Amor Prohibido

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This article is about the Selena album. For other uses, see Amor Prohibido.
Amor Prohibido
A woman is seen holding and compressing a small portion of her white shirt outwards while posing.
Studio album by Selena
Released March 13, 1994 (1994-03-13)
Recorded September 1993–March 1994
Length 25:51
Language Spanish
Label EMI Latin
Producer A.B. Quintanilla
Selena chronology
17 Super Exitos
Amor Prohibido
12 Super Exitos
Selena studio album chronology
Entre a Mi Mundo
Amor Prohibido
Dreaming of You
Singles from Amor Prohibido
  1. "Amor Prohibido"
    Released: April 13, 1994
  2. "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom"
    Released: July 1994
  3. "No Me Queda Más"
    Released: October 1994
  4. "Fotos y Recuerdos"
    Released: January 1995

Amor Prohibido (English: Forbidden Love) is the fourth studio album by American singer Selena, released on March 13, 1994, by EMI Latin. Following Selena y Los Dinos' accomplishment in achieving a fan base EMI Latin was aiming for, company president Jose Behar took advantage of those newly formed markets with another studio release. Finding it challenging to write another successful recording, the singer's brother A.B. Quintanilla enlisted band members Ricky Vela and Pete Astudillo with the writing process. The result created a sophisticated sound for Selena with recordings and production that was experimental, developing diverse musical styles and diversity from ranchera to hip-hop music. Overall, Amor Prohibido is a Tejano cumbia recording with a modernized synthesizer-rich delivery which uses a minimalist style that was quintessential in early 1990s Tejano music.

Songs recorded dealt with dysfunctional and volatile relationships; its lyrics spoke of unrequited love and cheating partners. Amor Prohibido also explored themes regarding social division and successful romantic relationships. The album continued the singer's streak of US number one singles on the US Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart with the title track "Amor Prohibido", "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", "No Me Queda Más", and "Fotos y Recuerdos". "Amor Prohibido" and "No Me Queda Más" became the most successful US Latin singles of 1994 and 1995, respectively. "Amor Prohibido", "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", "Fotos y Recuerdos", and "Si Una Vez" have been regarded as Selena's signature songs by music critics.

During her tour to promote Amor Prohibido, Selena broke attendance records at the Houston Astrodome and at the Calle Ocho Festival, with critics calling her one of the most successful US Latin touring acts. Amor Prohibido became the first Tejano record to peak at number one on the US Billboard Top Latin Albums chart, remaining in the top five for 98 consecutive weeks, a record which it still holds. The album also holds the record for most weeks at number one on the US Billboard Regional Mexican Albums chart at 96 successive weeks. It reached year-end sales of 500,000 copies in the US, the second Tejano recording to do so. Amor Prohibido received critical acclaim, with it being considered to be Selena's best work and her band's "crowning achievement". The album is credited in catapulting the Tejano market into mainstream success and was bought in territories unfamiliar with the genre. Amor Prohibido was nominated for Best Mexican-American Album at the 36th Grammy Awards. It won the Tejano Music Award for Album of the Year — Orchestra and the Lo Nuestro Award for Best Regional Mexican Album.

In March 1995, Selena was shot and killed by her friend and former manager of the singer's Selena Etc. boutiques, which resulted increased sales of Amor Prohibido and her catalogue titles. The record as well reentered the Billboard 200 chart, peaking at number 29 and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)—a signification of 500,000 shipped units. Within the next three weeks, it went on being certified platinum, with it finally being re-certified by the RIAA double diamond in February 2011 for exceeding shipments of two million copies. The album is tied second for the best-selling US Latin albums, and remains the best-selling Tejano recording of all time. Amor Prohibido has been ranked among the most essential Latin recordings of the past 50 years by Billboard magazine and nominated it among its list of the top 100 albums of all-time.

