Gloria Estefan – Coming Out of the Dark

First Hit #1: March 30, 1991

I think I’ve been unduly harsh on Gloria Estefan’s ballads. Alright, fine, I like her upbeat dance numbers better, but to her credit she doesn’t over-embellish, and the surprisingly minimal arrangements she uses could teach a lesson to certain big-voiced divas. Then again, maybe I’m turning around because Coming Out of the Dark is probably her most committed performance, a gospel number – complete with a choir providing punctuation – which could be read as either a religious statement, or a tribute to her husband Emilio Estefan Jr., who the track is dedicated to. It’s a song about love guiding the singer, and both interpretations are valid, given the circumstances of its recording.

This was Estefan’s comeback after a near-fatal bus accident, and even without knowing that it sounds like her response to a low point in her life. Which doesn’t mean it’s dark, it’s joyously triumphant, but it is definitely a response to her accident, as well as a tribute to what helped her pull through. Estefan makes a trip into gospel territory in order to properly express her joy at having made it through the accident and the process of recovery, and it makes for a song that’s made me reconsider Estefan’s popular ballads.

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One Response to Gloria Estefan – Coming Out of the Dark

  1. RBerman says:

    Hey, I was just talking about Jon Secada in yesterday’s Timmy T discussion; Secada co-wrote this song with Estefan. He was a member of her band who had a #5 hit himself (“Just Another Day Without You”). Anyway, this song fits well in the “God/guy” category, in which Bible-based imagery like “stand on the rock of your love” can plausibly fit either a divine or human relationship. Amy Grant has made a career out of these, catering to the yearnings and expectations of both her evangelical audience and her mainstream fans.

    Every ten years or so, pop music forgets and then rediscovers the Latin sector: Richie Valens, Sergio Mendes, Freddy Fender, Miami Sound Machine, Selena, Ricky Martin, and most recently Shakira. Estefan doesn’t have the pipes of Carey or Houston (or Shakira), or the exhibitionist streak that pop has rewarded from Marilyn Monroe to Rihanna Fenty (or Shakira). But Estefan is a confident performer who exercises a strong hand in writing her own chart-topping material, like this ballad.

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