7th March, 1992

My direct experience with Latin America, Mexican enclaves within the US aside, has been limited to Central America (specifically Guatemala). The small, mountainous countries which string along from the sturdy bump of the Yucatán to the great bulb of South America are collectively the poorest, most politically fragile, and least likely to produce pop stars of the Spanish-speaking world, so it's always with some glad triumph that I note when a Central American reaches the august spaces chronicled here. The only previous Central American occupant of the top slot has been the Honduran Banda Blanca, with my favorite song so far; how will Salvadoran Álvaro Torres (who started his career in Guatemala) compare?

Well, it's not my second favorite. It starts promisingly, with some Serious Power Ballad Guitar, but while it's actually quite a sweet love song, his voice is thin and weak, and after the master class in ballad singing we've been having from Luis Miguel and Rocío Dúrcal, he sounds particularly out of his depth.

But like I said, it's a sweet love song. The title translates as "nothing compares to you," and while it certainly doesn't hold a candle to the Prince (or rather the Sinéad O'Connor) song of the same name, it's the kind of ballad that I can easily understand catching on in early spring, as high school students — Latino ones maybe especially — begin looking for a killer slow dance for the prom.

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