By the early 1980s, bachata's popularity could not be denied. Due to popular demand, more radio stations began playing bachata, and bachateros soon found themselves performing on television as well. Bachata in the meantime had begun to take on a more dance-hall sound: tempos increased, guitar playing became punchier, and call and response singing more prevalent. Bachata style merengues, or guitar merengues, also became an increasingly important part of the bachata repertoire. was the first to record with electric guitar in his 1987 bachata-merengue hit, "Mujeres hembras".
By the early 1990s, the sound was further modernized and the bachata scene was dominated by two new young stars: and . Both incorporated a large number of bachata-merengues in their repertoires. Santos, Vargas and the many new style bachateros who would follow achieved a level of stardom which was unimaginable to the bachateros who preceded them. They were the first generation of bachata artists and received all the hype and image branding typical of commercial pop music elsewhere. It was also at this time that bachata began to emerge internationally as a music of Hispanic dance-halls.
Background: According to leader/lead singer Luis Mateo, a retired professional fighter who crossed over into the music business years ago, Mateo y los Bachateros was formed approximately seven years ago. Mateo is of Puerto Rican heritage but was drawn to the guitar-driven style of Bachata, which originated in the Dominican Republic. Luis mentioned the groups Aventura and Monchy y Alexandra as two key influences. The group does a combination of originals and covers. Some of the material is bilingual. As of February 2012, the members are Luis Mateo, leader/lead vocal; Douglas Perez, lead vocal; Victor Mateo, bass; Jose Rodrigues, piano; Victor Torres, tambor;, Manny, guiro; Javier Mendez, lead guitar, and Ricardo Vazquez, guitar. The guitar/vocal driven instrumentation gives the group a different sound from other horn-driven groups in the area that play Bachatas, and Mateo's group focuses on Bachata and Merengue (it also does the Mexican style of Cumbia for some performances.) The group has toured in several states.