Production and development[edit]

Following the release of Selena's third studio album Entre a Mi Mundo and the launch of a clothing boutique in 1993,[1] work had begun on Amor Prohibido.[2] The album was building upon the success that president of EMI Latin's Jose Behar sought after; taking advantage of "newly discovered markets" after Selena achieved a fan base the company was aiming for.[3] The singer's brother A.B. Quintanilla, found it important for the music he produced for Selena to remain "fresh" and "to keep it moving forward", immediately conceptualizing projects and ideas following a release of any album.[2] Owed to Entre a Mi Mundo's commercial success and its career launching single "Como la Flor",[4] A.B. found it "difficult" to produce another successful recording.[2] He said in a 2002 interview that writing "a part two" to "Como la Flor" was unfeasible; he enlisted Selena y Los Dinos band members Pete Astudillo and Ricky Vela with the writing process on the album.[2] The result created a "more mature sound [for Selena]" which included recordings and production that was experimental.[2] It was the final album with any production and songwriting assistance by Astudillo, as we parted with Los Dinos to pursue a solo career.[2] The entire production of Amor Prohibido lasted six months, beginning in September 1993.[2] It took two weeks for the band to complete its post-production before the album was given a street date of March 13, 1994.[2] Vela noticed how the band became stagnant and had to rush with production because of an approaching deadline.[2] He said in an interview that it was common for the band to pre-arrange and sequenced the entire project at their homes before going into the studio to actually record the songs.[2]


Amor Prohibido was recorded in its entirety at record producer Manny Guerra's studio in San Antonio, Texas; it was engineered by its house engineer Brian "Red" Moore.[5] Selena's husband and guitarist Chris Pérez, wrote how the singer "never complained about her mix or the sound onstage" calling it "rare" among singers.[6] He further explained that he never heard her say "I don't want to do that." and said it was common for her to arrive at the studio during production of Amor Prohibido to "hum her part a little, and then go off to shop at the mall" informing them to not worry about her that she will "know what to do when [the band] are ready to record".[6] Pérez said how the band never "had to ask [Selena] to change something in the studio" and found the singer to have "track her vocals by herself, and she would be the one who would request a second take" in order to "add little harmonies she'd create" during recording.[6] The band's production sequence remain unchanged for Amor Prohibido: Selena and the band recorded their parts in the studio after they had perfected them during pre-production, A.B. would arranged and mixed them.[6] It took two weeks for Selena to record all ten tracks on the album.[2]

Chris Pérez (far right, pictured in 2012) took creative control on "Ya No"; adding electric guitar riffs and other musical styles into the recording the day before the band were scheduled to record Amor Prohibido.[2]

One song–"Bidi Bidi Bom Bom"–originated at band rehearsals starting off as an improvised song with few if any lyrics.[7] During a rehearsal, A.B. began playing a groove that enticed other band members to it; playing their respective instruments.[8] The band's drummer, Suzette Quintanilla, said "we were goofing off" and insisted that after A.B. began playing on his guitar, Selena started singing,[8] coming up with lyrics "as ideas came to her".[9] It started off about a cheerful fish swimming freely in the ocean and later turned into a recording played under a riff using a crybaby, which gave off a wah-wah sound.[2] The riff, which was improvised by Pérez, became the basis of the song before the writing process began.[2] Before A.B. began co-writing, Selena and Astudillo were in the process of writing the song in Spanish, he called it "kinda a little scary" finding the project first of its kind.[2]

After falling in love with Suzette and finding out about her marriage in September 1993, Vela wrote down his feelings (which he kept private) about her.[10] It was titled "No Me Queda Más" and it was given to Selena to record for Amor Prohibido.[10] Her brother asked her to record it a fifth time for which she replied that she had enough of recording the song, informing him "what you got there is what you got" and left shopping.[2] A.B. approached Pérez and asked if he would be interested in working with Vela on "Ya No", a song he wrote.[2] The band was scheduled to record the album the following day; Pérez found his behavior nothing out of the ordinary.[2] Pérez and Vela worked on the song throughout the night "coming up with drum sounds and programing the pattern for it" to finalize its structure before sunrise.[2] Despite his assistance, Pérez was dumbfounded on how A.B. gave him creative control for the track; he added electric guitar riffs and complimented it with his own musical style.[2]

