Genre of the year: Reggaeton

There have been many great genres this year. We all enjoyed the fresh appearance of logobi, I've totally got into zouk-love, and at some point I've started to really "get" a lot of the previously mysterious trance/hardcore hybrid genres, like hardstyle.

But there's one considerably older style of music I've consistently returned to, which has really made my 2009: Reggaeton. To some people, this is bizarrely the year the genre died, but from my perspective it's never been more vital or more interesting, and it's forged a path quite different and refreshing compared to everything else going on at the moment. Yes, it's connected to the wider movement towards electro and trance-oriented sounds that might actually have peaked already, but even more so it's tapped straight into the source - Reggaeton 2009 has been channelling the eighties, and everything good about them!

Sometimes, it's been very direct. Compare, for instance, the following track...

ZK Feat. Crac MC - Disculpeme Senorita

..with just about any italo disco, most obviously perhaps this Raggio De Luna classic:

It's a fun leap, one I think not many other genres have made this year. Little flourishes of new wave, italo, video game music, hi-nrg and freestyle are evident in many more Reggaeton tracks this year, but for me that's far from the only interesting idea that's been revived from the eighties. For instance, remember earlier in the year I had a little obsession with collecting tracks about robots and sex? Well, the theme has been brought back in a major way in Reggaeton this year!

Which brings me to what must surely be the album of the year, any genre: "Idon" by Don Omar, which brings together all what's been great about Reggaeton beautifully. A super-ambitious science-fiction concept album (when did pop music last produce one of those?), it perfectly encapsulates the complex platonic soul of great music: instinct mingled with intellect, emotional warmth meets calculating coldness. Just like the best eighties music! The sheer, the square and the dirty feed off each other, in a heady/pelvic mixture of body and mind. And it manages to do so in a musical costume where the Caribbean lives side-by-side with everything from Bon Jovi to Jam and Lewis, with tiny bleeps and massive rumbles, industrial, faux-orientalism, just about anything in breathtaking scope.

It's perhaps hard to capture in a single track (get the album!) but luckily there's the awesome cyborg-inflicted musical-conceptual video for The Chosen/Virtual Diva to whet your appetite. Somewhere here I think the best of 2009 might well be located.


Dave Quam said...

interesting post, I don't keep up with Reggaeton as much as I'd like (though I only have to travel about 2 miles to find plenty of it in Humboldt Park here in Chicago). You know this song?


A Chicago Jukeggeton hybrid song that got some decent exposure. I've seen it pop up on mixtapes and such.

The Incredible Kid said...

I slept on iDon up until a few months ago and then realized it was a major step forward. I don't like all the tracks, but my favorites are some of my favorites of the year. Thanks for the post.