18th September, 2004

Wiki | Video

One of the beauties of Billboard's old method of determining chart placements for various musical subcultures -- like R&B, hip-hop, country, alternative rock, or Latin -- being primarily about what was popular on the playlists of radio stations which served those audiences is that one-week miracles like this were still possible. Another Andy & Lucas will never happen in the streaming age, which is set up to reward the broadest-audience music possible as long as it's given the appropriate genre tag, regardless of whether the music's core audience cares about it, with endless reigns only occasionally broken up by viral sensations.

There was nothing particularly viral about Andy & Lucas, aside from the age-old sensation of cute boys singing sensitive love songs. The flamenco-inspired guitar runs which open and interrupt the song are more an indication of their Spanish nationality, as if their lisping accents hadn't given it away, than an indication of musical virtuosity. There hasn't been as simplistic, or even simple-minded, a song as this on this travelogue for quite some time -- maybe not since "Aserejé," which at least had the virtue of being fun.

But the comparison points to Spain's odd-man-out place in this travelogue. Enrique Iglesias aside (and a argument can be made that he really belongs more to Miami than to the mother country), Spanish artists can only really be novelties on the Hot Latin chart after the millennium. Which would have surprised me back in the 80s, when Rocío Dúrcal and Julio Iglesias were a regular presence; but one consequence of the increased Latinx population in the US over the last thirty years is that it's more and more Central American and Caribbean, so that the white, Iberophilic Latinos who once made up a much more significant portion of the Latin music audience are less significant, and Spain now plays an even more diminished role in Latin pop than the UK does in US English-speaking pop.

All of which is by way of skirting the fact that while Andy & Lucas are certainly cute and give good puppy-dog eyes, there is almost nothing to say about the song: its pseudo-profundities are nostrums that were old when the book of Proverbs was written, and its one lyrical stroke of inspiration, the three-syllable rhyme of "calor y frío" (heat and cold) with "escalofrío" (shiver) is still pretty goofy. Everything else is super generic, from the electronic shuffle of the rhythm to the rise and fall of verse and chorus. I hope the young people who made it #1 for a week in 2004 remember it fondly; that's probably the best use it could have.

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