Chrissie Hynde had prevented the release of Amor Prohibido until a translation of "Fotos y Recuerdos" were provided to her.[2] Perone found the song to have removed "Back on the Chain Gang"'s lyrical content but found it to have retained its musical foundation.[11]

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Selena suggested the idea of writing and recording a track based on a story of her grandparents titled "Amor Prohibido", she explained it to A.B. who began co-writing it with her and Astudillo.[2] Pérez wrote that during its recording session "there was a noticeable difference between her voice on ["Amor Prohibido"] and [the songs on] Entre a Mi Mundo, especially. I can't say that it was an improvement, exactly, because I always thought that Selena's voice sounded incredible. It's just that her voice was richer and more mature than before, and her singing was more emotional and powerful as a result."[12] While recording the song, Selena ad-libbed "oh baby"; her brother believed that the recording would "not have been the same if she had not added the 'oh baby' part."[13]

During a trip back from New York, A.B. overheard the Pretenders' 1983 single "Back on the Chain Gang" on the radio.[2] He had a nervous breakdown after his discern over the lack of materials the band had to record for the album.[2] The idea of reworking "Back on the Chain Gang" into a Spanish-language cumbia song had captivated him and he inquired Vela to write its translation.[2] After discovering that Selena had sampled her song, vocalist of the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde, prevented the band from releasing Amor Prohibido due to copyrights and demanded a translation from Vela before she approved a collective agreement.[2] Noticing it as the shortest track off of Amor Prohibido, musicologist James Perone found "Fotos y Recuerdos" to have "stripped some of the edge off of Hynde's text but retained the basic premise of ["Back on the Chain Gang"]".[14] Perone complimented A.B.'s arrangement as "an example of [his] universal Latin approach".[14]


Amor Prohibido contains a more diverse collection than her previous work, it had a wide-range in stylistic musical diversity from ranchera to hip-hop music.[15][16] Music critics believed it is an album of various genres;[17] finding it accessible to both traditional and contemporary Latin music fans.[18] According to American musicologist Frank Hoffman, who wrote in Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound, the album "demonstrated the band's wide range of styles".[19] Its content included musical influences of salsa, funk, R&B,[20] fusion of reggae and dancehall,[21] rock, polka, conjunto,[22] flamenco, mariachi,[23] and Tejano cumbia.[24] The latter genre was used heavily throughout Amor Prohibido, it was noticed by author Ed Morales as a mere reproduction of the "cumbia sound" that Tejano band La Mafia already established in the Tejano market;[25] though author Donald Clarke found Selena's delivery to be more of a modernized synthesizer-rich sound.[26] Musicologist Matt Doeden found Amor Prohibido to have "a new sound" that was "designed to appeal to a wider audience."[20] Perone found the composition mixture of the album to be rock and dance music.[11] Overall, Amor Prohibido is a Tejano recording,[25] encased with an "authentically Tejano sound",[27] which uses a minimalist style that was quintessential in early 1990s Tejano music.[25]

Songs, such as "Tus Desprecios", with dysfunctional and volatile relationships used typical storylines of mariachi recordings.[16] It used a conjunto style, where Tejano music originated from, and included a "trilling" accordion which served as its signature base.[5] Perone wrote that the song "exhibit[s] the ease" of Selena's transition from "middle-of-the-road pop ballad to Latin dance music to [Tejano] style".[16] Another track, "No Me Queda Más" uses identical synopsis performed in ranchera songs, with the female singer agonizing over the end of a relationship.[28][29] Its lyrics explore unrequited love; when the singer's lover leaves her for another woman, she nevertheless wishes them "nothing but happiness."[29][30] Her "powerful" and "emotive" overdubbed vocals were found to be "low [and] sober", sung in a "desperate" and "sentimental" way.[29][30][31]

