One Random Single a Day #77: “Miguel e Isabel” (1966) by Luis Aguilé

Now here’s someone I would have undoubtedly been swooning over had I been a teen or young adult in the mid-60s. Luis Aguilé was an Argentine singer and songwriter, with the bulk of his recording career taking place throughout the 60s and 70s. Many of his recorded songs fall in line with the styles of the traditional romantic ballad – from the likes of Frank Sinatra and such – but he’s also known to inject some uptempo pop stylings into these traditions as well. He is known as an early innovator of “la canción de verano” which literally translates to “the song of summer” and refers to Spanish-language tracks with catchy lyrics and danceable rhythms. Popular recordings of Aguilé’s such as “La fuerza del amor” and “Juanita banana” effectively demonstrate this tendency toward romantic sensibilities with a large helping of uptempo fun vibes thrown in for good measure. Many have also noted his charming wit and demeanor during his stints as actor and showman, so that definitely ties in with his breed of music.

Nonetheless, Aguilé wasn’t just a one-note player – his talent can also be shown in recordings of his straight ballads and more lower tempo fare. His most renown recording is probably “Cuando salí de Cuba”, a sentimental and poignant string-laden song that has since been adopted as an official anthem of sorts for Cuban exiles and their descendants. This is certainly helped by the fact that Aguilé really doesn’t have too bad of a voice at all, singing out seemingly every line in sultry, delicate tenor. Such is the case with the single for today as well, “Miguel e Isabel”. Without even translating the lyrics to this one, the weeping instrumental coupled with the performer’s impassioned vocals present a fully sentimental ballad, fully involved on the melodramatic and romantic side of things.

Judging from the title alone, it’s clear to see that this is a love song of sorts between a man and a woman (or perhaps a boy and a girl). With a quick translation, it’s clear that the romantic tale is presented with perhaps a bit more French sensibility than we’re used to seeing in a Spanish performer. The very first line of the chorus – “Miguel e Isabel perdieron su amor” – translates loosely to “Miguel and Isabel have lost their love”, so you can imagine the road it takes from then on. There’s actually some pretty clever lyrics thrown in here that express the contradictory dynamic between our two protagonists. I am especially a fan of the couplet that declares how one lives for their betrothed, while the other dies for them. It really paints quite a vivid portrait of a dying relationship, especially of one that seems to be withering away despite how hard both parties desperately try to make it work.

I guess if there’s anything I dislike about this one, it’s the couplet at the end that suggests that Miguel has been unfaithful to Isabel, yet Isabel finding herself alone and unloved is of fault of her own because of her unwillingness to forgive him. It just makes sense that if one member of a relationship broke a promise kept between the two of them, it’s up to the other member to choose whether or not to forgive them for this folly. And they certainly shouldn’t be shamed for making their choice, whether it be to help make the relationship work or otherwise – a choice that isn’t an easy one to make in the first place. Of course, the lyrics are pretty simple enough in the first place that this misstep could probably be ignored in place of the other, much greater positive qualities this track has going for it. At least I can be certain of Luis Aguilé being a name I really need to look into in later times.

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