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RECORD RACK

MIAMI GOO : * * * * Great Balls of Fire * * * Good Vibrations * * Maybe Baby * Running on Empty :

June 21, 1987|STEVE HOCHMAN

* 1/2 "LET IT LOOSE." Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine. Epic. Here's a leading candidate for the Banal Song of the Year Award: "Love Toy," in which a male chorus answers Gloria Estefan's singing of the title phrase with "no batteries required."

To make matters worse, the guys repeatedly chirp in with a line that, as printed on the inner sleeve, goes "ooi ooi doo wop bop" and sounds as if it was lifted from M's old new-wave/disco hit "Pop Music." That painfully silly tone is echoed in the bubblegummy goo of the lyrics to "Betcha Say," "1-2-3" and the title song, with the music--a mix of watered-down Cuban styles and standard pop pap--following suit.

Other than that, the only particularly noteworthy thing about the record is Estefan's elevation in billing over the group, which is largely a different cast from the one that went to the top of the charts with "Conga" last year (the production team that includes Estefan's husband, Emilio, remains). That really only says that it's easier to market an attractive woman than it is a fairly faceless band.

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