14th May, 1994

I've been crowing in the past few entries about the modernization, newfound sophistication, and even hipness of Latin Pop in 1994; and right on cue, here come Pimpinela to serve up some good old-fashioned corn.

Pimpinela were (are, even) that most deeply unfashionable of showbiz staples, a brother-sister act. Lucía and Joaquín Galán were from Buenos Aires, had longstanding showbiz connections — Luis Aguilé, a popular singer and composer in the 1950s, got them their start in the early 80s — and sang in an old-fashioned romantic style, the way brother-sister acts always do. Here, with the mandolin-like washes of melody over a one-two saunter, they're recalling classic ranchera styles, but their voices are purest pop — especially Lucía's high, thin dream-pop tone, which I'd like to hear more of in a less restrictive environment.

The song itself is a traditional-sounding (the songwriting credits include both Galáns, so it's not that traditional) lament for lost love: the title translates as "with a lump in my throat," and Lucía sings of how she regrets having said goodbye, while Joaquín swears he never meant to hurt her. It's so traditional, in fact, that this is (as far as I can remember) the first appearance of an accordion — or an accordion-like instrument; the production's so vague and dreamlike, it's hard to tell — in this travelogue. Anyone who's been near a building site in the Southwest knows that the accordion is perhaps the most traditional ranchera instrument there is; it may say something about the powerful gravitational pull of 1980s synthetics that it's taken this long to hear it here.

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