27th January, 1990

This sounds so perfectly 1990 to me — those slow-building, gospelly melodies were very much in vogue as the fabulous 1980s prepared for the earnest 90s — that I'm almost tempted to believe that its being The First Number One Of The 1990s is somehow significant. But it's just as much another entry in my theory of ballads belonging to the winter months.

It's also the first time an Argentinean singer has appeared at the top spot so far. (Montaner was born in Argentina but raised and achieved his first success in Venezuela.) Argentina is the richest and most powerful Spanish-speaking South American country, but partly because its cultural ties are closer to Spain than to the rest of Latin America, partly because of the lengthy Peron dictatorship, and partly because of a certain amount of cultural elitism, its pop culture hasn't necessarily been very popular throughout the rest of Latin America.

Montaner began, according to himself, as a black metal singer, but it was a series of baladas románticas that made him famous. You can, if you try very hard, hear a bit of rock vocal stylings here, but it's closer to the theatrical soul stylings of the post-Hair Broadway. Nevertheless it's an assured production, only a step or so removed from the Michael Bolton, Bryan Adams, and Richard Marx songs which were blanketing the English-speaking world at the same time.

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