If you attended middle school in Texas during 2004 like I did, there’s an iconic song that you probably remember being played at every school dance & party. No, not ‘My Boo’ by Usher or ‘Breakaway’ by Kelly Clarkson.
Remember that song?
None of us knew the words, which was probably best for a couple of middle schoolers.
The only word we knew was ‘Gasolina’.
Then we’d do our best spanish impersonation for the rest of the song.
Good times, right?
As far as I can remember, that was my first encounter with reggaeton. I didn’t necessarily like the song. It was just one of those fun, catchy songs that everyone kinda knew.
Growing up in Texas, I was always surrounded by Latin culture and this included the music. However, I’d never actually made the decision to listen to spanish music myself. Id hear it every so often, but I wouldn’t have necessarily chosen to turn the radio station to or add the music to my ipod.
It wasn’t until I heard the music non-stop during my trip through Latin America that I became a bit...OBSESSED.
Reggaeton was everywhere. It was only inevitable that I’d end up liking it. It’s kinda like Bruno Mars here in the US. You hear it so many times that you have no choice but to eventually succumb. One day, you find it annoying & corny. Next thing you know, you find yourself shopping in the mall and somehow you know every single word when the song comes on???
I’d hear the music inside restaurants - as I was eating my tacos, or empanadas, or rice & beans.
And during the entire duration of my sailing trips. One night the crew even cleared the deck as we sailed the San Blas Islands and 7 of us danced over the water all night long.
And on chicken buses, which are essentially old American school buses that looked like they’ve each been on an episode of ‘Pimp My Ride’.
And even on the streets - to the point where you’re looking around wondering where exactly that music is coming from? But of course you dance anyway.
I eventually had to admit that I was a fan. No, I wasn’t just a fan. I loved it. Even when I couldn’t understand more than 5 words.
Once I finally embraced my love for reggaeton, I was dancing everywhere. I mean, how can you not? I was in a good mood anytime I heard it. No matter where I was - the store, the taxi, my host mom’s home, everywhere. It didn’t matter that all of the songs sounded the same. In fact, that made it even better.
All of my trip memories are riddled with the same group of songs and I couldn’t be happier about that. Anytime I hear these songs, I’ll remember the long bumpy rides on chicken buses, the late nights with new friends, and the trip that taught me so much.
And yes, I’m listening to it right now, to set the tone as I write this blog post & also, because it’s SO dang good.
Hope you all enjoy the short playlist!