A 20 second sample of "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", which uses "richer" scoring, less-driven synthesizers, and treble-heavy arrangements than the first four songs on Amor Prohibido.[11]

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Author and contributor to The New York Times, Joe Nick Patoski found "Fotos y Recuerdos" to use the same melody of the Pretenders' new wave sound, and noticed how Pérez's guitar-lead emulated the style of the aforementioned band's James Honeyman-Scott.[32] The rock and house music[19] track features a synth-driven violin, ostinatish-percussion, and a steel drum under a cumbia beat.[14][29][33] Perone found the song to have "small hints" of music found in Jamaica, Cuba, and Trinidad and Tobago.[14] Patoski believed "Techno Cumbia" contained the "most popular rhythm [at the time] coursing through the Latin music world".[5] Patoski further wrote that the track "honored" it by "updating it with vocal samples, second line drumming from New Orleans, and horn charts inspired by soca from the Caribbean."[5] "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", which also drew music from the Caribbean, uses "richer" scoring, less-driven synthesizers, and treble-heavy arrangements than the first four songs on Amor Prohibido.[11] Infused with cumbia and reggae,[34] its onomatopoeic title suggests the sound of a heart palpitating when a person longs to be the protagonist's object of affection.[24] "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" is musically similar to "El Chico del Apartamento 512"; Perone called them recurring themes where the protagonist is "attracted to a young man".[11] The song uses thicker-scoring, lesser-driven synthesizers, and its hook is found to be accessible to limited Spanish-speaking listeners than "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom".[11] In "El Chico del Apartamento 512", the protagonist is hit on by several men whom the singer has no interest in, except for the song's title "boy in apartment 512"; she finds enough courage to knock on the guy's door to find a woman to have answered it who asked her if she was searching for her brother.[11] Perone found its lyrics to be "lighthearted" and a relief from the album's recordings of heartbreak and despair.[11]

15-second sample of "Amor Prohibido" in which the lyrics of forbidden love between two people of different social classes can be heard; critics found its lyrics to be ambiguous by the LGBT community who altered it with prohibited love between same-sex couples.[35][36]

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Lyrically, the title track "Amor Prohibido", speaks of social division between a poverty-stricken female who falls in love with a man from the opposite social class.[30] Its lyrics have been analyzed by authors, musicologists, and critics, who found them relevant to issues facing the LGBT community.[35][36] They have found them to be ambiguous and to have been altered with prohibited romance between same-sex couples,[36][37] a look into modern society's views of romantic relationships,[25][38] and interpreted its lyrics to Romeo & Juliet.[39] In "Cobarde", the protagonist recognizes that her lover cheated on her and noticed how he is unable to face her after feeling guilty of his behavior; she repeatedly calls him a "coward".[11] Two other tracks, "Ya No" and "Si Una Vez", delve into heartaches of failed relationships with the former angrily refusing to take back a cheating partner.[11]

Release and promotion[edit]

Amor Prohibido was released in the United States on March 13, 1994.[40] It was made available for consumer consumption after Selena signed a recording contract with SBK Records—pop division of EMI Latin—to crossover into mainstream American pop music in November 1993.[41] After news reached Billboard magazine, Amor Prohibido was given a spotlight feature in its album reviews; calling its release a continuation of her "torrid streak".[22] The band gave Argentine arranger Bebu Silvetti "No Me Queda Más" to be reworked into a pop-style track,[10] and president of EMI Latin Jose Behar asked Silvetti to "sweeten" the song to boost its airplay and chart performance.[42] Silvetti completed the project by August 13, 1994 and Amor Prohibido was re-released with a red sticker indicating that it included a "new version" of the song.[43] Behar said in a Billboard interview that the song was "internalized" without affecting the originality of its recording.[42] During her twenty-year celebration of releasing music, Amor Prohibido was repackaged and was made available for physical and digital purchase on September 22, 2002.[43] The limited edition version included Selena's duet with the Barrio Boyzz on their 1994 single "Donde Quiera Que Estés", music videos for "Amor Prohibido" and "No Me Queda Más", as well as with spoken liner notes containing commentary recollections of each track provided by the singer's family, friends, and her band.[43]

