Entertainment Weekly (11/11/94, p.76) - "...Cuban syncopation warms up these Top-40 oldie covers....with help from hard-rock and classical guitars, her sad sobs make the breakup ballads seem new again..." - Rating: B
Personnel includes: Gloria Estefan (vocals); Jorge Casas (guitar, mandocello, bass, fretless bass, programming); Tim Mitchell, Juan R. Marquez, Andy Goldman (guitar); Emilio Estefan, Jr. (accordion); Ed Calle (tenor saxophone); Randy Barlow (trumpet); Lauren Hammock, Andrew Lewinter (French horn); Teddy Mulet, Dana Teboe (trombone); Clay Ostwald (piano, programming); Lawrence Dermer (piano, Fender Rhodes, tambourine, programming, background vocals); Steve Rucker (drums); Edwin Bonilla (percussion); Donna Allen, Rita Quintero, Joy Francis, Rick Krive, Lagaylia Frazier, Charles Christopher (background vocals).
Producers: Emilio Estefan, Jr., Jorge Casas, Clay Ostwald, Lawrence Dermer.
Recorded at Crescent Moon Studios, Miami, Florida; Criteria Studios, Miami, Florida; Edison Studio, New York. Includes liner notes by Gloria Estefan.
Several of the classic pop covers on HOLD ME, THRILL ME, KISS ME are re-done with Latin percussion and big-band touches, but Estefan and her producers don't bend them beyond their breaking points. Estefan maintains her prowess accomodating herself to songs ranging from the half-century-old standard, "Goodnight My Love," to the Brill Building pop song, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do," and the disco "Turn The Beat Around."
Estefan melds herself with old favorites and comes up with a warm, low-key collection of songs sung around the campfire. Yet in this case the campfire is a state-of-the-art recording studio complete with big band. Having fun with the material, Estefan takes on the Vicki Sue Robinson disco hit "Turn The Beat Around" with a nasal voice and sharp, clipped words matching the scratchy sounds of the guitar and electronic drums. Then she opens up to sing Neil Sedaka's ballad "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" in a plaintive, melismatic style that sounds not unlike Sedaka himself.
Other highlights include a heartstopping classical-guitar rendition of Gerry & The Pacemakers' "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying," and a lighthearted, big production "Cherchez La Femme," the early-disco hit by Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, in which Estefan's band, lush with clarinet, trumpets and other brass, emphasizes the song's Cuban-via-New-Orleans heart.