Conjunto Primavera

Hoy Como Ayer

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If any group can honestly be described as a bridge between norteño/Tex-Mex and the romantic Latin pop of José José, Juan Gabriel, and Julio Iglesias, it is Conjunto Primavera. They aren't hardcore norteño purists in the way that los Rieleros del Norte, los Tigres del Norte, and los Huracanes del Norte are hardcore norteño purists, but they have always been masters of norteño light -- masters of a style that successfully combines norteño's accordion and polka beat with the romantic sophistication of adult-oriented Latin pop. No one will mistake Hoy Como Ayer for a Grupo Exterminador album; with this 2004 release, Primavera continue to favor the smooth, sleek approach that they have long been known for. The tempos vary; Hoy Como Ayer ranges from up-tempo polkas ("No Cabe Duda," "No Hay Nada Completo") to medium-tempo offerings ("Desesperado") to ballads ("Muero" and the title track). But whatever the tempo, Hoy Como Ayer maintains a romantic outlook and is essentially a collection of Mexican adult contemporary. Arguably, Primavera is to Grupo Exterminador what Marc Anthony is to Rubén Blades. Like Blades in salsa, Exterminador deal with some edgy, challenging subject matter; their narcocorridos (corridos about drug trafficking) are every bit as biting as Blades and Willie Colon were on their late-'70s hit "Pedro Navaja" (which described the death of a hoodlum in a New York City barrio). But Primavera, like Anthony in the salsa romantica field, would rather comfort than challenge; Hoy Como Ayer is musical comfort food -- and while the material isn't adventurous, it's always pleasant and likable. This CD isn't among Primavera's essential releases; casual listeners would be better off starting out with Fonovisa's best-of collection Dejando Huella. But longtime fans will find Hoy Como Ayer to be a decent, if predictable, addition to Primavera's sizable catalog.

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