I’m a fan of pop music, along with most other categories of music. Pop music is great for those moments when not much thought is required about the music, but maybe you need something in the background. It’s also great for dancing around the living room with my 1 year old, who is truly entranced by the colorful videos and bopping melodies.
Being a world traveler married to a foreigner, I appreciate that our US chart isn’t the end all be all of music. In our house, we frequently search for the Top 40 from other countries. (Mainly the UK, since my wife is a Brit)
On a recent trip to Italy for work, we had the pleasure of discovering a particularly fun one entitled “L’esercito del Selfie” by Takagi & Ketra. It’s super catchy, even without understanding a word of the lyrics. I think it could stand alone in the US charts, even without an English word. As an aside, the translated lyrics ring true to the modern world. “L’esercito del Selfie” translates to “The Army of the Selfie”. This fine gentlemen would like to get laid, or at least get a little touch, but his lady is too busy trying to get more likes on social media. Very relevant.
Back to the problem. For this excellent song to be released here in the US, some American record label is going to force some American singer to chime some lyrics on top of an already perfect song.
“Despacito” by Luis Fonzi and Daddy Yankee
The original is an awesome homage to reggaeton-pop style music. It’s seductively latin, and makes me wish I had entirely more rhythm than I do. However, this doesn’t stop me from dancing EVERY time this song comes on my radio/Pandora/YouTube. It is excellent. And the translation, whew, let’s just say this isn’t the song you want your teenagers practicing their Spanish skills on. It’s Dirty. But here’s the rub.
“Despacito” by Luis Fonzi, Daddy Yankee, and that idiotic Canadian Justin Bieber
The addition of Bieber was marketing tactic by record labels for us dumb English speakers. Clearly, we’re not capable of enjoying a song without bastardizing it by adding some lyrics that do nothing for the flow or meaning of the song.
I had considered this to be a one off, I can’t remember any other crimes such as these.
Then this happened….
“Mi Gente” by Willie Williams and J. Balvin
Funny enough, this was in the charts in Italy at the same time as “L’esercito del Selfie”, so my wife and I got to enjoy a month or two before it hit in the US and UK. It started popping up on the UK chart shortly after we got back from Italy in August, in it’s complete unadulterated version. This song is wicked catchy, be forewarned. The rug rat will stop everything when it comes on, and the video toggles between various things on fire and crazy green screen patterns shifting around people dancing. All in all, super fun.
“Mi Gente” by Willie Williams, J. Balvin, and Beyonce??????
WTF. Here we go again. I won’t argue with the power of Queen Bey. That would be asking to lose. But, Seriously?? “Mi Gente” is an incredible song. There will hardly be a stationary body in any room this song is played. It has that power already. Adding Beyonce only detracts from what Willie and J. were trying to do. It doesn’t help that this track seems sloppily dubbed, I can’t quite place it but maybe the timing is off on Bey’s lines or maybe they didn’t match the volume levels. It screams cheap mix tape. It’s wrong, and I think it’s offensive to us regular folks. They even left all the lines in Spanish, just had Bey sing them. Horrible.
Hey, record exec, we don’t need dumbing down. We don’t need to be pandered to. A bitchin song doesn’t need a known singer to dub some lines in for us to enjoy it. Take “Gangnam Style” by Psy. I don’t a know a single word of Korean, but I love this song. He could be singing about killing and raping, and I would still dance around my living room.
A great song is a great song is a great song. It doesn’t need Beyonce or Bieber to get that bump.
Not that any of this matter…….