Expect to find the unexpected in Mexico City (DF) with Marcela Viejo, keyboardist/vocalist of Mexico’s praised electropop ensemble, Quiero Club. Mexico’s capital is a lively, rich, and diverse place where one is bound to find oddities, novelties, and underground movements of sorts. In this weekly column, Marcela takes you along on her musical quest to find these rare gems and obscure scenes via reviews, interviews, and profiles. The idea is to search.
Here’s a 12-track playlist that I compiled to celebrate this upcoming Mexican Independence Day. Above the tracks, I explain what these songs mean to me in relation to this special day for all Mexicans.
The selection of songs are rather eclectic with different styles of genres. But what connects them together is that all these songs (besides that I really like them) transmit a revolutionary attitude and spirit with desires of liberty. Two things that Mexicans celebrate in this day of El Grito is tequila, and lots of party.
Although things are not like we want them to be in Mexico — and many who think like me are affected by the return of the PRI — this 15th of September, we will gritar to not cry, and to try to do everything that’s at our hands to avoid the return of a repression and the seizing of our country. Enrique Peña Nieto doesn’t deserve to be where he’s at, so from now and on, we’ll shout and we’ll wave our flags saying: Si hay imposición habrá revolución! (If there’s imposition, there will be revolution!)
The near future is pretty scary, so the only thing we have to do from our part, for our country, is to progress in the best way. Music unites us, so I hope these songs that I’m sharing with you will also inspire you!
1) Tijuana No! – “Transgresores de la ley“
I chose this song by Tijuana No! because, besides representing the mexican rockera movement of the ’90s, it fits very well.
“¡A defender la dignidad, gritando fuerte Tierra y Libertad!”
2) Rodrigo Gonzalez – “El Gran Silencio”
I relate the lyrics to this song with what many revolutionaries intended to do. In the end, they gave their lives to liberty.
“Armas con tu vida alguna historia, donde sin pena ni gloria, no comprendes ni el final. Te metiste hacia un mundo de pasiones, donde las ilusiones, te pudieron atrapar.”
3) Mecano – “El blues del esclavo”
This song is one of my favorites from Mecano’s album, Descanso Dominical. The lyrics talk about a revolution, a protest of slaves asking for a normal salary, or a sunday break, and all the things all workers should obtain as a wage for all their hard efforts. It’s about searching for an immediate changes and end with repression.
“A ver si ahora con la guerra de secesión se admite nuestro sindicato del algodón que a saber quiere obtener descanso dominical, un salario normal dos pagas, mes de vacaciones y una pension tras la jubilación que se nos trate con dignidad como a semejantes emigrantes.”
4) Alaska y Los Pegamoides – “Estrategia Militar”
We couldn’t go on without a song from my maestra, Alaska. I really like these lyrics and they remind me of Miguel Hidalgo’s intent to win the battle against the Spaniards. And despite all of his plans and strategies to defeat Spain, he finally dies by being shot. The strategy failed!
“El jefe de la resistencia/ sufre un ataque de histeria. Ordena a sus diligencias/ que inicien la evacuación. Cerpos que yacen sin vida/ las tropas ya se retiran. Palomas mensajeras/ reiteran la petición. La estrategia falló/ La estrategia falló.”
5) Siniestro Total – Los Putos Amos
The shameless face of this Spanish group was always characterized by their crud humor. In the lyrics, they talk about how in the past Christians were repressed and killed by the Romans. And now, this is what makes them the fucking masters, or “los putos amos” :S
“Hace más de dos mil años/ matábamos cristianos/ somos los romanos/ somos los putos amos.”
6) Gil Scott-Heron – “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”
No waiting sitting in your living room to wait for the revolution to come knocking on your door to get out there and get it!
“The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised. The revolution will be no re-run brothers; the revolution will be live.”
7) The Children – “Freedom”
I chose this topic because it’s about liberty (hence the title) and in all celebrations of independence, we celebrate liberty and what better way than with a song that you can dance to in honor of liberty.
8) George Michael – “Freedom”
Another track that talks about liberty in all its splendor: sexual existencial liberty, etc. I really like this because it reminds me of my high school days when this song played on TV all day.
“All we have to do now is take these lies and make them true somehow. All we have to see is that I don’t belong to you and you don’t belong to me. Freedom! You’ve gotta give for what you take.”
9) Bob Marley – “Get Up, Stand Up”
I couldn’t miss this anthem of revolution either from this playlist by the great Bob Marley. His lyrics say it directly without beating around the bush:
“Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!(4X)Preacherman, don’t tell me, heaven is under the earth. I know you don’t know what life is really worth. It’s not all that glitters is gold; half the story has never been told. So now you see the light, eh! Stand up for your rights!”
10) David Bowie – “Heroes”
“Heroes” by David Bowie, to me is an inspirational song that talks about being a hero, even if it’s just for a day. And that should be more than enough to be tranquil as human beings. We should all aspire to be a hero one day in life; to leave all timidness, and to adventure without fear.
“Nothing could fall/ nothing could fall. And the shame was the other side/ forever and ever we can be heros just for a day.”
11) Siouxsie and the Banshees – “Face to Face”
Siouxsie is another one of my favorite maestras. This song transmits to me lots of strength. It insists to remove all masks and define myself and what I am with clarity. For me, it’s a song that talks about liberty and to face our darkest desires with courage.
“Commit your crime in your deadly time/ It’s too divine/ I want to bend/ I want this bliss but something says I must resist/ Another life/ Another time/ We’re siamese twins writhing intertwined/ Face to face/ No telling lies/ The masks they slide to reveal a new disguise.”
12) Punk Suicida – “Sindrome del Punk”
The song is very simple, and the lyrics are very amusing. Even though the lyrical content is brief, it transmits a want to start revolution and to adventure in rebellion.
“Hoy es el gran día, agarra tu chamarra. Parate los pelos con suicida punk, suicida punk, suicida punk, suicida, suicida punk!”