Ranchera literally means "music of the ranches," although it's also an urban phenomenon these days. Punctuated by horns and deeply romantic, sweeping string sections, Ranchera's themes are heavy -- love, loneliness and exile --and the singer's overwrought delivery usually reflects this. Alternately tender and despairing, a singer can sound as if s/he's nearly sobbing, then extend a final note beyond all reason. Live performances are often punctuated by trademark calls of "Ay! Ay! Ay!" Some may call it music for wallowing in, but wallowing seldom sounded so good.