Thursday, February 18, 2010

I've Joined the Reggaeton Bandwagon

When I arrived at NPH, the first thing my section of super music-savvy 12 to 15 year-old girls wanted to know about me was "Who are your favorite singers!?!?"

After I gave up trying to explain what country music was and who some girl named Taylor Swift is, I decided to let them tell me their favorite singers and songs to see if I knew them. We could reach common ground on people like Rihanna, Shakira, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z (which they pronounce "high-zeta" becaust that's how it looks in Spanish phonetics hahahahaha), but then they would always stump me at the same spot: reggaeton.

Speedy reggaeton history lesson: Became popular among Latin American youth in the late 90s; is a mix of basically everything -- reggae, salsa, meringue, Latin pop, electronica, and Spanish rap; 2004 was its big crossover year into the U.S. (remember the song Gasolina, anyone?).

Back to the story...

"Do you like reggaeton? We love reggaeton! What are your favorite reggaeton songs?"

"Um, I don't think I really know anything about reggaeton."

Silent stares.

And who could really blame them? If you live in Guatemala and don't know reggaeton, you must be living under a rock. The chicken buses blast reggaeton jams from their suped-up sound systems, it's the only type of music the crazy dancehalls in Antigua play, and you can't walk five meters (I was about to say five feet, but I'm trying to be authentic and use the metric system now) down a street in Guatemala without passing someone blaring reggaeton from their portable radio. 

So, I have spent the past few weeks educating myself on Guatemala's reggaeton hits (or at least...trying). Thank you internet at work, thank you YouTube that sometimes works, and thank you Grooveshark for your awesome collection of reggaeton playlists. Oh, and thank you juke boxes in tiny local bars that cost one quetzal per song. I am soooo up-to-date on my reggaeton songs now.

And you know what, I LOVE IT. The music is just so good! Sometimes I catch myself awkwardly dancing at my desk while listening to music, and I don't remember the last time I had an English-language song stuck in my head. It's always Spanish now. Yes, this is it. I have completely converted to a lover of reggaeton. There's just something about it that gets under your skin. I can't wait to start adding songs to my iPod.

And now for your entertainment, a list of some of my current favorites (some reggaeton, some more Latin/Spanish pop). Some are brand new, and some are uncool-ly old, but I'm working on catching up. When you're bored, check out these YouTube links.

P.S. Parents be warned, I never said reggaeton was squeaky clean. View music videos at your own caution haha.

Ave María by David Bisbal

Pose by Daddy Yankee

Obsession by Aventura

Escapar (you know it as Escape) by Enrique Iglesias

Te Ves Fatal by El Trono de Mexico

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