Score: 9/10

Musical energy and the exchange between audience and a song or band can be such a crucial lifeblood for a composer gathered in the name of fulfilling exhilarating music for music fans. Some of this applies to vintage pop. It may not be for everyone but no one can deny it has a very dedicated cult following. Toronto based Roxanna seems to have a firm hold on making a connection with listeners and extolling positive energy through her music. This breathtaking debut release has credits as long as my arm including Mark Portmann, who has worked with pop royalty Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Barbra Streisand, Annie Lennox and Christina Aguilera, and even Chris Botti (Trumpet). Did mention the Prague Orchestra (Strings) is also involved? The end result is a delightful melting pot of fun sounds and beats that will warp many into musical submission without even trying. From the East coast to the West coast this CD covers it all and is a timeless 13 tack collection showcasing an eclectic variety of influences and experience within each and every track. 2 singles from the album are “Hello” and Close Your Eyes.”

Purchase Link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exotica-roxanna/27712301?ean=616892210641

Some Influences may be: Sade, Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion, Jo Jo, Selena, Paulina Rubio, Pey and Thalia just to name a few.

We start off with the intro “Only You” brilliant melodic intro piece full of bliss and vocals that make a real connection with the listener. She takes this style of music to a whole new dimension with other impressive offerings like “Close Your Eyes” Unforgotten” two very radio friendly tracks. I can’t claim to be an expert on Pop or Latin style pop or even pretend to know what’s up with artists like Angie Stone, Leela Jamesa and Nikka Costa. However I do however listen to Flo Rida, Calvin Harris, Avicil, Jack Back and Talo Cruz. Basically I get the impression this form of Pop is popular for 2 very important reasons. 1: it’s extremely stimulating to the senses, and 2: the emotional impact is real – very much like a romance novel. There is some really sweet placement of flowing vocals, bass, Eloquent Piano, Strings movements, drums and percussion, keyboards, guitar, horns throughout Exotica. Some songs you can crank up the volume a bit like on exhilarating “Today.” I played this one at a loud volume and it created an almost euphoric effect when dancing especially if you are slightly inebriated – hint. Other tracks I like: “Hello” (featuring Chris Botti), “Close Your Eyes” and “Beautiful Rose” really bring Roxanna’s amazing voice to the forefront. “Unforgotten” is my favorite track on the release. “Hello” and Close Your Eyes” are also marketable standouts for me. The title track and “El Amor” borders between Spanish, hip hop and popish ambience – but not to over the top about it. This debut release by Roxanna is an amazing, vivid and constant 13 track staple. I even suspect Electronic, Dance, Club, House fans will love her as well. It’s a Top Tiered production and like I said before – it’s simply timeless. Roxanna’s voice and look are to die for. The CD ends with 13 “Beautiful Rose’ a great note to end on. These 13 tracks have a little something for everyone and is well worth the listen, and sets the highest standard for modern contemporary pop, but above all its give you a shimmering fleeting glimpse into life itself.

Criticism: I’m not crazy about the Lionel Ritchie remake: “Hello.”