Café Tacvba - Re / by Rollie Agado

Opted to not participate (again) in any Cinco de Mayo festivities today... it's been a day that has gone largely unrecognized on my part for a really long time.  It did however influence my muscal selection for the day tho'.   I thought long and hard about what album to select today and I settled on Café Tacvba's seminal release "Re".

I wouldn't expect the small readership of this daily blog to have any familiarity with the band or the album...  it is however one of my All-Time-Top 5 albums.   I'm firmly of the opinion that it's the greatest rock en espaniol album ever released and wouldn't be surprised if they were selected as the first spanish speaking artist to enter the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame.

Named after a Cafe on Tacuba Street in Mexico City, the band formed in the late 80's/early 90's garnering a loyal following in Mexico City.  I had learned about the band though an Uncle who had closely followed their young career and turned me onto the second album "Re".  

It's really difficult to describe the soundscapes of this album because they sorta encompass EVERYTHING.  The band went out of its way to incorporate sounds that influenced them personally and culturally.  The band in many ways opened my mind, ears and heart to styles of latino music I had gone out of my way to avoid.

Stand out tracks:

La ingrata - The second track on the album and first single I heard from the album and band.  They made a freakishly huge impression on me when I saw their video...  it was the first time in my life where I saw something depict the lives of people I personally knew in Mexico City.  They genuinely looked and sounded like the people I would spend every summer with.

The song was also amazing.  It's about an ungrateful bitch who is undeserving of your love.  

My favorite part of the song:

¿Qué no ves que estoy sufriendo?
Por favor hoy no me digas
que sin mi te estás muriendo
que tus lágrimas son falsas.
Tu desprecias mis palabras
y mis besos,
pues si quiero hacerte daño
sólo falta que yo quiera lastimarte
y humillarte.

Esa noche  - is an example of a song that made me completely rethink my stance on traditional spanish speaking songs.  The song is a touching account about a person who wishes that his love didn't leave him alone.  On said he night he found another love... 

Trópico de Cáncer - this song cuts to the heart of wanting to leave the condensed/concrete surroundings of Mexico City...  

El metro - colorful observations about being stuck in the Mexico City Metro system.  

El fin de la infancia - I'm not quite sure what style of music they're aping here.  It's a mixture of of what I think people refer to as "Banda" and Ska?  The song is about the inevitable clash between young and old...  

Madrugal - is a song that I believe apes the musical styling of what is often referred to as "Trio"...  a short song about the majestic beauty of a building (Metropolitan Cathedral) and a walkway to it covered in pigeon shit.

La negrita - I damn near get weepy when I hear this song.  I always think of my grandmother when I hear this song.  It's a beautiful song about a person making it work.... 

El Tlatoani del barrio - I truly have no idea what the fuck this song is about...  I think there's a black n' white image in the CD booklet that led me to believe that this was about a Wrestler.  I truly don't know...

Las flores - the song structure and musicianship is jaw dropping.  This is one of those songs you don't want to translate in fear of losing something in the translation.  To hear it is to instantly fall in love with the band and song.

El puñal y el corazón - in my opinion, this is the finest song penned on the album.  The title translates into "the heart and the knife".   The romantic ballad delicately plays on the juxtaposition of those two things.   

Here's the band performing it on a special MTV Unplugged...

Artists: Café Tacvba
Album: Re
Producer: Gustavo Santaolalla
Label: Warner Music Mexico
Recorded: Can-Am, Devonshire