25th May, 1996

Perhaps the easiest way to point out what Olga Tañon and Marco Antonio Solís were doing "wrong" in the last entry (scare quotes because it's not actually wrong, just not to my taste and less of a forward advance than I was hoping for) is to compare it with this. This is also a ballad and therefore, by my reckoning, has a strike against it from the outset. But the production isn't the mushed-together goop that is Solís' signature sound — it's vibrant, detailed, even lush, even if little of the actual instrumentation is any different. Except there's an oboe carrying the lead melody! There are never enough oboes in pop music.

Where "¡Basta Ya!" sounded like a holdover from the poorly-funded 80s, "Amarte a Tí" sounds like the most modern and up-to-date version of romantic Latin Pop available, with a pulsating rhythm, sparkling accents, and gorgeously treated female vocals on the chorus which would be a fine addition to any indie pop song today. (The credits I've been able to find don't specify, but it's either Gabriela Anders, Dámaris Carbaugh, Doris Eugenio, or Lori-Ann Velez doing the dream-pop bit.) I've been using the tag "pop idol" for Cristian Castro's appearances here, but on the evidence of this and "Amor", it may be time to graduate him to "pop royalty" — the attention to detail here is worthy of a Luis Miguel or Julio Iglesias.

It is, for once in a way, an uncomplicated love song: "amarte a tí" means "loving you," and if the lyrics are somewhat more formal and metaphorical than those of the Minnie Riperton song (Spanish love poetry rears its head again), the sentiment's the same: "Amarte a tí es soñar despierto/Los ojos abiertos/Amarte a tí es de verdad/El corazón entregar/Lleno de paz" ("Loving you is dreaming awake/Eyes wide open/Loving you is truly/Finding [my] heart/Full of peace"). I am at the kind of place in my life where a song like this will have a particular resonance for me, even outside of its musical sensuousness; uncomplicated joy in mutual love exactly matches my needs right now.

No comments:

Post a Comment