After recording "Donde Quiera Que Estés", Selena went on a mini-tour with the Barrio Boyzz that enabled her to visit New York City, Argentina, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Central America, where she was not well known.[44][45] Selena made several appearances on television and in live shows to promote Amor Prohibido. Most notably, Selena's performance at the Houston Astrodome on February 26, 1995, has been called one of her best performances.[46] It was highly priased by critics for breaking attendance records set by country music musicians Vince Gill, Reba Mcentire, and George Strait, at 65,000.[47][48] Her performance in the Astrodome was emulated by Jennifer Lopez as her role as the singer for the 1997 biopic film about Selena.[49] Her concert at the Calle Ocho Festival in Miami, broke attendance record with an estimated 100,000 in attendance.[47][50] Her performance on a November 1994 episode of Sabado Gigante was ranked among the most memorable moments of the show's 53-year history.[51] Selena performed "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", "No Me Queda Más", "El Chico del Apartamento 512", and "Si Una Vez" on the Johnny Canales Show, which was later released as part of the host's "favorite songs" on DVD.[52] Selena's performance of "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" on July 31, 1994 at Six Flags AstroWorld was the subject of a video released by the Houston Chronicle for their segment "On This Forgotten Day".[53] Ramiro Burr, of Billboard, called the singer's tour for her album a "tour de force".[54] Selena was named "one of Latin music's most successful touring acts" during her Amor Prohibido tour.[55]


Tracks released from the album continued the singer's streak of US number one singles. The title track, "Amor Prohibido", was the album's leadoff single on April 13, 1994.[56] It peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart on the week ending June 11–her first as a solo artist–and remained atop the chart for nine consecutive weeks; becoming the most successful US Latin single of 1994.[57][58] "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" followed in July, reaching the top of the chart in its eleventh week on October 29, it remained at number one for four consecutive weeks.[59] "No Me Queda Más", was released in November, peaking at number one for seven nonconsecutive weeks.[60] The single feared much better in 1995, remaining entranced in the top ten of the Hot Latin Songs chart for twelve consecutive weeks,[61] earning it the most successful US Latin single that year.[57] The final single to be released, "Fotos y Recuerdos", did so in January 1995, it peaked posthumously at number one following the shooting death of Selena on March 31, 1995.[62] At the time of her death, the song was at number four;[63] it remained atop the Hot Latin Songs chart for seven weeks.[64] It finished 1995 as the second most performed track in the US.[57]

It is believed by Mario Tarradell of The Dallas Morning News that singles released from Amor Prohibido had alleviated Selena into Latin radio success–who previously did not take the singer seriously.[65] "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" was ranked number 54 on the Dallas Observer's list of the Best Texas Songs of All-time.[66] It was listed as an honorable mention of the top ten best Tejano songs of all-time by Billboard, while "No Me Queda Más" ranked ninth.[67] Lisa Leal of KVTV said that "No Me Queda Más" and "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom", continue to be popular with fans and are Spanish-language counterparts of the Beatles' 1965 single, "Yesterday", in fan popularity.[68] It is believed by author Kristine Burns that the two aforementioned singles aided the growth in Selena's fan base.[69] "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" was the most played song from Amor Prohibido on Mexican radio,[28] while its titular single "Amor Prohibido" remains popular among Spanish-speaking countries.[70]

Commercial performance[edit]

