While the movie may not be one of the best, the soundtrack for “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights” is definitely worth a listen. With its Cuban beats and big-name artists, the soundtrack has some fast-paced singing and a truckload of danceable melodies.
Featuring artists like Wyclef Jean, Santana, Mya and the Black Eyed Peas, “Havana Nights” carries some quick tunes to get your feet moving. The songs go along with the film’s Cuban theme full of accelerated beats, Spanish singing and intense melodies. While most of the songs are sung by the big names, they all contain similar Spanish rhythms.
The movie, a re-imagining of the first “Dirty Dancing,” is not the best of its class. “Havana Nights” tells the story of a nerdy girl with no moves who suddenly becomes a dancing master. The plot is certainly not original, but the music (as with its 1980s predecessor) makes the film somewhat more entertaining. Even on the website, the music is featured as the film’s main ingredient.
The music makes your head bop, your feet stomp and is definitely not for the light-hearted or lazy. The very premise of the film, learning how to dance along with music, causes the instant desire to stomp your feet. While the lyrics of the music are nothing special or profound, the beats keep a nice rhythm and the Spanish twist on the music, words and melody makes it a different type of soundtrack than most with big-name pop artists.
In the first song, “Dance Like This,” the melody is slower, with Wyclef Jean harmonizing with Spanish singer Claudette Ortiz. He sings of dancing, and then the Spanish, “Baile la conga de noches / Baile la conga de dia,” meaning, “Dance the conga at night / dance the congo during the day,” blends with the smooth beats of his voice.
In a song by Mya called “Do You Only Wanna Dance,” there is a more traditional Cuban melody with trumpet in the background, mimicking her voice. Mya sings about the pursuit of a man through the art of dancing, a common theme on this soundtrack. Her airy voice bumps along, more than singing with the Cuban melody of clapping. The trumpet and bongo beat away in the background as she sings, “And that’ll end ya’ / you should surrender / you’ll never win / unless you give in.”
In another song, “Represent, Cuba,” by a less-well-known Spanish artist Orishas and featuring the singing of Heather Headly, whose vocals are framed against the Spanish rap artist, the rapping, which comes about a third of the way into the song as an entire verse, is also placed in the chorus, with Headly’s singing, “Represent, represent Cuba.” This is a nice feature to the disc because while some of the songs are in Spanish or feature a little Spanish verse here or there, this is a real piece of the Cuban culture.
This soundtrack is great because it strays from the typical soundtracks of today and breaks off a little piece of the Cuban culture for the American mainstream. While many of the artists are well known in America, some are of Spanish descent and keep in with the theme of dancing and the Spanish beats. Some of the songs entirely in Spanish make the soundtrack even more original than its predecessors and other compilations of soundtracks in its genre. Overall, this soundtrack deserves attention for its originality and hopping beats.