13th March, 1999

In this ever-changing world in which we live in, it's nice to know that some things never change. The sun rises in the east, water remains wet, and Marco Antonio Solís records drippy, overblown ballads which don't even pretend to keep up with musical trends. There have been very few songs over the past several years which could have fit without a murmur into the Hot Latin chart's origins in 1986; that this one could pass unblinking and no questions asked isn't necessarily a mark against Solís as it is a reminder of how slowly the Latin chart can move compared to Anglophone charts and how many disparate audiences it serves, generational as well as regional, ethnic, and socioeconomic.

Here at the end of the twentieth century, Solís has abandoned any hope of forcing his way back into the youth market, and is focusing with consummate skill on the madrecitas and abuelitas and varones-ya-no-jovenes who still swoon to his old-fashioned sweep and bluster. This is a Latin chart that still has a place for his overstated, slightly corny romanticism -- in another ten years, it won't. Solís resides at the most easily-mockable level of adult contemporary (his Anglophone counterpart might perhaps be Sting), which can obscure the solid craftsmanship of his work.

Beneath the soprano sax and the padded drums, "Si Te Pudiera Mentir" (if I could lie to you) is a well-constructed song of romantic regret. The title phrase is followed by "te diría que aquí todo va marchando muy bien... pero no es así" (I'd tell you that everything's going great here... but it isn't), the kind of venerable formulation that reminds the English-language listener of classic country or soul. Like many a guy given the ability to plead his own case over swooping strings, he indulges in negging -- the last verse, repeated twice includes the line "Sé que no hay un corazón que sienta lo mismo por tí" (I know there's no heart that feels as much for you), a sentiment that's closer to the abusive "no one will ever love you as much as me" than I'm comfortable with. But that's overstated romanticism for you; this too is a venerable tradition.