Dreaming Of You

Selena

EMI Latin Records, 1995

REVIEW BY: JB

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/17/1997

The death of this popular Tejano singer left many questions, but the one I'm most interested is: could she have done it? Could she have cut up the non-Latin charts without the wide-spread publicity of her death? It's easy to say Dreaming Of You was a fluke just as it's easy to say it was inevitable.

There are some obvious signs of superstardom; an original song written by Diane Warren (not one of Warren's more lyrical ones, however), the inevitable showcase ballads and of course the most obvious one: Trey Lorenz in the background of the first track. "I Could Fall In Love" is pop with a refreshing Tejano lacing, proving Amy Tan's words that "it's hip to be ethnic."bim_ad_daily_vault_print_250

All of the English tracks are ballads either classic or midtempo, which again promotes monotony. A surprising and painful flaw at the end of "Captive Heart" shows that she is making a mistake many popular singers today are making; exerting too much throat is a one-way ticket to voice destruction. The flaw is never heard again, but an uncertainty lingers in the listener's mind.

Once you get over the English tracks, the Spanish tracks begin. Half of the songs have her singing in Spanish and many of them were written-produced by her father/manager which kills a lot of diversity and makes the sound wear out quicker, but not without making some statements first.

"Amor Prohibido" is a seamless track and reading the lyrics, makes me wonder about her father; they go something like "who cares what your mom and dad will say / here the only thing that matters is our love". It shows that Mr. Quintanilla is a professional, albeit over-influential.

The most impressive track on the entire album is "El Toro Relajo", which switches conventional man-woman roles and has Selena singing as a toreador (wait; isn't that a type of vampire? Just in case, I mean "toreador" as in bull-tamer). "Look out, here comes a crazy bull / he is crazy / hide behind the fence, my love / he is coming fast". The track is short, amusing, and dedicated.

Due to a shameful lack of knowledge of Tejano terminology, I shall call the more upbeat tracks "dance tracks." A track that utilizes the rythmic nature of Spanish, namely "Techno Cumbia" is a little underproduced in a bad way but Selena compensates the lack of background beautifully. The other dance tracks share this underproduced quality but even Selena's fill-in technique could only be used once.

Despite the bilingual material, Dreaming Of You has a problem with coherence (too much of it) and although Selena does her best with the material she has, she needed to hook up with a producer who can bring her ambiguity to full potential. Such producers are rare, true, but such producers are a prerequisite for divadom and it has been done before. The sad thing, however, is that the point is null; and one can only wonder.

Rating: B

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© 1997 JB and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of EMI Latin Records, and is used for informational purposes only.