Last January I tried to play Walter Mercado and come up with some predictions for 2009, none of them really worked. I suck, I know. So, this time around, instead of predictions I'm bringing you my eleven commandments for the new decade that's about to start. Let's see...
No more Auto-Tune. Shit hit the fan the moment auto-tune started being used in cumbia. There’s an unwritten law of fashion in urban US that says that trends become instantly passé the moment they are picked up by the working-class Mexican and Central American immigrants. Something similar should apply to the Auto-Tune trend. It was OK in gay pop, we tolerated it for a bit in hip-hop, it was already absurd when it reached reggaetón, by the time it starts appearing in cumbia, it means we all need to start looking for a new way of hiding the unskilled singer’s shortcomings... or start taking singing lessons.
No more US-based “rock en español” bands playing covers of Maná, Soda Stereo, Enanitos Verdes, Caifanes, etc. This probably made sense back in the 90’s because they appealed to the nostalgia of that specific wave of immigrants, but to start a band in this century playing those same songs... What an anachronism! In the new decade they will be playing for a crowd that wasn’t even born during Soda Stereo’s heights. It's time to update the standards. When will we have cover bands playing Babasónico’s Jessico or Cerati’s Bocanada?
No More Miami douchebags rapping on MTV. This one is self-explanatory. Nobody likes these walking bags of misused testosterone telling you how they're gonna take your girlfriend to their hotel room the moment you turn around because they have more money than you. Especially if they can't rap.
No more Myspace bands. (Or should I say no more Myspace all together?) Nobody gives a rats ass about myspace anymore since everybody migrated to Facebook, except for Hello-Kitty-tweens, people who bought their first computer in the last two years and unsigned bands that suck. Every once in a while I still check mine, just to see what’s up. All I get are friend-requests from fat girls or bands who are just promoting themselves by sending automatic massive friend-requests to random users. I only send friend-requests to bands I’m actually interested in, in case I wanna make contact with them, that’s the only reason I haven’t deactivated my otherwise useless account. But these fuckers, on the other side, they wanna be my friends not because they are interested in what I do, but because they want me to listen to their crap. “Hello, Juan, listen to my music let me know what you think.” Get a fucking life, seriously! Special mention for those who have songs that go into instant play as soon as you open their profile.
No More rap songs featuring Julieta Venegas doing chorus. (Or should I say no more Julieta Venegas guest appearances, period?) There must be hundreds of more talented singers, better lyricists and of course, way better looking women (even within Mexico!). It’s time to start giving them too a chance at being the token guest-chorus-girl for every other Spanish speaking rapper.
No More rap songs that talk about hip-hop culture and the four elements. During the 90’s most Latinos didn’t know shit about hip-hop, so the elite of know-it-all rappers (myself included) felt compelled to come up with educational songs about hip-hop culture, thinking that if they get people to understand its principles, they would appreciate this music better. This has been proven wrong way too may times because, in most cases, those purist rappers only end up preaching to the choir of orthodox b-boys. It’s time to move on kids, if people didn’t care about your goddamned four elements in 1996, there’s no point in trying to convert them now that hip-hop is dead.
No more movies with Gael and Luna. Am I alone on this? I’m sick of these two metro wankers. They are at the verge of turning themselves into a Mexican cinema cliché. Like, in Argentina they make movies about the disappeared, in Spain they make movies about transvestites and now in Mexico it seems like they only make movies about these two underdeveloped heartthrobs. So yeah... and please, don't let Gael sign again. Ever.
No more wannabe artsy bands with non-sequitur random names. Nothing screams “don’t listen to my band” louder than an absurd pretentiously ironic name. I think you should all stop doing indie (whatever that stands for anymore) rock and lock yourselves in an art gallery opening to talk about the deep significance of abstract installations to some interpretative dancers and vegan girls with glitter on their face... Whatever strokes your overvalued ego, but get off the stage and let the rockers rock.
No more new-anything. From nü-metal to new bossa nova (isn't that a lovely oxymoron?) and nuevo tango to my beloved neo-cumbia.... in the first decade of the current century we revamped pretty much everything that was considered corny during the 90's. It’s time to stop being lazy and come out with some all-original new music genres! Something that hasn’t happened since the 70’s, by the way.
No more DJ’s who can’t mix. Granted, DJing was a little elitist back when it was limited to the people who could afford to buy two turntables, a mixer and lots of records. But those people, for the most part, tried to get their investment money worth by practicing or at least, trying to figure out how to work those things.
Nowadays, laptops and cheap software democratized the access to DJing to virtually everybody and suddenly every other loser out there thinks he/she can rock a party and take the groupies home.
The problem with making DJing so seemingly accessible is that these new wannabes come with the this-is-so-easy-anybody-can-do-it attitude and don't even worry about learning the very basic mixing techniques. And that drives me nuts especially because most of these new DJ programs already do most of the beat-matching work for you... and they still can't mix! Go back to the dance-floor where you belong.
No more rhyming "cerveza" with "cabeza". From all the easy, predictable, obvious rhymes that saturate the Spanish-language songs, that's the one I hate the most. I can name you ten songs right of the top of my head that use that (it's a particularly common mistake in cumbia and beginner's rap). But the same rule applies to rhyming "noche" with "coche," "hermano" with "mano" and "vagabundo" with "mundo". And don't even get me started with "qué pasa?" rhymed with "en la casa" or "la raza". It'd also be greatly appreciated (but I recognize for some it's too much to ask) if they stopped using the words "corazón" and "candela" in every other verse. We have a rich lexicon full of synonyms, it's time to start digging deeper in the thesaurus.