Amor Prohibido debuted at number three on the United States Billboard Top Latin Albums chart on the week ending April 9, 1994.[71] The following week, the album rose to number two and received greatest gainer honors that week.[71] Amor Prohibido peaked at number one in its tenth week, becoming the second album to place first on the then-newly formed Top Latin Albums chart; displacing Cuban singer Gloria Estefan's Mi Tierra from the top spot.[72] Sales of Amor Prohibido were so vigorous it nearly entered the US Billboard 200; the set became the first Tejano record to peak at number on the Top Latin Albums chart.[73] The event marked Selena as the "hottest artist in the Latino market".[73] The following week, the album entered the Billboard 200 chart at number 183, it became the first record by a non-crossover act to do so since Mexican singer Luis Miguel's album Aries (1993).[74] Amor Prohibido and Mi Tierra switched back and forth from the first and second positions of the Top Latin Albums chart for five consecutive weeks.[75] On July 16, the album debuted at number 18 on the US Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart; Amor Prohibido ranked at number one in the South Central United States region.[76] By May 1995, Amor Prohibido outsold other competing Tejano albums; leading the list of the best-selling Tejano records of 1995.[77] Within 19 weeks of release, Amor Prohibido outsold her previous recordings.[78]

After 48 weeks at number one on the US Billboard Regional Mexican Albums chart, Amor Prohibido was displaced by Bronco's Rompiendo Barreras.[79] Before Selena was murdered in March 1995, Amor Prohibido remained within the top five of the Top Latin Albums chart for 53 consecutive weeks.[80] Her sales, in the four weeks preceding her death, for Amor Prohibido were slightly above 2,000 units a week.[81] In the immediate week before her death, Amor Prohibido sold 1,700 units.[82] The media attention the singer had helped increased sales of Amor Prohibido as well as her catalogue titles.[80] The album reached number one for its fifth duration on the issue dated April 15, 1995 to sales of 12,040 units; a 580% increase over the previous week.[80] It subsequently re-entered the Billboard 200 chart at number 92 and at number one on the Regional Mexican Albums chart.[80] Over at the Billboard 200, Amor Prohibido sold an additional 28,238 units (a 136% increase) and rose to number 36.[81] The album peaked at number 29 during its fifth week on the Billboard 200.[83] Amor Prohibido remained at number one on the Top Latin Albums chart for 16 weeks following her death, until Selena's posthumously released planned-crossover album Dreaming of You replaced it on August 5.[84] The album remained behind Dreaming of You for seven weeks.[85] After 98 weeks of its release, Amor Prohibido dropped off the top five of the Top Latin Albums chart,[86] though it remained within the top ten for 12 additional weeks,[87] a record it still holds.[88] It also holds the record for most weeks at number one on the Regional Mexican Albums chart at 96 weeks, and is the only album to reach number one in three different calendar years.[89]

It ended 1994 as the fourth best-selling US Latin album and the best-selling regional Mexican album.[59] In 1995, it ranked second to Dreaming of You for the best-selling Latin album, while being the best-selling regional Mexican recording.[90] Amor Prohibido remained the best-selling regional Mexican album in 1996, while the record became the ninth best-selling Latin album of that year.[91] It also ranked as the second best-selling catalog Latin album of 1997,[92] while in 1998 it placed third.[93] Its ineligibility on the Top Latin Albums chart followed Billboard's revised catalog criteria on January 18, 1997, where it was removed from the list and began charting on the newly formed Latin Catalog Albums chart; positioned at number two.[94] Since 1997, Amor Prohibido has spent 13 nonconsecutive weeks at number one on the Top Latin Catalog Albums chart including three weeks in 2010.[95] By November 1994, the album sold 200,000 units in the US; a report showed the singer as being one of the top-selling acts in Mexico.[96] It became the second Tejano album to reach year-end sales of 500,000 copies, previously only been accomplished by La Mafia.[97] Despite this, Nielsen Soundscan reported that the recording actually sold 184,000 units by April 1995.[80] According to Behar, the sales figures Nielsen SoundScan provided did not include sales in small shops specializing in Latin music.[98][99] That May, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the album gold, for shipments of 500,000 units.[100] Within three weeks, it was certified platinum for increments of one million shipped units.[101] Amor Prohibido became the first Tejano record to receive a platinum certification.[82] By June 1995, Amor Prohibido sold 1.5 million units in the US.[102] As of February 2010, Amor Prohibido has been certified double diamond (Latin), denoting shipments of two million units.[103] It is tied at second for best-selling Latin album of all-time in the US with 2.5 million copies sold worldwide, behind only her album Dreaming of You.[104] Amor Prohibido also ranks as the best-selling Tejano album of all-time.[82][105]

