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Archive for the ‘Tijuana No!’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: TIJUANA NO!-Transgresores de la Ley (1994).

In the mid 90s, when I was living in Boston, I discovered MTV Latino, and the Rock en Español resurgence.  Since I’m always interested in new music, I bought a few CDs by these Spanish-singing bands.  For most of my life I’ve thought about the rabid Japanese audiences who loved bands that sand in English.  Did they understand the lyrics?  And did it matter?  Well, here was a test for me.

Tijuana No! was the first band I bought and I really liked it (and still do).

The disc opens with a rollicking ska rocker “Goples Bajos” which features a wonderful horn filled breakdown and ends with a blistering guitar solo.  The title track, “Transgresores de la Ley” opens with a military beat and a military sounding flute before taking off with a heavy verse and, more impressively, a punk/shouty chorus.

My favorite song is “Tu y Yo,” it’s funky all over the place and has a super heavy midsection.  And “Borregos Kamikazes” has a wonderful juxtaposition of speedy, almost loco lyrics in the verses with some great group vocals in the chorus.

The first surprise (for me) comes with “La Esquina del Mundo” because suddenly there’s a female vocalist on lead.  She sounds great (her voice has a cool echo on it) and although she doesn’t quite convey the heaviness of the rest of the track, it’s an interesting juxtaposition.

The second surprise is that the track “Conscience Call” is mostly in English (I got so used to not understanding the lyrics that I was quite surprised to hear words I understood).

The final surprise comes with the penultimate track: an excellent cover of The Clash’s “Spanish Bombs.” Again sung by the female vocalist, her voice works wonderfully with the track.  The chorus, sung in Spanish, is really perfect.

So, in answer to the question, do you need to understand the lyrics to enjoy the music?, I’d say no.  Although it is nice once in a while.

[READ: November 20, 2010] The Savage Detectives

This was the Bolaño novel that I had initially wanted to read because the reviews were so glowing (amusingly enough it turns out to be virtually the last book of his that I read).  And now that I have read almost all of his books, it’s obvious how this book fits into his larger scheme of writing (I wonder what I would have thought if I hadn’t read the other books, too.  In fact, I wonder if I would have liked 2666 more at the time if I had read this one first.  As it is, I think I enjoyed this more having read 2666 first).

[DIGRESSION: When I was reading 2666 I found a fantastic review of 2666/The Savage Detectives by Daniel Zalewski, which reviews 2666 and The Savage Detectives in context of Bolaño’s life].

In a previous post I noted how Bolaño doesn’t really write conventional novels.  And this one is no exception.  Part I is the diary of Juan Garcia Madero, a 17-year-old aspiring poet.  It covers from November to December 31, 1975 .

Garcia Madero talks about his introduction to the visceral realists, a group of Mexican poets whose legacy is more or less unknown to us now (in the book–in reality there was no such group).  The two main visceral realists are Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima, and we will follow or look for these two for the rest of the book.

As with other Bolaño books, there is a massive obsession with sex.  At first Garcia Madero is a virgin and thinks about sex a lot.  Then he finally has sex with first one woman and then many women.  And he writes about them in his diary and spares no details.  (Many entries reveal him having sex with one of his girlfriends 5 or 6 times a night).  And there are of course whores and other deviant sexual individuals (including a guy who carries a large knife by which he measures his penis–we never see this, it’s all hearsay, but it’s in there).

And during this time, he is writing poetry as well–a fully welcomed member of the visceral realists.   (more…)

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