Bad Pop, México
by Enrique Coyotzi
After the shutdown of Megaupload, a general discontent was manifested, principally on social networks. However, I remember reading opinions that expressed how this platform had been “ruining music” since its creation in 2005. Yes, we know there are thousands of disposable acts on the Internet, but the fact that an artist gives away their music shouldn’t be directly related with artistic quality or creativity level. This is where Antonio Jiménez Gallardo comes in, a guy who since his Unsexy Nerd Ponies days has offered for free each of his top-notch releases, who has found a voice through the web as well as a strong legion of devoted followers.
On his first EP for his new side project, Tony Gallardo II (one which I like to envision as a sort of reincarnation), the ruidosón pioneer celebrates both the passion of making music and his profound relationship with the Internet. If the title track is, as I had previously described, “another delicious slice of genius” from Gallardo’s mind, then this whole cake divided in four exquisitely sexy pieces is a reminder of why we’re so eagerly excited about where his career might go next. Líder Juvenil is a dazzling achievement that presents the artist’s hottest ready-for-the-dance-floor tracks to date, as well as his impressive submergence into tech-house (“Mi Presa”), mostly inspired by Rebolledo (look for that still of the “Guerrero” video in the booklet) and last year’s unforgettable Super Vato, with Alex Anwandter-esque pop finesse (“Líder Juvenil”) in melodies, and subtle traces of tribal guarachero (“Costa Drums (I Need 2 Let U Go)”).
Lyrically, per usual, these songs are basically about Gallardo’s life: girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, daily monotonous routines. Take for instance “Costa Drums,” a cathartic eruption that could be read as instructions on how to overcome a breakup (“córtate el pelo”/”salte de tu casa”/”métete en la onda”), where the line “I need 2 let u go” is repeated as a mantra to bring himself to his senses. This is also the first time since Unsexy Nerd Ponies disappeared that we’ve heard him singing in English again (the mixture of Spanish and English in “Costa Drums” and “Mi Presa” are specially amusing). It’s also remarkable how the pitch of his voice is generally low in all the songs. It sounds grave, but not in a spooky manner such as what The Knife or Fever Ray do, instead it turns out excitingly provocative and latently lascivious, like the ideal soundtrack to a wild, erotic night. So, I guess, then, it’s no coincidence that the most sexually-fueled track, “Mango Sweat,” is the closer, the cherry on top.
Considering the visible Internet influence on this EP, one has to check out the amazing artwork (don’t you adore the detail of the lyrics written on Notepad?) that accompanies it, where he even thanks it in the credits. Gallardo is an artist whom we’ve seen grow through this medium, but who ultimately deserves more exposition. The merits are there. He has openly expressed his desire to become famous, and these shouldn’t be pipe dreams. After all, he’s got the entire arsenal and will to fulfill it. While this year has to yet to see his proper follow-up to 2010’s Espíritu Invisible as María y José, Líder Juvenil should satisfy those who are anxiously salivating for it. Meanwhile, these sensuous bangers by the self-proclaimed youth leader should do it.