Club Fonograma's Best Songs of the Decade. Part Four: 25-01

025. En Ventura. “Avant”
Los Gandharvas
It’s the start of an amazing band and I’m not sure they even know it. Well, they probably did when they recorded this, ‘cause it’s about as thrilling and self-conscious as it can get. Listening to “Avant” just makes one angry they’re playing around with other projects instead of focusing on the truly outstanding stuff. Note the vocals; they drive this piece with razing heights, brimming only as it is necessary, rock advancement. JSB

024. Joe Crepúsculo. “La canción de tu vida”
Joe goes back to the 90s, to that summer he was so deeply in love. This techno is not only a flashy dazzling piece, the guy we know for his awkwardly talent turns into a poet. It’s not just a summer jam; it’s audaciously ageless and yes, one of the songs of our lives. “La musica es tan fragil, que los recuerdos se quedan impregnados para siempre, vamos a bailar!” JSB

023. Ely Guerra. “Quiéreme Mucho”
Sweet & Sour, Hot y Spicy
A slow-burning anthem of passionate longing, this is the collaboration of Portishead and D’Angelo that you never knew you wanted to hear. Both teasing and fleeting, Guerra’s hushed vocals and the band’s acid-lounge instrumentation ooze sex with an element of ambiguity. And the part where the rhythm section sweeps in a la “Wonderwall”? Muy chido. If James Bond were from Mexico, this would be his theme song. AC

022. Volován. “Ella es azul”
The Beach Boys knew everyone loves a happy song that'll make you feel like a young kid ready to party by the sea. Volovan hit that spot with this, their biggest hit. I actually would've thought it belonged to the 90s and the Avanzada Regia, but it came out on the palindromic 2002. A quintessential hit of the summer. A Mexican rock-pop classic. Naïve lyrics empowered by a tune that's catchier than swine-flu and plain unforgettable. JMT

021. Quiero Club feat. Jorge González. “Minutos de Aire”
Nueva América
The brightest, funnest, most blissful pop act in Latin America attempts to redefine, rearrange and superglue a new continent: Nueva America. They get some help from whom else but the great Jorge Gonzalez from Los Prisioneros, a band that on its time did just that (you know, changed continental music). Quiero Club knows how to fragment sound like very few people in pop, bringing the heavens and the waters at level, as they please. CR

020. Jessy Bulbo. “Maldito”
Saga Mama
A one of a kind event featuring dirty rolls of vintage rock, VHS-like bite rates + Jessy Bulbo. Yes, there’s the garage element too, but Jessy owns this with foolhardy control. It goes forward, it doesn’t stop to put its pieces together, it barely gives up speed and when it does there she is responding with a “si, la cague, y que y que y que…” Gymnastics on the hands of a screaming riot girl, mind-blowing. CR

019. Zoé. “No me destruyas”
Memo Rex Commander y el Corazón Atómico de la Vía Láctea
Surrounded by the virtual glance of today’s world, Zoé brings a soaring manifesto of love in its most hurting circumstances. The song waves on suspension, on that galaxy-like treatment the band so radiantly accomplishes. At the end, it’s those agonizing synths and lyrics what make this song a triumphant tragedy; “ya no afiles las navajas… ya no afiles los colmillos… ya no me destruyas mas.” CR

018. Gepe. “Namas”
I can’t but praise and thank my luck whenever I come upon truly new music. Difficult to describe? maybe. Apparently simple? ok. Fascinating and genius nonetheless? fuck yeah! Gepe takes that old South American folklore and transforms it into sweetly compelling and commanding, futuresounding miniature epics. This one paints (in my misinterpreting mind) an argument with oneself. Self-doubt strikes and he pleads to –at least– be left alone, in silence. JMT

017. Bam Bam. “Sin las patas traseras”
Bam Bam
Things start out fine, with a nice little acoustic strum. Then shit EXPLODES. With the force of a tidal wave, Bam Bam unleash a furious rush of Pixies meets Sleater-Kinney indie that screams in your ear and then asks if you’re OK. Like their rock influences before them, Bam Bam have seen the end of the world. And it’s gonna go out with a bang. AC

016. Babasonicos. “El Loco”
A landmark for any songwriter wanting to incorporate melody and faith without making a secular chant. Babasonicos incarnate God and make him both, a ‘dude’ too cool to take care of your sins and a suspiciously evil character with destruction on his mind. Man and God interchanging their skin and visión, genius; “Soy víctima de un Dios, que en vez de rezar por mí, se fue a bailar a la disco del lugar.” CR

015. Arcángel. “Chica Virtual”
The New King Mixtape
Arcangel’s self-assurance proves to be a virtue in moments like this one, he glances Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall in what ends up being one of the most infectious, feverish and kitsch songs of this young century. Adolescence reaches boiling points and this is one of them; this is not only damn sexy, it holds a mysterious aura that rounds up the disco seduction in the best of FutureSex/LoveSongs. CR

014. Café Tacvba. “Mediodía”
Cuatro Caminos
WARNING: Masters at work here. Some say our biggest band lost the spark of their first masterpieces with time. "Mediodía" shuts all of that up and, like a lonely Saturday love song to Mexico City; it moves the listener as deep as ever. Smooth. Sunny. Dreamy. Ruben’s voice is perfect! & the sound! …gorgeous guitars, basslines, panoramic atmospheres… A lump in the throat announces bittersweet tears. It’s a fucking jewel! JMT

013. El Guincho. “Palmitos Park”
“I think I got a tan listening to this”, that’s what someone commented at RCRD LBL about this monument of a song by El Guincho, the perfect comment for a kick-ass song. Endlessly sunny and feather-fest ready, this is one of the most inviting songs about the human necessity to have time of our own, by our own. He spells it out just in case; “que solo significa sin nadie alrededor.” JSB

