Nancy Martinez

Not Just the Girl Next Door

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Critics of 1980s dance-pop will tell you that most or all of it was about style over substance -- that once you get past the high-tech production gloss, pretty faces, and carefully designed images, you're left with music that is soulless and disposable. The problem with such a generalization is that an artist like Nancy Martinez did, in fact, have a lot to offer when it came to talent and chops. Producer Teneen Ali gives Not Just the Girl Next Door a very slick, high-tech sound, but Martinez would have sounded great even without all that studio gloss. When the Canadian dance diva passionately tears into "For Tonight" (a major club hit), "Rhythm of Your Heart," "Move Out," and other Latin-influenced numbers, it's clear that she has an impressive range and isn't trying to hide behind technology. Some dance-pop artists have, indeed, tried to camouflage their lack of talent with studio gloss, but technology is only one of the various tools in Martinez's arsenal. She definitely has the chops, warmth, and charisma to make this LP special. For those who want to hear one of the best Latin freestyle-oriented albums of the 1980s, Not Just the Girl Next Door is highly recommended.

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