During the '80s, a number of young artists revolutionized tropical music by creating a new genre known as "salsa romantica." The idea was to dilute the Afro-Cuban roots of dances like the guaracha, the son, and the guaguanco, using production techniques culled from mainstream American pop. The songs were lengthened with smooth synthesizer intros, the beats became more supple, and the singer's voice became the most predominant element. Although it was loved by some and hated by others, salsa romantica has become an undeniable staple in contemporary tropical music.
An upbeat compilation, SALSA SWING presents some of the biggest names in salsa romantica. There's Gilberto Santa Rosa, known as "the gentleman of salsa" for his polite demeanor, and the more dangerous Frankie Ruiz, a dynamite singer who died at the early age of 40. There's also the classic style of Tito Rojas, the naive purity of newcomer Liliana, and the new hybrid of salsa and funk brought to fame by the New York ensemble Dark Latin Groove.