10th April, 1993

Not since Los Lobos have we seen this particular configuration in this particular spot: La Mafia are, rarely for the #1 Hot Latin spot, a band; and even more rarely, they're U.S. citizens. Texans, born and raised, from the city of Houston, and if they sing in Spanish and play a particularly safe and sanitized version of the plaintive border pop music called tejano, that's perhaps less because they're aiming for global Latin pop dominance and more because regional pop in the 90s tended towards the safe and sanitized. This was the decade that begat alt-country, however unnecessarily; while adherents could hear the pain and glory in John Michael Montgomery, others heard only the slow, waxy merging of all romantic pop into one homogenous ball of keyboard-heavy gloop.

Tejano will also have its crowd-pleasing alternative forms in the years ahead; but for now, this spare, almost minimalist rendition of a soulful countryish melody, with its hushed vocals and bluegrassy harmonies on the chorus, is a great low-key introduction to one version of the genre. The song is a ballad, and a soppily conventional one at that ("me estoy enamorando" just means "I'm falling in love," and the rest of the lyrics don't get much deeper), but the stark backing and crisp drums add unexpected heft to the naked melody until it sounds almost profound, like a folk or gospel song without the specificity of either.

No comments:

Post a Comment