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.