Shakira (feat. Maluma) - "Chantaje"

Andrew Casillas said it best when he rejected the notion of Shakira as Latin America's Prince and relegated her to the category of Latin America’s Jay-Z cemented by the catastrophic final result that was 2014's Shakira, a forgettable album of bland pop generica. As Shakira's net worth continued to soar, Shakira's social capital took a hit given the Baranquillera's cringe-worthy output in recent memory. From Bud Light Lime EDM classics with Pitbull, the Tecate Michelada rock stylings of Maná, to a culturally hegemonizing sports anthem, it would seem as if indeed Shakira was ‘trying everything’, much to the depreciation of her critical acclaim. We’re not even going to get started on "La Bicicleta”.

It seemed for some time as though only an innovator like Arca could resurrect our fallen Latina Empress of Global Pop. And although ‟Chantaje" does not feature production credits from the Venezuelan sound freak, it does sound as if an acolyte of Timbaland produced it. Firmly situated in the seductive future reggaetón environment spearheaded by compatriot J Balvin, "Chantaje" is ready for Top 40 mass consumption & personally gratifying listening experiences. It features rising star Maluma, further cementing Columbia as reggaetón’s current stronghold. Manipulation, codependency, autonomy, agency, unrequited love and emotional masochism take center stage on “Chantaje,” a narrative of intimate warfare amongst doomed lovers. It is Shakira's most relevant single since the merengue bangers of 2010's Sale El Sol and has reinvigorated a level of trust amongst those of us who have been here for Shakira since 1995 and care to see her be remembered for her artistic merits-not her commercial prowess.

Club Fonograma's Best Music Videos of 2015

“Amor Fantasma”
((The Plastics 
10. Sefárdico
"One day, when you sober up, we can be the Coen Brothers or whoever you want..." sighed by worried twin brother as the rest of the family could barely grasp who the Cuarón brothers are (yes, Univision, Televisa and now Pantaleon Films have them in an eternal Guada-loop with the Almada Brothers). Truth is, I've had my bull-neon eye on the Dardenne Brothers for quite sometime already. It hurts to be the one that has to wait for those hype/revivalists waves to come to shore, but Tex-Mex production house Sefárdico have offered a window of possibilities for uber-energetic "trends" like myself. "Amor Fantasma" surveys the culture of videohomes (that VHS phenomena involving mafia, guns, and the quintessential blonde femme-fatale). You could also make the argument that this is just a storyboard of a western novel, or the latest fable of forbidden love by Juan Osorio or Carla Estrada. Or, perhaps, it's a pitch for an episode of Mujer, Cansas en la Vida Real. This is campy and cutesy in the bigger picture, but technical decisions like expanding the camera aspect ratio of a dramatic television feature, to an action film in glorious widescreen, make this truly whimsical. - CARLOS REYES. FROM THE ALBUM: AMOR FANTASMA. DIRECTOR: SEFARDICO. MEXICO. 

“Lo Que 
((Natalia Lafourcade)) 
09. Alonso Ruizpalacios
Natalia Lafourcade’s most recent studio effort has given us some trouble in formulating a meaningful consensus. Though far from a masterpiece, the Fonograma staff can at least acknowledge that Hasta La Raíz contains some of the most important songs of Natalia’s career. This admission stems, in part, thanks to the album’s visual campaign. Directed by Alonso Ruizpalacios (Güeros), "Lo Que Construimos" shows Natalia battling a night of dissolution. Just as Güeros was lensed in a freewheeling, “anything goes” tribute to French New Wave, Ruizpalacios recreates the same magic for Lafourcade. The video begins in a bedroom, a conventional set up that quickly takes all kinds of turns. These fausses pistes cultivate a sci-fi tone that lends a creepy air to a mostly heartbreaking song. The clip culminates with a dance performance on an empty street. To see Lafourcade, the adult and not the infantilized indie girl of 2009, dancing like Anna Karina dressed in the plainest wardrobe (a hoody/that bed head) produces such an intense range of emotions. It’s cathartic and nostalgic, it’s devastating and uplifting. It’s wonderful. GIOVANNI GUILLÉN. FROM THE ALBUM: HASTA LA RAIZ. DIRECTOR: ALONSO RUIZPALACIOS. MEXICO

