18th May, 1996

Of course, no sooner is there a new normal — with regional Mexican and border styles suddenly making up a huge proportion of the top of the Latin chart, displacing the old school of blowsy ballads punctuated by sassy dance numbers — than the professionals and the pop lifers start moving in to take it over.

Olga Tañon is a new name in these parts, but a minimum of research uncovers a very familiar name. Marco Antonio Solís, the long-haired, blandly sentimental leader of Los Bukis and latterly a solo artist, wrote and produced the album Nuevos Senderos in a transparent bid to fill the void which the death of young miss Quintanilla-Pérez had left in the affections of Latin Pop listeners all over the hemisphere. Tañon had been singing for years -- in fact her career pretty closely parallels that of Selena's, with Puerto Rico standing in for Tejas, and merengue for tejano.

Still, this is supposed to be a tejano song (you can hear, very faintly, a cumbia rhythm in the verses), and even though it was (briefly) successful, it's no replacement for Selena. Solís drowns everything in his signature bland soup of cascading keyboard riffs and too-patient drum fills, and Tañon's voice is neither as charged nor as flexible as Selena's; the overall effect is that of a script being dutifully followed. Which doesn't mean there aren't pleasures to be had in the song, just that they are minor and without the urgency that the lyrics provide — "¡Basta Ya!" means "Enough Already!", but both the chiming melody and Tañon's too-elegant phrasing give it the sound of a treacly lament instead of the desperate, long-awaited standing-up-for-herself that you get from a straightforward reading of the lyrics.

This isn't Olga Tañon's last appearance in our travelogue, but I'm hoping for something a little more lively in our next encounter.

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