Calle 13

Reggaeton Plague Spreads to Australia!

The reggaeton plague has spread to Australia.  I couldn’t be more dismayed at stumbling across this ad.

"Road to Riches"

“Road to Riches”

I heard reggaeton for the first time in Colombia 6 years ago – coming out of cars, houses and nightclubs everywhere in Cartagena.  At very first listen it was a bit of a novelty. A fusion of sorts, put probably too simply, of reggae/dancehall and hip hop. Some of my favourite genres – “Great idea” I thought. It certainly was danceable.

My Colombian friend told me that once I learned some Spanish I wouldn’t like reggaeton at all, because the lyrics are all the things I despise – sexist and degrading of women, homophobic, materialistic, opportunistic etc etc.  As Batori from Papaya Republik puts well – “Reggaeton is for the uneducated. The lyrics neither tell a story, nor have a conscience”.

Mauricio ¨Batori¨ Pardo - Papaya Republik

Batori and my friend were right.   By the time I left Colombia I not only had a better understanding of the mindless lyrics, but more importantly realised that nearly all reggaeton is made with computers, with the same monotonous, generic beat.  It all sounds the same.

You can’t imagine my disappointment when I got to Cuba, where I went solely for the music, and found reggaeton blasting from bars, houses and cars everywhere there.  The musical plague was in Cuba too.

Six years on, reggaeton is stronger than ever in Latin American parts of the world.  It is a big part of popular mainstream music. It’s a musical and social travesty but unfortunately (I think), it is now part of history, and the present.

'I hate reggaeton'

‘I hate reggaeton’

But a reggaeton concert in Australia?  The other side of the world? The musical plague has travelled way too far.

“Road to Riches” is the tour name.  Gives you some idea of what you can expect to find on stage and in the crowd, if you were inclined to go to this concert.

There is only one quality exception in the reggaeton genre that I know of.  That is Puerto Rican band Calle 13.  Their lyrics are intelligent, satirical and have a social conscience. They also make and play interesting, eclectic music with real instruments.

Los de Atrás Vienen Conmigo (2008)

Los de Atrás Vienen Conmigo – Calle 13

Ven Y Critícame – Los De Atrás Vienen Conmigo (2008)-Calle 13

If you know of any other decent reggaeton music to recommend to try to change my perspective on reggaeton, let me know.

I will be beside myself if I hear any reggaeton in Jamaica these coming weeks!

Email this to someoneShare on Google+Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter