La Oreja de Van Gogh

Instead of Lo Que Te Conté Mientras Te Hacías la Dormida (What I Told You While You Were Pretending to Be Asleep), this album should be titled What We Played While You Were Ignoring Us. With only three albums, La Oreja de Van Gogh (which translates to, you guessed it, Van Gogh's Ear) has far outsold most established acts, in any genre, in Spain. (Sorry, I mean the Basque country.)

But, as often happens to good Spanish rock acts, commercial radio inexplicably ignores La Oreja, despite the fact that the group offers a catchy collection of keyboard-driven Eighties mild-rockers and midtempo ballads (and the occasionally decent rumba flamenca) that deal with boy-girl love, love, and more love, from a million different angles. Perhaps the group's penchant for sneaking subtle allusions to both Argentina's desaparecidos (that subtly condemn the right) and the Cuban exiles (that infuriate the left) into its music is too ambiguous for pretentious Latin radio programmers. But no, those hacks are too dumb to even notice. I bet my money that they'll just ignore the album: There's too much regional crap available (a sin the so-called Latin rock intelligentsia in this country also tends to commit). But the truth is that if everyone gave La Oreja de Van Gogh a chance, it could become the guiltiest pleasure in Latin pop-rock. -- Enrique Lopetegui

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Enrique Lopetegui