When a merengue band slows down, it's playing bachata, the other music of the Dominican Republic. Marked by the bright sound of cleanly plucked guitar, bachata moves at the same pace as Latin America's other romantic ballad form, the bolero. But bachata is very different. A music of the underclass, bachata was banned from mainstream radio for decades because of its tough, streetwise subject matter. Singers openly discussed crime and prostitution in their songs, and though their albums were top sellers, bachata records never appeared on official charts. In the 1990s, mainstream musicians began to experiment with the style, and bachata was rehabilitated.