17th July, 1993

Jon Secadas may come and Jon Secadas may go, but Luis Miguel is forever. At least that's how it feels now that we are well into the 1990s, as Miguel continues his streak of two hit songs off every album every year, like the hitmaking romance machine he is.

"Ayer" remains true to the Luis Miguel ethic: big, polished, finely crafted, orchestral — very orchestral. Where before Miguel has used classical instrumentation as a sort of filigree on his pop songs, here he attempts a pop-operatic fusion. You could say it was in the air; Guns N' Roses' ridiculously orchestral "November Rain" had been a worldwide smash, and Whitney Houston and Céline Dion were having major hits with studio orchestration that was recorded with the clear, even prissy fidelity of classical recordings rather than the compressed vamping traditional with strings and horns in pop. But far more than at attempt at currency, the hugeness and grandeur of the orchestration is driving home a more timeless point: Miguel is the King of Latin Pop, the most ambitious, accomplished, and able-to-afford-a-symphony-orchestra belter around. Jon Secada may well sound cheap by comparison; as who would not?

"Ayer" ("yesterday") is a song that may not quite live up to the tempestuous orchestration (though Miguel's voice, even more controlled and versatile an instrument than it has been to date, has no problem). Today he dreamed of her, they came together in a whirlwind of passion, oh but it's only a dream. In truth she is lost forever, they tore themselves with love, promises were exchanged, but ... there is a lacuna. He doesn't say how or why it ended, only acknowledges that now, woken from the dream, he realizes that he loved her, and it hurts. Of course it's all said much better — if he doesn't stint on the orchestration he doesn't draw the purse strings tight on the lyrics either. But ultimately it's kind of a weak story for the storming orchestration, and I can't help feeling that he's making too much of it. Maybe if you hadn't taken her for granted in the first place.

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