I was gazing at the cassette cases at a store, and some Mexican worker there suggested Martika, another singer in the Cuban-pop genre. So, Gloria Estefan did not have a monopoly in that area. Anyway, I ended up getting it four months later, especially after hearing the first two singles. Nice voice, nothing spectacular, but something that could vocally make dance music palatable. Call her music a Latin version of the Jets, early Madonna, and Expose rolled into one. Some of her music mirrors Taylor Dayne's Tell It To My Heart, released the previous year. Other times, I hear Bananarama mixed in. The first four songs are actually not bad, and hints at a great sound despite its derivativeness.
"If You're Tarzan, I'm Jane" sports a pounding and running Bananarama-type beat. She's Jane, huh? Well, she definitely ain't Cheetah, for sure. Ha ha! Now yes, there are some trite moments, such as the monologue where she says "If you were Romeo, then you can bet, I'm gonna be your Juliet." That's countered by a naughty line in keeping with the jungle theme: "I wanna swing on your vine."
"Cross My Heart" is one of those Taylor Dayne-ish (Danish(?)) numbers given the high-pitched opening keyboards. Again, the chorus lyrics are a bit trite: "Cross my heart/hope to die/may lightning strike me/if I'm telling a lie/ZAP!" Just kidding--that last word doesn't occur.
Martika herself co-wrote three songs. One of them opens with Jellybean Benitez/"Lucky Star"-style synths. That song is "More Than You Know", which was the first single. Not bad, as it reached the Top 20. The chorus has a slightly-tinged calypso-pop beat.
Then, "step by step, heart to heart, left right left, we all fall down." "Toy Soldiers," a haunting pop ballad on drug addiction reached #1, not bad for her second single, which she co-wrote.
"You Got Me Into This" could easily fit on a Jets Cd or Taylor Dayne's Tell It To My Heart, as it reminds me of "Cross My Broken Heart" and "Prove Your Love."
Then comes a bouncy, techno-dance, electric guitar version of Carole King's "I Feel The Earth Move." I'd already heard the original from Tapestry and wasn't that offended by so many dance covers of vintage 70's classics. Given that Bananarama do cover songs on their albums, I wonder if they were kicking themselves at having Martika beating them to this cover, because it doesn't look out of place on a 'rams album.
"Water" is the third Martika co-composition. She even nears Gloria Estefan and even Madonna in some parts of this funky mid-paced number that has an fantasy-like quality in the verses. However, the lyric "I want to dive so deep into you I might drown" did catch my attention. Really good number.
The funk is turned on in "It's Not What You're Doing". And the dance floor will come alive with "See If I Care", which is "Lucky Star" meets "Prove Your Love" with catchy hooks in the chorus. Despite the cold shoulder-like title, the chorus goes, "Hold me/see if I care for you/.../cuz I betcha I do." Good single material.
"Alibis" is about one of those two-timers. She feels so resignedly tired and fed up in the spoken word intro: "So tell me, what's your excuse this time?/No never mind, I don't wanna hear it!" Cool lyric: "Your license to my heart has met its expiration date."
Martika's sound is largely in part to producer Michael Jay, who not only did a lot of the songwriting but also the arranging. Not a bad entry in Latin-dance-pop 80's music.