was wonderfully triumphant upon its 1991 holiday season release, when it soared to number five on the Billboard 200 chart, driven largely by its chart-topping lead single, "Coming Out of the Dark." © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Pop - Released August 6, 2007 | Burgundy Records

Ever since Gloria Estefan split from Miami Sound Machine in 1989 to go solo, her best efforts tended to be her Spanish-language ones, and her fourth such album, 90 Millas, is no exception. In fact, it might be her best overall effort -- regardless of language -- since Mi Tierra (1993), which was her first to be sung entirely in Spanish and an instant, best-selling classic. In a couple ways, 90 Millas is a follow-up to Mi Tierra. Both are heartfelt albums inspired by Cuba and Cuban music -- whereas Abriendo Puertas (1995) and Alma Caribeña (2000), Estefan's other two prior Spanish-language efforts, were more broadly Hispanic and Caribbean, respectively, in their influences and intent -- and both 90 Millas and Mi Tierra are graced by some of Latin music's most gifted instrumentalists, many of them legends. In this case, the featured guests include Papo Lucca, Johnny Pacheco, Candido Camero, Paquito d'Rivera, Nelson González, Andy García, Sheila E, Carlos Santana, Orestes Vilato, Israel "Cachao" López, Generoso Jiménez, Giovanni Hidalgo, India, José Feliciano, Arturo Sandoval, Sal Cuevas, and Luis Enrique. It's an impressive lineup of musicians; for instance, the album's lead single, "No Llores," alone boasts Carlos Santana on electric guitar, José Feliciano on acoustic guitar, Sal Cuevas on bass, Sheila E. on timbales, and Luis Enrique on congos and bongos. That's not all, though. 90 Millas also boasts an ace production and songwriting team: husband/impresario Emilio Estefan (of course) and the Gaitán Bros. (Ricardo and Alberto). Then there's Gloria herself, who is the vehicle for this superstar project. She's in good voice here -- as well-mannered and graceful as usual -- and co-writes many of the songs. Yet it's the musicianship and the songs themselves, surprisingly few of them ballads, that shine brightest here on this love letter to Cuba, that oft-romanticized, and fiercely politicized, island 90 miles off the coast of Florida. Though born there, Gloria left as a child. In her heart, however, she never left her homeland behind, as this album and its predecessor, Mi Tierra, make clear, for both albums are among the best -- and certainly most poetic and impassioned -- efforts of her long, illustrious career. Practically every song here is a gem, and they're a rarity in 2007, a year in which traditional Cuban music like this couldn't have been further away from the mainstream of Latin music in America, where regional Mexican and urban dominated the marketplace. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Pop - Released July 11, 1989 | Epic

Leveraging the runaway success of her previous album, Let It Loose, Gloria Estefan furthered her indulgence in spare, moody love ballads and club-ready dance-pop jams for Cuts Both Ways and scored herself another Top Ten album. The transformation of Gloria Estefan the lead singer of Miami Sound Machine to Gloria Estefan the pop star is complete here. While Let It Loose had been the first Miami Sound Machine album to co-bill Estefan (that is, "Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine"), Cuts Both Ways is billed simply to the star herself. And it plays that way, too, with a heavy reliance on Gloria-spotlighting ballads -- roughly half the album, discounting the album-ending Spanish-language versions. Miami Sound Machine's patented Latin dance-lite style is sidelined a bit, for better and for worse. Sure, "Ay, Ay, I," "Say," "Oy Mi Canto," and "Get on Your Feet" are all club-ready with their big late-'80s synth-drum patterns, but only "Get on Your Feet" comes close to matching the majesty of past club hits like "Conga," "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You," and "1-2-3." And more tellingly, there aren't any straight pop songs here like "Bad Boy" or "Betcha Say That." Cuts Both Ways goes only both ways -- either ballad or jam -- which makes for a very up-and-down listening experience as the tempos alternate drastically from one song to the next. All this over-analysis aside, there are some super songs here, namely "Here We Are," "Say," "Oy Mi Canto," "Don't Wanna Lose You," and "Get on Your Feet." That's a lot of super-ness for one album, even if on the whole Cuts Both Ways seems overly calculated and sadly foreshadows the audience displacement that Estefan would experience in subsequent years as she drifted even further away from the unabashed Miami Sound Machine-style dance-pop of yesteryear. Even so, Cuts Both Ways is one of her best and, without question, was one of her most successful, clear affirmation that Estefan had indeed become one of the biggest pop stars in the whole wide world as the '80s came to a close. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 22, 2003 | Epic

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Pop - Released September 10, 2013 | Sony Music Latin

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World - Released August 30, 1995 | Epic

Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors) is Gloria Estefan's second Spanish-language album released in the U.S. Abriendo Puertas is about opening doors to the myriad Latin American cultures; therefore, this album features several different Latin styles of music from different parts of the world, including Venezuela, Cuba, Colombia, and the Caribbean. The music combines salsas, merengues, boleros, Afro-Cuban rhythms and chants, and other styles, resulting in a varied, sunny, and delightful album. This set differs from her other Spanish albums because at least half the songs are holiday tunes, with ample reference to Christmas and the New Year (the ballad "Mas Alla" even has Christmas bells in the background). In Latin America, Christmas is in summer, and so, in essence, this is a summer holiday album, which is quite an unusual concept for North American audiences. The songs are naturally positive, with well-meaning wishes for the New Year being a concurrent theme throughout the album. Estefan, as is always the case on her Spanish albums, sounds completely at ease with the material. The music on this album is traditional; therefore, there are no true American-style pop or club/dance songs, which is fine because the album should be taken and enjoyed for what it is -- a bright, multicultural Latin American semi-holiday album. © Jose F. Promis /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 3, 1996 | Epic

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Latin - Released June 14, 2020 | Sony Music Latin

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Pop - Released September 16, 1990 | Sony Music Media

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Latin - Released September 4, 2015 | Sony Music Latin

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Pop - Released April 24, 1998 | Epic

After spending some time exploring her Cuban roots and traditional pop, Gloria Estefan returned to straight-up dance-pop with the infectious Gloria! With its percolating disco beats and sunny melodies, the record recalls her glory days of the late '80s, but there is a stronger Latin rhythmic underpinning, which gives the music depth. Some of the songs themselves are slight, but most of them rank among her best uptempo songs and ballads, especially since her singing is better than ever. In fact, Gloria! proves that some dance-pop divas can get better -- and more adventurous -- with age. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo