Though the sound was pioneered, perfected and popularized by the Miami Sound Machine, perhaps the best examples of the style are the one-off singles mass-produced by all-but-anonymous trios of pop tarts, one-hit wonders with names like Expose' and Company B. But brand-name stars like Madonna and Jellybean have recently jumped on the Latin bandwagon, too, with some success.
John Benitez, a k a Jellybean, is an influential New York disc jockey and dance taste-maker who at one time was best known for dating Madonna and remixing (and promoting) her early singles. As a result, his own output and identity has since been overshadowed by her pop-chart preeminence. But Jellybean seems to address the identity crisis on his second solo LP, "Just Visiting This Planet" (Chrysalis BFV 41569)-one of the songs asks the pointed musical question "Who Found Who?"
Since Jellybean built his career out of spinning and reworking other people's records, it's no surprise that his own work is a cut-and-paste collage of familiar sounds. "Am I Dreaming" sounds like Cameo's last few hits crossed with Jody Watley's "Looking for a New Love." Benitez has found three strong new singers: Elisa Fiorillo, yet another Madonna sound-alike, delivers the Miami spice of "Little Too Good to Me"; breathy Adele Bertei coos "Am I Dreaming"; and Steven Dante', a soul crooner in the James Ingram mold, pours vocal lava over "The Real Thing." All eight lengthy tracks are dance-floor efficient, but the words and melodies evaporate on contact.
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