“Sol a Sol”
((Planeta No)) 
08. Felipe Prado
When you google otaku (Japanese term pronounced ōˈtäko͞o) you will find various definitions that overall describe a subculture of obsessive and isolated lifestyles surrounding manga and anime. Many times it is used with a negative connotation, but don’t we all have an obsession? For many of us is music, films, or science. Very few people understand the complexity of the otaku subculture, one of those few is Hiroki Azuma PhD who describes how this subculture is a reflection of Japanese culture, similar to that of a postwar Japanese society that encountered a cultural and technological revolution. When I saw this video it made think about the Chilean pop renaissance that we’ve witnessed for some years now, perhaps a generation that also grew up obsessed and isolated living in fantasy until it was finally freed. - RICARDO REYES. FROM THE ALBUM: ODIO. DIRECTOR: FELIPE PRADO. CHILE

07. Alvaro Puentes
Giovanni Guillén hit a homerun when describing "Secretos" as a "song about catching feelings and the collateral damage that comes with it." Although straightforwardly pop, the premise of Marineros has been aesthetically pleasing but intricate enough for audiophiles to attain a certain fondness for them. Is it crazy to think of Marineros as a cult band already? Perhaps we're getting too ahead of ourselves, but, could you resist making such noise with this level of fragility and intimacy? Before O Marineros unfolded itself as an album packed with coming-of-age gems, "Secretos" came to solidify the band as one that could fetishize and profit from their own branding. Helmed by Alvaro Puentes, the celluloid in "Secretos" is claustrophobic in its proximity to lensing skin (it's like the negotiating of a cultural wink between a bareback porn and The Virgin Suicides).. It gets to the pores and puts the scope on those h u m i d little beauty spots, scars, and goosebumps by which we're not only encouraged to loose our clothes, but to also make inventory of those stains of insecurities and consciousness that we should put to rest in our adulthood. Frigidity cured! - CARLOS REYES. FROM THE ALBUM: O MARINEROS. DIRECTOR: ALVARO PUENTES. CHILE

((Los Wálters)) 
06. Luis López Varona
It's 2016 and the indie-click bands are still centering anthropology in their mise en scène. If the videos aren't flooded with kids chanting "Folklore!," then they might exploit the elderly in the new-inquisition of the millenial "WeAreYoung!" anthem heights. Yeah, I loved Porter's Moctezuma, but those videos are impenetrable. While this might sound like a backlash to our own altar of visual feast, there are new margins of contemporary cultural output to keep at margin (Engel Leonardo, Juan Mora Catlet, to name a few). Director Luis López Varona takes things from mundane to a roadtrip of sorts in Los Walter's "Porsche." Working with a beautiful paletee of browns, blues, and yellows, the frame is helmed with such warmth that it's able to embed any furniture, tree, or citizen on its way into this tiny but gracious form of story-telling. What's truly transcendental here is the way López is able to keep the exotic at a low key, and maintain the visceral and the eroticism of the caribbean panoramic with, pardon my romance, bravura! - CARLOS REYES. FROM THE ALBUM: VERANO PANORAMICO. DIRECTOR: LUIS LOPEZ VARONA. PUERTO RICO

05. Jaloo
Brazilian newcomer Jaloo is nothing short from ambitious as he embarks in the odyssey of writing, singing, directing, and portraying a dozen versions of himself as he strikes to make viral a story about the "greatest love story of them all." Like many of his contemporaries, Jaloo has come to a point of his life where spirituality, story-telling, and playing devil's advocate add to much more than his own amusement. "Insight" touches elbows with Vampire Weekend's "Ya Hey," Chance The Rapper's "Sunday Candy," and John Maus' "Believer"as one of the most faith-endearing pieces about that love that demolishes religious barricades and states of consciousness. Photoshoots, nightst of too many smoke rings/halos, drinks, and confessionals with new media almost drown the subject of the story, but Jaloo is clever enough to know just how good and bad the world around all of us is. We can't help but to celebrate the balance of this meta-videoclip and its found-beauty amongst the language of links, phone calls, frame distortions, and yes, those glimmering panoramas of the MySpace era. - CARLOS REYES. FROM THE ALBUM: #1. DIRECTOR: JALOO. BRAZIL

