Have you ever wondered what is the equivalent in the Hispanic world to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band? GibsonGuitar.es writer Kiko Jones penned an article compiling in a top ten the most important records of Rock/Pop in Spanish.
Here at HS-News, we think this list is worthy of debate. Not because we disagree with Kiko Jones, or because we think his picks are wrong, but because we believe every Spanish speaker has their own top ten, and we are all about finding new music, based on other people’s taste.
Below, our top ten Essential Records of Pop/Rock en Español. Please post your own in the comment section!
SODA STEREO Canción Animal (Sony Music 1990)
When Argentines are blown away by something greater than what they expected, is not uncommon to hear them say “grande, che.” Canción Animal is ‘grande’ because of the so many hits within (De Musica Ligera, Hombre al Agua, Entre Caníbales etc.) and because when it was released, it set the trend for Spanish Speaking bands to move away from the post-punk/new wave sound, and infuse Latin sounds and original flavors to more alternative genres, like grunge.
ATERCIOPELADOS Oye (Nacional Records 2007)
Oye is the seventh album by this amazing duo from Colombia. The lyrics are both a criticism to the situation of the South American nation, as well as to the current environmental policies and human rights issues. Their sound and profound social commitment earned them a Latin Grammy, as well as two “Lo Nuestro” awards.
HOMBRES G Hombres G (Producciones Twins 1985)
“Sufre mamón, devuélveme a mi chica, o te retorcerás entre polvos pica pica,” is arguably the slogan, the tagline for the Rock en Español of the 80’s. It catapulted the modest quartet from Spain into worldwide stardom, overnight; fans camped out from 4am to see their first midnight show and ‘Sufre Mamón” became so popular… it even spawned a movie!
MOLOTOV Donde Jugarán Las Niñas? (Universal/MCA International 1997)
In the history of music, very few debut albums are as solid, complete, explosive and emblematic as Molotov’s first; Only two come to mind, and incidentally both are self titled first efforts: Queen and Bad Brains.
An ‘enfant terrible’ record from it’s inception, controversy begins at the title (a play on words on Mana’s “Donde Jugarán los Niños?) and doesn’t stop until the last chord of “Perra Arrabalera.” Literally. Way too ahead of its time, the album almost got them banned from Mexico (The Molotovs relocated to Spain for a while following numerous lawsuits and protests), but effectively set the band “where everyone takes turns playing everything” atop Mexico’s music acts.
FABULOSOS CADILLACS Vasos Vacíos (Sony Music, Columbia 1994)
Having a bad day? Play this album back to back! it is so hard to frown listening to the Cadillacs! This album compiles tracks from their first seven albums (1986 to 1992), new arrangements of previous songs, and new instant classics like “El Matador” and the title track, a collaboration with Celia Cruz.
HÉROES DEL SILENCIO Senderos de Traición (EMI 1990)
This, the second album by the Zaragoza based band, is considered by its four members, as their finest work. In August of 2009, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it number 2 in their Best Rock En Español Albums list.
LOS PRISIONEROS Pateando Piedras (EMI 1986)
The second album by Chilean band ‘Los Prisioneros’ features a number of anthems of the generation like “El Baile de los que Sobran” “Muevan Las Industrias” and “Porqué no se van?” According to the magazine Rolling Stone Chile, Pateando piedras is in the fifteenth place of the best Chilean albums.
CAFÉ TACVBA Re (Warner Music 1994)
Considered by the New York Times as “the Beatles’ White Album of Rock en Español,” ‘Re’ is one of the most remarkable albums of this list, for it not only became an inspiration and influence to many bands to come, but it was the first time the Tacvbos introduced audiences to their oh so neat antics: genre switching, on-the-nose nods to different folkloric music styles, the remarkable lung capacity of their frontman Rubén (who changes names every album) and the subtle humor of their lyrics.
FITO PÁEZ Euforia (Warner Music 1997)
This, Fito’s unplugged venture, is not only a fantastic sounding album offering some of the Rosarine’s best renditions of his work, but the perfect conglomeration of songs to get to know one of the giants of Rock en Español.
Highlights start early, with “Cadáver Exquisito” and continue with lovely version’s of hits like “Circo Beat” “Mariposa Technicolor” and “11y 6.”
SUI GENERIS Vida (Talent Microfón 1972)
1972, a leap year that saw some of the most important releases in the history of music: Deep Purple’s “Machine Head”, Led Zeppelin’s “ZOZO”, Carole King’s “Tapestry”, John Lennon’s “Imagine” and The Stones’ “Exile on Main Street” all came out that year, just as Pink Floyd was recording “The Dark Side of The Moon”, and Queen, their debut album. A great year for rock indeed.
So it would be a crime to not include on this list, the Rock en Español album that aside from debuting in 1972, mirrored almost eerily the musical tendencies of the time, only adapted to the South American experience. “Vida” is a sweet, almost innocent album that like its UK and US counterparts, became the stuff that Rock is made out of, the first link in the Rock chain, if you may.
It really is an unfair task to try and fit fifty plus years worth of Rock en Español music, in ten albums. It’s almost blasphemous to leave out albums like “Honestidad Brutal”, by Calamaro, “Mar adentro en la Sangre”, by Santa Sabina, “Vueltas y Vueltas” by Poligamia and “Guerra Gaucha” by the Enanitos Verdes. A second, completely different top ten can be compiled at the speed of light using albums by legendary bands like Toreros Muertos, La Unión, Caifanes, Vilma Palma, Ekhimosis (Featuring a teenage Juanes) Jarabe de Palo, Bersuit Vergarabat, Plastilina Mosh and Illya Kuryaki; not to mention the so many fabulous albums of Pop en Español, Trova Cubana, and Latin fusion out there.
What is your personal top ten? Post your comments; let’s see how many lists we can get going!
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