"Controlling the Sun", Suave as Hell

Like I mentioned on yesterday’s Indie-O Music Awards post, my friends don’t like Suave as Hell (from Guadalajara, Mexico), honestly, I don’t know much about them and it’s only been 2 weeks since I got my hands on Well Well Mr. Whale, it’s doing pretty good on my iPod, but here is a response I got from my dear friend Gus: “I don’t like them because their pretension takes them outside the musical boundaries, there are hundreds of bands out there that sound just like them, plus they don’t even feel confident enough to reference anything to their homeland, not in language or emotion.”

I’m one of those who think people should do things they way they feel it, but it’s always a challenge to read the honesty behind any art. Therefore I don’t mind bands singing only in English, in fact, I think it’s an extension of the globalized skill. This discussion reminds me of Noche Pasta’s review for Carrie’s gleaming 1981, which questioned among other things, if Carrie was ashamed of her nationality. It’s all about identity and the stimulating force that makes an artist want to share his vision. Truth is, writing in English is so damn easy, that most people would assume the singing in English is a marketing tool … or a sellout.

One thing is for sure, I’m loving “Controlling the Sun” for all the reasons people don’t like it. What do you think?


  1. The problem (and ive written much about it in the past) with bands from a Spanish speaking country singing in english lies in the funneling, rather than the processing, of influences.

    For example, a child learns to speak his native tongue by listening and dwelling in such phonics. But it is through study and endeavour that this child might someday become a writter or person who dominates the language.

    If you apply this to mexican bands, you could argue that their first instinct would be to compose in their native tongue, because it should come naturally and easier.
    But it often happens that music, being also a language of sorts, is also something you can learn to do by listening, and then with further studies, do better.

    So you could argue that mexican bands that use english as their means to communicate in their musical language do so, firstly and foremost, because most of the music theyve ever listened to is in English, thus making it easier for them to do so (ie. Chikita Violenta... just read their interviews)

    So, in this scenario, those bands are merely funneling influences into theri language rather than taking them and processing them and turning them itno a language of their own by adapting them to their native tongue. This process, is tough to maneuver through if most of the music you listen to is of anglo-speaking origin.

    And if we look at mexican bands using english as a "marketing tool"... ive got no idea when its ever worked (if the band resides in mexico)... Lots have tried, but i dont many, if any, have sticked...

  2. Me encanta esta canción, amo esta banda, el disco es buenísimo, en vivo son excelentes.


  3. bul, thanks for your input, truly great response and yeah, the english-only thing doesn't work as a business, at least not in mexico itself ... and , so far, no band has really internationalized by doing so...

    cheky, la similaridad en gustos entre tu y yo me asusta! cool!

  4. There seems to be a little discrimination towards mexican bands singing in english nowadays.

    BTW, Bul states it pretty clearly. Someone once told me in an interview, "we grew up listening to The Beatles, not Maná". I do think many of us should face the fact that singing in english has not being the key to exportation for mexican artists and it most likely won't be.

    But like in this very comment thread, maybe adding up both languages is useful? Just take a look at Zoe's most succesful hooks, always mixing lyrics in spanish with an english word or two in the chorus.

    Regarding Suave as Hell: it's working for them, in Mexico (but I think it has more to do with their perfect rhythm section and exquisite keyboard work more than anything). Anyone who passes them off as generic has definitely never ever seen them live.

  5. honestly, i don't give a damn what language people sing in...

  6. yo nomas hablo Mazahua

  7. Iam from the band, Its good to see discussion.

    We are about to record the second album, for sure it will have 2 good songs in our native launguaje, jaja.

  8. A mi me encantan lo que piensa o dicen por ahi vale madres, el gusto personal es lo que cuenta no la opinion de un guey que no sabe de lo que habla ya puede calificar