10 Rock en Español Albums to Listen to Before You Die

Categories: Albums we like


1. Re, Café Tacuba


This is also Lechner's choice, and the choice of almost every rock en español critic ever (save for a few Argies who'll always side with Cerati). Unimaginative scribes will call it Cafe Tacuba's White Album, or Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but I say it's closer to London Calling: a cri du coeur about a gargantuan, fucked-up wonderful metropolis (in the case of los tacubos, Mexico City) that only a native and a native alone can truly love and get. Like the Clash's magnum opus, Re is a dizzying, breathless valentine through genres (in this album's case, the overt homages/parodies include trios, death metal, banda sinaloense, ranchera, son jarocho, New Wave, boleros, cumbia, merengue--and this short list doesn't include the swatches of God-knows-how-many-other genres that the group pops into the album just for the hell of it) featuring local slang and shout-outs, and with a patina of politics no modern Latin alternative band will ever attempt but which was the whole point of rock en español to begin with.

Actually, I'd put this album in a list of 10 greatest albums of all time, period, if only for this song: "Trópico de Cancer," about a petroleum engineer who tells his fellow workers he's quitting because he doesn't want to add further pollution and development to the world. Yes, it sounds like the most pretentious song in history--but only Cafe Tacuba could've made it into a romantic, danceable thing. And that it's only about the eighth-best song on Re shows the brilliance of this album. Listen to it, and you'll love Mexicans forever.

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