EMI Latin's endeavor of reissuing and remastering the entire Selena catalog kicks off with the now-legendary singer's first five albums, beginning with Mis Primeros Exitos, a collection of Selena hits

EMI Latin's endeavor of reissuing and remastering the entire Selena catalog kicks off with the now-legendary singer's first five albums, beginning with Mis Primeros Exitos, a collection of Selena hits prior to her signing with EMI. If nostalgia permeates this entire reissue project (which is titled 20 Years of Music), it's particularly evident in this first disc, with a very young Selena singing to the accompaniment of her then very young band, Los Dinos, playing with limited range and big reliance on a single rhythmic accompaniment. But also evident are the possibilities of a singer, who even in her teens performed with unusual abandon and an ineffable joie de vivre. Exitos is the most rudimentary of this collection, with each album progressing considerably to reach the maturity of Entre a Mi Mundo, widely regarded as Selena's breakthrough in the Latin market. Here we find full definition of Selena's trademark sound—the remarkably catchy tunes married to the distinctive, plaintive vocals and a relaxed, danceable cumbia beat—which continues to be the blueprint for female singers in the Tejano genre. Songs like "Como la Flor" and "La Carcacha" are what Selena did best, although versatility is displayed with adequate ranchera and disco tracks, a very soulful English track and, most impressive, a pop duet with Alvaro Torres (included as a bonus). The final flourish in this first batch of discs is the Grammy Award-winning Live, valuable both as a historical testimonial and a top-notch live disc. While the standout albums are the last two, the entire collection will be essential for hardcore fans, adorned as it is with "spoken liner notes," bonus tracks, pictures, and videos.—LC