I’ve met lots of people who have “songs of the summer”–songs that may not lyrically define their summer seasonal experience, but which, for some reason or other, crop up through their summer in a way that renders them part of the essential soundtrack of every warm-weather memory for a given year. Last year I had Sarah Harmer’s “Captive” and Hey Ocean!’s “Make a New Dance Up.” One summer in high school it was BNL’s “One Week.” These songs–and usually it’s only one or two–survive multiple rounds on repeat and become unforgettable parts of our summers.
This year, one of the two songs was “Desliz” a duet from Lucero and Joan Sebastian. Obviously, Spanish practice via telenovelas with Lucero led me to her music, and, well, I’m never one to avoid good music, no matter what the language. So, I bought the newest album from the Amazon MP3 store. The whole album (Un Lu*Jo) is a great collecton in total, but “Desliz” just amused the hell outta me.
Ninety-nine percent of the attraction is the sound. This is a song that sounds like South Texas to me. It’s that awesome hybrid of so many musical styles that you only seem to get with music near the Tex-Mex border. The polka-esque beat with baritone horns and clarinets twittering that I associate with the Geman, Pole and Czech elements of my birth locale, melded with that distinct lilt and twist from Mexico. And then, ZOMG, how to really go straight to Cammy’s musical heart? The steel guitar (and if that’s NOT a steel guitar, it sure as hell sounds like one and I’m not sure I want the illusion shattered, y’all). I can literally picture the people shuffling around a dance hall. It’s brilliant!
This was some of my first real sampling of Joan Sebastian’s work (I know I’ve probably heard him before in Texas, as he’s immensely popular in mariachi, ranchera, norteño, etc. music and he sounds like someone I’ve heard before–very familiar). Based on this, I’ll definitely be adding him to my “buy more” list. I really like his style and sound. And, of course, Lucero, I’ve mentioned before (and she’s another one that I’m fairly certain I heard back when I still lived in Texas–she just sounds a little too familiar for me not to have heard her before…I just didn’t know who it was I was hearing). Since I identified her first as an actress, and, having heard actors in the U.S. who (try to) sing, I was hesitant about checking out her music. That hesitancy was pointless because she is excellent, and I shifted from thinking of her as an actress first, to a singer first, actress second.
I can’t say that “Desliz” is a particular showcase for either of their vocal talent (other songs in the collection are better for that), though they sound great. This song is just meant to sound more fun than heartfelt. The laid-back, gentle bounce to the rhythm, the fact that you–literally-have Lucero giggling on the bloody track* make for a fantastic time. This is not a hype-you up song, but the kind you kick back to with a beer in one hand and your feet in a lake–like Jimmy Buffet.
The lyrics are just as easy going. “Desliz” for translates to “slip” or “mistake.” And the chorus
“la vida tiene cosas tristes
sin embargo sigue siendo maravillosa
y tienes que aceptar la espina
si es que quieres ser perfume que hay en la rosa
y mientras la luna cuelga allá en París
en México nuestro sol brilla feliz
esta cantando, celebrando algún desliz”
(very) roughly translates to
“life has sad things
but still marvelous things
and you have to accept the thorns
if you want the perfume that’s in the rose
and as the moon hangs there in Paris
in Mexico our sun shines happily
singing, celebrating some mistake”**
Basically? Good? Bad? It’s all there. Roll with it, dude.
But the most important part about this easy-going tune? It will forever be the background when I recall my road trip to Houston, surviving more job changes and sweating my way through Summer 2012.
*Some people are annoyed by recordings that are not 100% polished. In this age of over-engineered, synthesized and refined albums, I happen to love bits like Lucero’s giggle in this song. It brings reality and humanity back to the music. For me, moments like the giggle, or A.C. Newman calling out a cue to Neko Case in The New Pornographer‘s “Letter From an Occupant,” or–best of all, Patsy Cline’s ragged breath near the end of “Faded Love”–transform a song from just a song to a real moment.
**Please note that if Kristy or Mary leave a comment regarding this translation, trust them. Their Spanish? Waaaaaaaaaaay better than mine.