It's only been since the emergence of Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, and scores of other Latin pop superstars that Estefan's importance as a trailblazer in the genre has been recognized. THE ESSENTIAL GLORIA ESTEFAN is a testament to her achievement. This two-disc set provides a valuable service in that it is the first comprehensive collection to draw from all points in the singer's career, reaching back to the early '80s with the Miami Sound Machine, and continuing through her adult contemporary recordings of the 2000s.
The two discs are divided by style: the first brings together Estefan's high-energy dance pop hits, the second focuses on her ballads. Naturally, the first disc highlights the Miami Sound Machine material, while disc two culls more from '90s albums like INTO THE LIGHT and DESTINY. Fans of Estefan's Spanish-language recordings won't find them here (they should seek out OYE MI CANTO: LOS EXITOS), but otherwise it's hard to find fault with the excellently assembled collection.