Where it all began with Flans and their debut album in 1985
Sometimes I need to step away from all the new music I review daily and go back to the moment that I fell in love with Latin music. I remember the day vividly when my life changed, and it was because of two very particular pop groups, Flans, and Timbiriche. Sometimes, those names go hand in hand when thinking of Mexican pop in the ’80s, but for me, they were an important part of my life.
I guess the review of Flans’ debut album starts with a little brief history of myself if I may. Like most “gringas,” my first exposure to Latin music began with Menudo. And while they were why I was watching the television program, “Siempre En Domingo,” they weren’t the reason I got into Latin music. I didn’t speak Spanish at the time, and a lot less than I do now. I sat in front of the television hoping that I would see Menudo. No, they didn’t come on. Instead, my eyes opened up wide when I saw Flans and Timbiriche hit the stage that night. Flans performed their classic and most popular songs, “Bazar” and “No Controles.”
I fell in love. Instantly! I don’t know what it was about them that made me stop and pay attention, but they did. At that moment, who cared about Menudo. I needed to find out everything I could about Flans (and of course, Timbiriche). I ventured into the “Hispanic” neighborhoods to find Flans and even dared to cross the border in Tijuana. This was a happier time before passports and security.
With the discovery of Flans, a new world of music and culture enveloped my world as well as other American fangirls
I found the album in Mexico, and I was ecstatic. Inside the album was a little booklet that had bios of the girls, lyrics, etc. I even bought myself “Cancioneros” (songbooks that taught you the lyrics and how to play the music on a keyboard). I spent my first year of Latin music translating each song into English with a Spanish/English dictionary. I wanted to learn Spanish and to know the songs and everything about the girls. I didn’t do that for Menudo two years earlier when I found them in 1983. But, it’s 1985 and Flans was now in my life.
Each day, I turned on the Spanish language channel and found video shows, news programs, and everything. Flans were everywhere, and this made me happy. We began making regular trips to Tijuana each weekend to look for magazines and more records. I didn’t know this was Flans’ first album, remember…I didn’t speak Spanish. I just knew I loved the music and the girls.
With each day I focused on Flans, I began witnessing other artists’ videos and performances. This is why I said that Flans changed my life. I wrapped my “American” world into the Latin music world and began collecting music from every artist I saw. Timbiriche, Yuri, Tatiana…they all became part of my musical repertoire. Hence, my world changed and for the better. Because of Flans, I have made some of the best friends of my childhood. Yvette Rosales, who was a huge Flans fan and had the opportunity to travel with the girls at one time, became my best friend. James and Alex were some other people I met along the way who were fans of Flans too.
With all that said…Flans’ debut album is a masterpiece, yet it may not be the group’s best album. I think the debate of the Best Flans album is still ongoing. In my years of analyzing music, I have learned so much about the album that I didn’t know then. The first song on the album, “Me Gusta Ser Sonrisa” is a cover of the Britpop band, Bucks Fizz’s “I’d Like To Say I Love You.” They also covered another Bucks Fizz song on the album El Mundo De Dum Dum. The song, “No Controles,” was written by Ignacio Cano from the band Mecano. Nacho also wrote “Me He Enamorado De Un Fan” from the Luz Y Sombra album.
Flans 1985 debut album is an important part of Latin pop’s musical history
This album was also the start of the career of another artist. In the song, “Susana,” the male voice belongs to Juan Carlos Nieto Chao, better known as Chao from the late ’80s and early ’90s. The song didn’t say it was a duet, and I didn’t realize this until I met Chao in 1988 in Los Angeles at the Caravana Melody tour. This concert tour also marked my first and only meeting of Flans. Though, I did try to meet them at both Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm during those shows.
Flans’ debut album was life-changing and an important part of musical history, as well as mine. It was at this time that pop music changed in Mexico. Before this, Mexican pop music was most ballad singers. This was a time when pop music began being dominated by youthful acts like Flans. You can almost say that Flans changed music history.