012. Nacho Vegas y Christina Rosenvinge. “Verano Fatal”
Verano Fatal
As the curtains go down, a girl meets a boy and they fall in love. This is a scene-by-scene casual narrative that turns into a peculiar dangerously in love vibe. Nacho and Christina are not just calling and responding to one another, they’re ready for a revolution. They’re willing to sacrifice every bit of them to be together. It’s smooth and raw, it’s the chemistry of the two artists; “yo buscando tu fuerza y tu mi debilidad.” JSB

011. Porter. “Espiral”
Donde los ponys pastan
Classics are made of greatness and positive public reception, “Espiral” serves both margins earning such a tag. It might not be their masterpiece (look down below), but it is Porter’s anthem and to many of us, a song that will be around us our entire lives. Dislocated instrumentation, disjointed vocals and heart trenching lyrics, it’s a spiral. “Sin ti ya no hay mas.” (x4) And that last sequence, OMG it’s crazy in love! JSB

010. Natalia Lafourcade. “Azul”
Hu Hu Hu
I once dreamt that Julieta Venegas did a collaboration with Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoise band. Then one day I heard “Azul,” and saw that Natalia Lafourcade actually recorded that song. With its wall of sound orchestration, and ace vocal histrionics, there’s virtually a million ways you can appreciate this. A rousing, tender, funny, grandiose, euphoric bedroom anthem, “Azul” is a song that’s from the heart and of the soul. AC

009. Rita Indiana y Los Misterios. “La hora de volve”
Fonogramaticos Vol.5
Reinventing a genre (or two) is something few artists accomplish in their lifetimes. Rita & her friends’ serious explorations of merengue & bachata seem to be about to do just that by pushing these rich traditional rhythms into the future. She’s a gigantic, fantastic, brave young artist with a big punk, sexy, furious voice that reminds me of Patti Smith (while sounding nothing like her) & her lyrics are mindblowingly great. JMT

008. Porter. “Cuervos”
It’s shutting down, and up and down … (breath in breath out), this rise and fall kills me, when you add Juan Son’s vocals to it, as cheesy as it sounds, I come back to life. Porter delivers a post-national fairy tale although a lo Frankenstein; it’s politically charged and on its core, a song about a city raising ‘cuervos.’ Note the roundness (and echo) of every phrase, it adapts a copy and paste conduct, shivering thrills! CR

007. Celso Piña feat. Control Machete & Blanquito Man. “Cumbia sobre el rio”
Barrio Bravo
“Suena, suena y emociona, nuestra, nuestra acordeona.” I don’t think I’ve read something as beautiful all this decade as this line; if music is an artistic expression that demands some kind of emotional response, this is it. This thing sparks to incredible places, seriously, the scope of rhythms and visual scale here is monstrous. Celso’s call for unity (“música es música”) pushes this to the groundbreaking peak it stands in (sobre el rio). CR

006. Café Tacvba. “Eres”
Cuatro Caminos
With its strumming electric guitar, acoustic guitar picking and fat rhythm section, this could easily be mistaken for an outtake from the White Album. But what makes “Eres” unique are the gorgeous lyrics and vocal from Emmanuel del Real, which detail the regret of a man promising salvation to his love in hopes of salvaging himself. One of the most delicate and romantic songs of the decade, and perhaps Café Tacuba at their most transcendent. AC

005. Julieta Venegas. “Lento”
“Lento” is a straightforward love song, with lyrics that capture that innocent feeling of teenage affection that getting older only illuminates and romanticizes. But it’s the last thirty seconds that can only be described as a revelation: Venegas’s accordion embodying the sound of love’s fruition. With remarkable skill, the notes float in the air, grasping something as ineffable as love itself. Truly, the work of a pop genius. AC

004. Hello Seahorse! “Bestia”
From its monstrous introduction, “Bestia” is home of some of the most enchanting musical passages in years, and best of all, it’s furiously dualistic and fully aware of its skill. In its fixation, it’s also a song about salvation and the inner-rebel spirit in all of us. Thank God or whoever’s up there for giving us LoBlondo’s angelical voice, a major force here as it literally kills the ghostly creatures (and monkeys) in the song’s intro. CR

003. Triangulo de Amor Bizarro. “El fantasma de la transición”
Triangulo de Amor Bizarro
I’ve cried a lot through this song. There’s nothing scarier in this life than transitioning; whether it’s the loss of a dear one, coming of age, or putting on a new outfit every day. This is a brilliant rock song on taking the next step, not allowing the ghostly force behind it take over free will. It’s like warfare, missiles flying one way to another, boiling waters screaming “Solo respirar para no perder.” CR

002. Calle 13. “Atrévete Te Te!”
Calle 13
Wherein Residente and Visitante provide a lesson in embracing your culture… As danceable as it is thought provoking, as joyous as it is radical, this is the reggaetón “Johnny B. Goode”. That is, the standard by which all other Latin hip-hop songs will be judged, and the song that will be played to Alien visitors a thousand years from now if we ever need to explain what reggaetón was. AC

001. Javiera Mena. “Al siguiente nivel”
Esquemas Juveniles
EPIC. Anthem written all over it, infectious from beginning to end, aware of its form, clickable… “Al siguiente nivel” or the song that welcomes us to this new century is a glorious remark to our generation. Javiera’s visionary capacities carry our spirit into a world of new media, because artists are the visionaries of change and her bouncy perfect tune heart beats a new era. “Va con la dirección de mi generación que va a pasar al siguiente nivel.” CR