3rd February, 1996

When last we saw Cristian Castro, he was peddling a soft-rock version (complete with "tasteful" guitar and sax licks) of Luis Miguel's slick romántico. In the six years since then, however, Latin Pop has changed; what came as a moderately novel modernization then would be an unbearable throwback now. So luckily he too has advanced with the times; instead of Richard Marx in 1990, he's now upgraded to the Gin Blossoms in 1993.

This song is pure jangle-pop of the kind that was the most commercially appealing face of college rock in the late 80s and early 90s, R.E.M. and Gin Blossoms and Wildflowers-era Tom Petty and even echoes of the Lemonheads in Castro's smooth assurance, his mellifluous vocal just about the only thing connecting the song to Latin Pop traditions. If there's even a hint of the Rembrandts' terminally uncool "I'll Be There For You" (which I knew as a radio pop song before I knew it as the theme song to Friends), that's because it was one logical conclusion of the sound: this is surely as much trend-hopping as it is a deeply-felt love for the style, but that's fine. What matters is how convincing the song is.

And it's a feather-light construction, a song of hopeless love (I don't need to translate the title this time, do I?) delivered at such an easy, shuffling remove that, as with the Everly Brothers' proto-jangly "Bye Bye Love," you can't believe he's actually all that broken up about it. The guitars are not just for texture, either: this is straight-up mid-tempo rock, and if the unbelievably pretty Castro is still more pop star than rock & roller that doesn't mean the music is insincere. Rather, this is a hint of things to come. Just as rock is fading from prominence in Anglophone pop, it's experiencing a bullish renaissance in the Latin world. This is far from the last time I will use the Rock En Español tag.

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