Gloria Estefan Week: ‘Miss Little Havana,’ Song-By-Song

As part of ‘Gloria Estefan Week’ here at LATINA, we decided to do a song-by-song breakdown of her new dance album, Miss Little Havana, out September 27 (hard copy at Target, digital copy through iTunes). We went out and bought the album’s Target edition because we loved the album art by Cuban American artist LEBO so much!

Check out our unique take on Glorita’s latest offering (the Target version) below:

“Miss Little Havana”
A great way to start the album’s narrative. As much as this album is about the Miss Little Havana character, it’s also a look at Miami through the years. Here we flash back to the freestyle era as interpreted by the album’s producer Pharrell (whom we’ll refer to as P) and Gloria.

“I Can’t Believe”
Hot like the summers in Cuba! Love that P injected this with some carnival-esque bells and whistles. Gloria sprinkles some Spanish on the second verse. 

As much as G stepped into P’s magical world, the reverse is also true. This song is proof of that, as Gloria convinced P to use live percussion as opposed to his usual synthesizers. Long live the congas!

The album’s first single, released this past summer to generate buzz. It’s like merengue on speed and we love it! The perfect song to start your workout. Can’t wait for the video, featuring some hard-core street dancing. 

“Say Ay”
Love the horns here. “What the hell is goin’ on/What’s been taking so long?” That’s what hard-core Glo-heads were wondering about the coming of Gloria’s next dance album. 

“So Good”
Again, loving the live horns. This one's got a little cumbia vibe to it and the lyrics are sparse, letting the music speak for itself. 

“Right Away”
Emily and Nayib’s (Gloria’s kids’) favorite song on the album because, as Gloria says, “it goes from very sweet to very nasty!” It’s an ode to disco music, a strong influence in her music through the years. P comes in hard toward the end with the drums and does some fun adlibbing. Gloria finishes it off with a couple of verses of an old Cuban conga. 

“Make Me Say Yes”
The disco groove continues. 

“Time is Ticking”
The album’s sole ballad, backed by a nice acoustic guitar. Gloria flexes that beautiful contralto of hers. Nostalgia is another element ever-present in Gloria’s music, primarily for her homeland of Cuba but here she also reminisces on her life, career, and the simple things, like the “smell of my dad’s cologne” and Abuela’s sage advice. 

“Hotel Nacional”
For the Target version, which has bonus tracks and downloadable content, P steps out as producer, making way for Don Emilio to enter, armed with his stable of dance pros. This is in the running for fave track on the album because it’s just such a sexy little dance track—similar to “Bon Bon,” which Pitbull gifted us last year. We can even picture the napkins falling and the smoke machines blowing at Miami’s hottest gay clubs. You didn’t know Gloria spoke French, did ya? 

This is our current fave. It’s got frenetic African drums and a strong world music vibe, courtesy of Haitian artist Black Dada, who raps toward the end. Is that Santana on the guitar? No, it’s Glo’s pride and joy, Emily! According to Gloria, she’s the best musician in the family. We suggest listening to this one on your headphones for a fuller experience. 

“Make My Heart Go”
Un merenguito bien sabroso. Gloria has some fun with Dominican artist El Cata (who blew up after guesting on Shakira’s “Loca”). Love the line “Haremos mil locuras/apaguemos la luna.” D.R. in the house! 

Just what the world needs right now. That Gloria made such a perfect, ethereal dance track—sort of what you’d hear at about 5 a.m. in Ibiza—will surprise many, but that’s exactly what she does with this one. She also experiments vocally. It’s like ecstasy—only legal! 

“Wepa” (R3hab remix featuring Pitbull)
Pit and Gloria (“Miami’s finest and Cuba’s princess”) team up again for one of the 1,000 remixes of “Wepa.” As we witnessed in 2007 with “No Llores,” these two are a match made in heaven. Somewhere, Celia is smiling. 

“Let’s Get Loud”
Originally a song Gloria wrote for herself, she generously gifted it to a then up-and-comer named Jennifer Lopez for J.Lo’s debut album, On The 6. Love how she takes it back to the mambo. Cachao would be proud.