Today's version is a "merengue" plus "jaleo," with nary a "paseo" to be heard. Kind of like hard-core sex without the foreplay. If time and progress had stopped - say around the Fifties - I'd probably love merengue and sing its praises daily. But the reality is a music that is soooo fast, brassy, and sexist, it's obnoxious.
For the serious seeker of musical merengue purity, I suggest tuning in WDNA-FM (88.9) and listening to DJ Hector Gutierrez on Wednesday's Fusion Latina (8:00 p.m. to midnight). During his show, he will also honor requests for a gamut of other Dominican sounds, like bachata, musica de monte adentro, and mangulina.
You could also ask for the current local hit "La Morena Chula" by Tony Tatis, although WDNA might find that too commercial. Or you could go see Tatis at El Zol's festival this Sunday. Or you could go see him at the Dominican Community Association's festival this Sunday. He's not been cloned, but somehow he'll be playing at both. The conflict of events, Tatis says, "is not a controversy. We're in the U.S., everyone does their business. Big one eats little one. Each festival is letting me work with the other. I play for everyone.