04. Dan Sickles & Antonio Santini
The stars we encounter on “Métele” are underground queens of a peculiar Puerto Rican nightlife, their time & place aurally framed by pop alchemist Dev Hyne's nostalgic synth driven compositions. Filmed by Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini, “Métele” expands on the director duo’s vision for the 2014 documentary celebrating the fluid gender identities found in the Borinken club scene, Mala, Mala. Our first protagonist glides through the streets of Santurce, their evening gown golden in glitter. Buscabulla’s Raquel Berrio enters our narrative as the onlooker caught in traffic, her vehicular claustrophobia juxtaposed with scenes from the sex trade: stage dancers, girls who do house calls. Strobe lights, a near empty club, pink imitation nails, another queen dressed in gold shaves her armpit hair, and our first protagonist tucks their genitalia. Then, a deeper intimacy: one of the girls sips into a plastic cup from KFC, sharing eye contact with her admiring john as he casually eats a slice of pizza from Papa John’s. By the music video’s rapturous final moments, it is clear who our ultimate star is. The girl who was just moments ago untucking the underwear sticking to her ass cheeks, is now dancing for 20s, in inches of heels, dressed in leopard print pink. It is a declaration of life for a community who has historically faced such condemnations of death.- ZÉ GARCIA. FROM THE ALBUM: MATUCANA. DIRECTOR: DAN SICKLES & ANTONIO SANTINI. PUERTO RICO

((Gepe feat. 
Wendy Sulca)) 
03. Ian Pons Jewell
For the video of Gepe's latest single "Hambre", the director, Ian Pons Jewell, has gone with a literal take on the lyrics of the song. And why not? What Gepe, like most of his Chilean peers, has been crafting through his career is a redefinition and refinement of niche genre: this song takes his past major-key singles and shaves off their edges, narrowing down ideas, but retaining the essence of pure fuck-yeah ANDEAN POP! As 'Club guru, Carlos Reyes, stated in his first review of the song, there is always the worry these sounds (and collaborations) will slide into kitsch - what pan-pipers the world over have been actively promoting for decades. Aware of this, but not embarrassed by it, this video celebrates the "disfraces finos y elegantes" of the past and present backbone of the continent. The video opens with a be-shorted hipster entering a cool establishment, greeted with a "Be Our Guest" enthusiasm, only to wind up as the main course. The wry humour, and deliberate gross out factor - that's just pork, isn't it? - subverts the theme of the song: the constant search for satiation, carnal or otherwise. We're all hungry, and there's a fine line between enjoying it, like a feast, and sacrificing each other to Wendy Sulca's high priestess. Dale de comer! - SAM RODGERS. FROM THE ALBUM: ESTILO LIBRE. DIRECTOR: IAN PONS JEWELL. CHILE/PERU

“Tu Casa Nueva”
((El Último Vecino)) 
02. Gerson Aguerri
“Tu Casa Nueva” was released last December as a Maxi-Single CANADA Editorial and rose at once to the top 25 of our Best songs of the year 2014. So it was about time for this stellar synthpop track to be given the video treatment, and for El Último Vecino’s hard-hitting irresistible melodies to resurface. Gerard Alegre Dòria’s decadent, symbolist lyrics (“Todas las espinas que yo tenía en la cabeza / me han sesgado.”), deep and sorrowful tone and pure and immediate rhythms carry a melancholic urgency that sets him apart from other revivalists acts of the moment. Three decades interact here: the coldness of the new wave-esque synths, some rock impulses and an ever oozing dance side. Directed by Gerson Aguerri (who has also worked with El Guincho and Los Massieras), the video merges scattered elements (a rising sun, what could be doric columns, occultism and plant close-ups) reflecting the dizzying eclecticism of EÚV and wittily grasping the links between subject and space, a theme that seems central to Dòria’s work. - SOUAD MARTIN-SAOUDI. . FROM THE ALBUM: TU CASA NUEVA EP. DIRECTOR: GERSON AGUERRI. SPAIN

01. Alejandro Ghersi 
Daniel Sannwald
La experimentación de nuevas formas sonoras puede ser un apuesta donde las probabilidades de éxito y fracaso comparten las mismas probabilidades. Escuchar el lenguaje musical creado por Arca produce la misma sensación cuando los oyentes acostumbrados a los cánones clásicos de composición, experimentan por primera vez los universos sonoros de Penderecki, Varese o Cage. La experiencia es similar a escuchar el Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima, De Natura Sonoris o Kosmogonia. "Vanity," como el pasatiempo favorito del demonio, esta conformado por sonidos ásperos, ácidos metálicos que recuerdan al choque dos placas exponiendo nuevas formas cristalinas con latices bifásicos. La experiencia visual del video amalgama perfectamente la naturaleza dual: por un lado imágenes de contenido sexual ambivalente en una atmósfera lúgubre con destellos de luz y por otra parte sumergido de manera luminosa en el liquido amniótico universal como lo es el agua. El juicio de valor desaparece en el espectador, al igual que el miedo a experimentar un pecado capital como la vanidad. - JULIO PAEZ.. FROM THE ALBUM: MUTANT. DIRECTOR: ALEJANDRO GHERSI & DANIEL SANNWALD. VENEZUELA/USA