The banda boom of the '90s and 2000s brought considerable diversity to banda, which has been combined with everything from hip-hop to reggae to salsa. Banda star Jenni Rivera (who usually performs en español) has even recorded a banda version of Gloria Gaynor's 1979 disco anthem "I Will Survive." Of course, there are some purists who believe that banda should only be used for traditional ranchera purposes, but who is to say what really constitutes "authentic" banda? In the beginning, banda was strictly instrumental; thus, someone who wants to be an ultra-purist could argue that any banda that features singers isn't real banda. But a much stronger argument is that diversity is good for banda's creative health and that it is beneficial for banda to have consistently ranchera-minded acts as well as an outfit as Latin pop-minded as La Banda Pequeños Musical. Hasta el Final ("Until the End") is definitely on the pop/crossover side of banda. Minus the huge wall of brass that surrounds them, adult contemporary-ish items such as "Nuevo Amor" ("New Love"), "Por Quien Me Dejas" ("Who Are You Leaving Me For") and "Caricias Prohibidas" ("Forbidden Caresses") could have easily been arranged and recorded as grupero. Not everything on Hasta el Final, however, is adult contemporary-ish. This 36-minute CD also contains some up-tempo selections that drift into tropical territory and function as pure party music -- most notably, "El Foco" and the cumbia-minded "Saltando." But whether a track is slow, romantic, and adult contemporary-ish or up-tempo and club-friendly, there is never any doubt that Hasta el Final epitomizes a very pop-drenched approach to banda. And while this 2007 release isn't remarkable, it is still a generally pleasant example of banda and Latin pop coming together.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson