12th December, 1992

Daniela Romo has appeared twice before in this tale (and if my spreadsheet is accurate she won't appear again), the first time as a powerfully-lunged singer of that most tricky of ballad forms, the telenovela theme song, and the second as a breezy dancey salsa diva. It might be too reductive to claim that last part of the trilogy finds a middle ground between the two — it's definitely more of an uptempo swing than a dramatic recitative — but while there's undoubtedly an island groove to the song, its tempo is more stately than hip-shaking. Even the ska rhythm under the chorus is taken at a pace too slow to skank to.

I like it a lot, not only because any uptempo track is better than another goddamn ballad (although I've even been liking the ballads lately too), but because it's the kind of thing I was expecting to hear a lot more of when I initially began this project. My exposure to Latin Pop, like a lot of clueless white Americans', has been limited mostly to party situations, when of course uptempo dance songs are pretty much necessary, and so the swooning (and often cheesy) romanticism of the slower, for-individual-listening songs has represented both a surprise and a kind of frustration. Though of course a glance at the contemporary Hot 100 chart shows just as many drippy adult-contempo ballads in the top spot there — which makes me wonder if the relatively high-energy state of postmillennial pop is the real outlier.

Anyway, none of this has much to do with Daniela Romo, whose strong voice and penchant for slightly gaudy melodicism has been one of the most enjoyable things about this journey so far. "Para Que Te Quedes Conmigo" is a slightly old-fashioned song about all the things she will do to get her lover to stay with her, and can be read as either super-romantic or kind of comic, depending on your preference (me, I'm sticking with comedy every time). But the lyrics don't matter as much as the punchy horns and the way her voice punches through just as clearly over a flat-footed rock beat that breaks into a lazy island half-step on the chorus.

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