Being a huge of fan of the first movie and its entire repertoire of songs, I was skeptical when told about an upcoming sequel/prequel. So many turn out to be weak, bland, repetitive versions of the original and I thought 'Havana Nights' would be a total washout, both plot and music-wise. I was pleasantly surprised on both counts. Not only was the movie fresh and entertaining, I actually ran out and bought the CD as soon as my schedule permitted!
Not being a regular listener of Cuban music, I must admit that I can't comment on the soundtrack's authenticity. Seriously though, I didn't care a whit about whether Cuba played these kind of songs during the 1950s or if the rap influence is more American than Latin. None of it mattered. Tracks like 'Dance Like This', 'Guajira', 'Represent, Cuba' and 'Satellite' were catchy, appropriately sexy and contemporary without sounding overtly 'pop' and had me shimmying and shaking right along with Diego Luna and Romola Garai. I also found the ballad 'El Beso Del Final' hauntingly beautiful... And that was before I found a translation and realised how poignantly apt the lyrics were.
All in all, I'd say this one's a keeper. It's going to my personal 'Hall of Fame', right next to the 'Dirty Dancing' and 'More Dirty Dancing' soundtracks I have carefully tucked away. :)