19th December, 1992

Ricardo Montaner made his first appearance in this travelogue with a power ballad of the Michael Bolton stripe; if this song's glassy, glossy keys and muscial-theater lift recalls instead Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle, that's surely not unintentional. Montaner sang the Peabo part in the Spanish-language version of Aladdin's "A Whole New World," "Un Mundo Ideal" with duet partner Michelle.

But this song sounds more like something out of (or inspired by) 1991's Beauty And The Beast. "Castillo Azul" literally means "blue castle," and the lyrics could be sung by a not-for-kids version of the Beast (or perhaps that other fairy-tale icon, Bluebeard) showing his new bride around the place. Not-for-kids because he goes adult very quickly; halfway through the first verse they're stripping off their clothes and by the lead-in to the chorus he's singing wistfully of "el momento pleno de hacernos sexo, a orillas del mesón." ("The fullness of the time we had sex in every corner of the place.") The imagery, in fact, is gorgeous, even intoxicating; a full translation would be a beautiful sample of erotic poetry, and is beyond my powers.

But of course little of that transcendent rush is conveyed in the music: formally, this is another bland, vacantly crescendoing ballad with almost no compensations for someone who doesn't understand the language. (Almost: the orgasmic rise and subtle funk guitar on the brief middle eight have their low-key pleasures.) And so we close out 1992 on a faintly disappointing note; so far it's the year I've liked the best as a whole — largely if not entirely thanks to Jon Secada — but there's more and better still awaiting us in the future.

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