Critical reception[edit]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[106]
Spin 5/10 stars[107]
Entertainment Weekly B[108]
The Monitor A[109]

The vast majority of contemporary reviews were positive, with Amor Prohibido receiving a widespread critical acclaim. Music critics found it to have been Selena's best work,[25][110] calling it her band's "crowning achievement".[111] Other critics, such as Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine and American musicologist James Perone, initially panned the album before leaving a positive overview of Amor Prohibido. Erlewine wrote that Amor Prohibido was "slightly uneven" and noticed how Selena was successful at "[pulling] across the weaker material" though later writing that it is "her strongest album" which he called "a more consistent release [than Dreaming of You]" and added that it was an "effective introduction" which highlighted "why she was so beloved by Tejano fans".[40] Initially using "cutting edge technology" at the time, Perone found the sounds in Amor Prohibido to have sounded dated though it provided "ample evidence" of the singer's success.[11]

In a September 1994 review in The New York Times, writer Peter Watrous called the music in Amor Prohibido to have "sounded completely up to date" and found it "no way alienated its country, working-class constituency."[112] Joe Nick Patoski, also from The New York Times, called the album "the waterfront" of a recording "of which a supergroup is made" having "touching all the right bases".[5] Patoski said it "rocked, sizzled, and simmered" with "enough lip service to roots to maintain a sense of balance."[5] Daisann McLane of Rolling Stone found that in the Tejano market Selena "stood apart" calling her "one of the only important female singers [in Tejano music]" and found Amor Prohibido to have the "most distinctive sound" with production perfected by A.B.[21] McLane believed the "Selena sound" A.B. created would "have ridden Selena all the way to the top" had it not been for her death.[21] Paul Verna of Billboard, called Amor Prohibido the singer's "blockbuster album",[113] which was echoed by the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.[114] A Billboard review found the album to be transparent in sound for those unfamiliar with its musical diversity, saying: "you couldn't resist."[23]

Ed Morales saw Amor Prohibido as having "hints of a subtle evolution in [Selena's] music" but found it to be a disappointment knowing it was leading up to her best work, which Selena did not get to live to see.[25] Spin magazine considered Amor Prohibido to be her "most interesting" record.[107] David Browne of Entertainment Weekly called the album her "sleekest" record.[108] La Jackson wrote in 2102 Musicology, that the recording was a "notch up" in Selena's career.[115] Matt Doeden called it a "smash", believing the singer was itching her way of becoming "Tejano's first megastar."[20] Roger Burns wrote in Icons of Latino America, that Amor Prohibido became Selena's signature album.[116] Author Jacqueline Robb wrote that it was a "victory" album for Selena.[117] Biographer Himilce Novas, called Amor Prohibido an "overnight sensation",[105] while San Antonio Express-News's Ramiro Burr found it to have been "hinting at the pop potential of a band at its creative peak."[111] Matt Steib of San Antonio Current, named Amor Prohibido a "desert island album for Selena fans."[118] The majority of the recordings found in Amor Prohibido have been named Selena's signature songs including the title track "Amor Prohibido",[119] "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom",[30] "Fotos y Recuerdos",[120] and "Si Una Vez".[119]


