Finally, after years of twisting Carlos's arm, Club Fonograma presents it's First Annual Latin Grammy coverage! Join a few of the crew as we give our thoughts on various categories. And, if you're catching this early, hang around our Twitter account during showtime as Andrew Casillas provides real-time analysis of presenters' hairstyles and identifies which performers sweat more than Patrick Ewing. So without further ado, let's kick off the 2015 Club FonoGRAMMYS!
Category 1: Best Alternative Song
Zé Garcia: The Alt Record of the Year category shows the expanding spectrum of the Academy's considerations. On the (as expected) terrible end, we have Venezuela's Famasloop with "Allí Estás." Clearly, we can think of dozens of recordings more deserving than what sounds like background music for a Comcast commercial. El Cuarteto de Nos is not as terrible as the Febreeze pop of "Allí Estás" but "No Llora" is still pretty annoying. Visually, "No Llora" channels the work of Kraft Mac & Cheese commercials complete with cute (read: obnoxious) child. The "Gloria Estefan-but-on-acid" bros of Astro also land a nomination with the pretty cool "Caribbean," but clearly one of our girls is taking home that prize and it's probably the recording industry's darling, Natalia Lafourcade. Yes, "Hasta La Raiz" is clearly one of the finest recordings of the last year, a song whose poetry and strings measure up to the word "epic." But it's going up against "Otra Era," one of the best songs of this young century. "Otra Era," our pick for 2014's best song, would probably land the top stop in a Club Fonograma mid-decade's best list. And why shouldn't it? "Otra Era" is sublime. It contemplates empires--a time-space pop gem composed of an ulterior reggaeton beat, the urge of a disco house piano, and a final climax that sounds like a doomsday siren. Mena's vocals get pitch shifted into a malformed future in the song's final moments and the effects are both terrifying and exhilarating. The transcendent quality of "Otra Era" has the ability to drive a perceptive listener to tears- a recording to match a beautiful & tragic existential crisis.
Andrew Casillas: I legit lol'd at your comment that "Allí Estás" sounding like a Comcast ad. I mean, you can't be mad at El Cuarteto de Nos sneaking in here--I mean, there are way worse dinosaur bands getting Latin Grammy nods. By the way, when did "Caribbean" become Astro's breakthrough? DID NO ONE LISTEN TO "DIMENSIÓN SUPREMA?!" That song's got bars, son. So yeah, it comes down to the CF darlings Natalia and Javiera. I think we can agree that "Otra Era's" mere presence is a legitimate win for the 21st century Chilean pop monolith. And it's certainly the most innovative song in the category. But I'm not 100% certain that "Hasta la Raiz" isn't the better song. I may prefer "Otra Era" as a whole, but Natalia Lafourcade's spent an entire career working her craft to make something as instant and delicate as "Hasta la Raiz." And let's take a minute to understand how difficult it probably was to craft something like that. Is it her best song? No. But is it something worth giving an award to? Damn right.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Javiera Mena, "Otra Era"
WHO WILL WIN: Natalia Lafourcade, "Hasta la Raíz"