6th June, 1992

As I keep saying, I'm learning to hear this stuff as I go along, which means that most of my writeups are more and more inadequate the further away from them I get. I'm bound to miss small, subtle social and cultural cues; but there are big obvious ones that drift past me unnoticed as well. The obvious word missing from the blocks of text when we last had Álvaro Torres before the board (only three hits ago, for crying out loud) was tejano.

Torres was born in El Salvador, and began his career in Guatemala, but by the time he was reaching the top of the Hot Latin charts he was based in the US, participating in Southern Florida's omnivorous Latin Pop machine. He'd had some success duetting with Mexican pop stars like Marisela and Tatiana, so while recording the album that would become his biggest-selling hit, he was paired with another young up-and-coming girl singer out of Texas, who had been doing the local pop circuit since she was thirteen, and was poised to be a breakout star in the Latin Pop community. How big a star, of course, and how quickly snuffed out, no one as yet had any idea.

She sounds, on this first encounter with the uppermost reaches of this chart — her home chart, as it were, the pinnacle of which she will claim a half-dozen more times before all is done — like a young woman who very much wants to be Ana Gabriel. Like Gabriel, she sounds instinctively at home with the woozy ranchera rhythm, with the triumphantly goofy (or goofily triumphant) synth-horn fanfare that introduces and punctuates the duet, with expressing emotion while holding back a steely unreachable self (shades also of Luis Miguel). And like Ana Gabriel, she comfortably and without showboating blows her duet partner out of the water. This is to be Álvaro Torres' last appearance in our travelogue; it's perhaps not his fault that he's so unmemorable in it.

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