At the time of its release, Amor Prohibido was regarded as being "highly popular" in Hispanic communities.[11] Amor Prohibido exemplified the "generational split" within the Tejano market at the time; musicians found the era to be "more sophisticated" and noticed how it was unnecessary to explore their roots to have successful recordings.[5] With Amor Prohibido, Selena catapulted the Tejano market to "an unprecedented level of mainstream success" and brought it to territories unfamiliar with the genre.[23][46][121] Its sales for a Tejano record were "unprecedented".[5] The album popularized Tejano music among a younger and wider audience than at any other time in the genre's history.[122][123] Amor Prohibido was the first record many young Hispanic females bought "with lyrics in the language [their] blood is rooted in".[124]

After Amor Prohibido's release, Selena was considered "bigger than Tejano itself", and broke barriers in the Latin music world.[121] Critics found the recording to have elevated Selena as a leading female in the Latin music market.[96] It established Selena as a leading performer among young singers who were crossing over into the mainstream market.[125] Mario Tarradell of The Dallas Morning News, believed Selena "conquered the Latin pop landscape",[126] while Herón Márquez called it a "landmark success".[127] In a November 1994 Billboard issue, it was named among other Latin recordings to have helped the English-speaking markets across the US show that American Latinos were able to sell albums in the country that historically overlooked Latin music recordings.[96] The album was named on Tom Moon's list of the 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die: A Listener's Life List (2008).[128] Billboard magazine ranked Amor Prohibido among the most essential Latin recordings of the past 50 years,[23] and nominated it among its list of the top 100 albums of all-time.[129]


Selena dominated the 1995 Tejano Music Awards, winning every category she was eligible in.[130] Amor Prohibido won the Tejano Music Award for Album of the Year — Orchestra,[130] while the title track won Record of the Year and Single of the Year.[131] "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" was Song of the Year, while "Techno Cumbia" received the award for Best Crossover Song.[131] Amor Prohibido received a nomination for Best Mexican-American Album at the 37th Annual Grammy Awards.[130] At the Premio Lo Nuestro 1995, Amor Prohibido won Best Regional Mexican Album and its titular single won Regional Mexican Song of the Year.[97] At the second annual Billboard Latin Music Awards in 1995, Amor Prohibido won Regional Mexican Album of the Year, Female and its namesake song won Regional Mexican Song of the Year while "No Me Queda Más" received the award for Music Video of the Year.[15]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Amor Prohibido"  
2. "No Me Queda Más"   Ricky Vela
  • A.B.
  • Silvetti
3. "Cobarde"   José Luis Borrego Borrego 2:50
4. "Fotos y Recuerdos"   A.B. 2:33
5. "El Chico Del Apartamento 512"  
  • A.B.
  • Vela
A.B. 3:28
6. "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom"  
  • Selena
  • Astudillo
  • A.B.
A.B. 3:25
7. "Techno Cumbia"  
  • A.B.
  • Astudillo
A.B. 3:43
8. "Tus Desprecios"  
  • A.B.
  • Vela
A.B. 3:24
9. "Si Una Vez"  
  • A.B.
  • Astudillo
A.B. 2:42
10. "Ya No"  
  • A.B.
  • Vela
A.B. 3:56
Total length:

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits are taken from the album's liner notes.[2]

Technical and production


Weekly charts[edit]

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1994) Position
US Top Latin Albums[59] 4
US Regional Mexican Albums[59] 1
Chart (1995) Position
US Billboard 200[90] 164
US Top Latin Albums[90] 2
US Regional Mexican Albums[90] 1
Chart (1996) Position
US Top Latin Albums[91] 6
US Regional Mexican Albums[91] 1
Chart (1997) Position
US Latin Catalog Albums[92] 2
Chart (1998) Position
US Latin Catalog Albums[93] 3


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Mexico 400,000[62]
United States (RIAA)[103] 20× Platinum (Latin) 2,500,000[104]

^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]


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  127. ^ Márquez 2001, p. 88.
  128. ^ Moon 2008, p. 990.
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External links[edit]