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POP MUSIC | RECORD RACK

*** VARIOUS ARTISTS, "Selena" soundtrack, EMI Latin

March 16, 1997|Enrique Lopetegui

Selena's legacy rests in her voice, beauty, charisma and skills as a performer. She will not be remembered as an innovator, nor will her team ever be praised for its musical production values. In the soundtrack for the biographical movie that opens Friday, all this is clear--it starts with a standard, predictable disco medley that abruptly fades out just when things are getting good.

But now that everybody is talking about the rebirth of dance music, it would be fair to mention that Selena apparently saw it all along. And the knowledge that this and other tracks were recorded live in her last concert, a month before her 1995 murder, is enough to give you chills.

There's also a fine "Oldies Medley" by the Vidal Brothers, a corny but effective homage by Lil' Ray (co-written by the film's co-star, Edward James Olmos), and another tribute by various EMI Latin artists (the weakest track on the album). The three previously unreleased Selena songs confirm what was hinted at on the posthumous "Dreaming of You" album: This tejanita was becoming a first-class soul singer, and that more than a "Tex-Mex" or Latino star, she was a true American icon.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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* Excerpts from these albums and other recent releases are available on The Times' World Wide Web site. Point your browser to: http://www.latimes.com/soundclips

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