TEN LATIN SONGS THAT ARE BETTER THAN “DESPACITO” BECAUSE “DESPACITO” IS TRASH
The Grammys is not the award show I go to in search for good music recommendations. It is the kind of institution that gives Macklemore an award for Best Rapper without even a whiff of irony. They’re able to sleep at night after denying Beyoncé the Best Album of the Year—TWICE. The last time they showed any good sense was with The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and it basically worked like a curse on Hill’s career. TL,DR: I am not impressed.
So it came as no surprise that “Despacito”, the song that tortured every cell of my Hispanidad last summer, has been nominated for a gazillion Grammys. Or maybe 3. I don’t know, in my view one nomination is one too many so there’s no point in keeping track. Let me be clear: “Despacito” is trash in the same way that “Gangnam Style”, that Chumbawamba song, and most of Taylor Swift’s career is trash. It’s harmless, it’s catchy, you probably used it as the soundtrack to some regrettable make out sesh on the dance floor. It is NOT, however, a good song. It’s pure fluff, utterly set in that mediocre artistic plane that satisfies the most Basic. Luis Fonsi is pretty much the Blake Shelton of Puerto Rico. True, Mainstream America would lose its panties if he were to be named the Sexiest Man Alive cause even a blah Puerto Rican is 1000 times sexier than Blake Shelton. My point still stands. Daddy Yankee is to reggaeton what Ja Rule is to rap, and I’m in shock he wasn’t somehow involved in the Fyre Festival fiasco. Justin Bieber comes from Canada, the direct antonym to Latin America according to my thesaurus. Is this the kind of trio that should be involved in some Latin Invasion revival? I think not.
You have all been duped, my lovelies. Do not fear, for I am here to guide you through the musical waters of Latin music, where treasures can be found, if you dive past the Macarenas and the Hips That Don’t Lie. Here are 10 fantastic songs you should use to wean yourself from your destructive “Despacito” addiction, based on the terrible reasons you decided to like it.
Is This Salsa? I Feel Like This Is Salsa.
For fuck’s sake, NO. Stop categorizing every single song written in Spanish as salsa. It’s like saying Korn plays country cause they’re from the US of A. If that’s what your body craves, then at least start by listening to one of the greats: Hector Lavoe.
Is This Bachata? I Feel Like This Is Bachata.
This is the Millennial version of the salsa confusion. I get it, Pedro in your dorm put on Romeo Santos as some sort of Latin Lover move and it was the most turned on you’ve ever been. “Despacito” is NOT bachata and Romeo Santos is a hack. I much prefer the God Damn Sultriness of one Vicente Garcia, who is way too dreamy for words.
I Swear I Didn’t Vote for Trump, but I Still Need an Anglo Pop Star to Guide Me Through This Strange New World
Ugh, fine. At least have some dignity and steer yourself away from The Biebs and into the welcoming embrace of Queen Bey, who makes an appearance in J. Balvin and Willy Willam’s “Mi Gente.”
I Love Reggaeton, Don’t @ Me
Reggaeton proves my theory that even the most annoying of musical genres can be elevated with the right talent. Residente is a good example of that and his self-titled album is an ode to his ancestry, inspired by a DNA test that traced his roots to 10 different locations around the world. This is my favorite song from his latest work. It’s not reggaeton, don’t @ me.
I Want to Believe Shakira Is Involved
She’s not, get over it. What I’m not over? Her blonde bombshell transformation. I miss the good old days of Shakira, when she sang mopy songs on a guitar. Thankfully, there are tons of Latinas that pull at my heartstrings with their subtle artistry. I’ve been a fan of Natalia LaFourcade for ages and ages.
Is Shakira Not Involved Because of the Machismo that Plagues Your People?
I’ll discuss Latin American machismo as soon as you explain how 53% of white women voted for sexual-assault perv Trump and 60% of them voted for pedophile Roy Moore. Until then, you don’t get to mention machismo to me ever again. Unless you’re a POC, in which case pull a seat at the table so we can rant about the patriarchal structures of our respective societies. “Despacito” is a male-creation because it is trash; “Despacito” is trash because it is a male-creation. It’s a chicken-or-egg situation. It is not, however, indicative of a lack of Latina musical talent. I mean, check out La Santa Cecilia.
Ok, But She’s From Los Angeles, and Obvi Liberated Thanks to Our West Coast Liberal Ideals
If you need further evidence to prove that Latinas both in and outside the US are the baddest bitches in existence, look no further than the iconoclastic gay Dominican novelist/singer Rita Indiana.
My Great-Great-Great-Grandpa was from Oaxaca and I Thought “Despacito” Would Be My Way Back to My Roots, but Puerto Rico Is Not the Same as Mexico. Thoughts?
Dive deep into Café Tacuba’s entire catalogue then. Dudes basically mine every single regional instrument to create their effusive songs.
I Once Had a Torrid Love Affair with An Argentinian Named Facundo, Who Looked More Aryan than the Hitler Youth Brigade. I Was Hoping “Despacito” Would Give Me the Same Thrills but I Guess I Need Some Southern Cone Loving, If You Know What I Mean.
I sure do! I could go on and on about Argentinian music, having spent the majority of my teen years in Buenos Aires. Though I did not get any Southern Cone Loving, you creep. For now, I’ll go to a classic—Soda Stereo. RIP, Gustavo Cerati.
I Studied Abroad in Cusco, Man, and Like Saw My Soul on Ayahuasca and I’m Sure the Spirit of the Incan Emperor Atahualpa Is Now Trapped in My Body. I Thought “Despacito” Would Free it From Its Psychological Prison But No Dice. Suggestions?
You’re the 45th person asking me for help after a bad Ayahuasca trip, as if all Peruvians knew what to do with the mystical forces of our mysterious civilizations. I mean, we do, but I’m not about to spill those secrets all over the Internet. I only have one bit of advice: STOP DRINKING AYAHUASCA, PEOPLE, AND TAKE YOUR MEDS INSTEAD. We don’t have time for your astral babblings. The music from Bareto may help though.
Now you know that Latin music is so much more than the travesty that is “Despacito.” MAY WE NEVER SPEAK OF IT AGAIN.