Los Del Rio – Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)

First Hit #1: August 3, 1996

Confession time: I did not re-listen to the entirety of the Macarena before writing this. In fact, I made it precisely 49 seconds in before saying “Nope, never need to hear this again, not worth it” and turning it off. In my defense, as someone who was alive in 1996, there was no need to ever, ever hear the song again.

It’s not that the Macarena is bad, though it is bad. It’s a song that’s pretty much one rapid-fire chorus over an unchanging beat that wears out its welcome about 50 seconds into the song. Sure, the Bayside Boys add a female vocal that helpfully translates the lyrics, but that does not really extend the song. It’s a song that is designed for repetition, so people can do the repetitive Macarena dance that came packaged with the song.

But that’s not why I hate the Macarena. No, it’s because I was alive in 1996, and if you were alive in 1996 you would have had the same experience – the damn song was everywhere, played for everything. There were people doing the dance, the song opened millions of events, it was the sound of the summer, the fall, even the winter – Los Del Rio actually tried a cash-in Christmas version – and since it was so repetitive, one would immediately know the song and immediately get sick of it.

After an initial period of curiosity – prompted mostly by being quite young and finding the dance somewhat compelling when observing the young women I had just begun to notice – the Macarena quickly became a song I hated, and pretty soon just the first few notes from the cheap as dirt synthesizers would have me reaching to change the radio dial. Eventually, the world had a similar reaction, and the Macarena was relegated to the same dustbin of history as Orbitz soft drinks and Hypercolor shirts. But for a time, it was the definition of ubiquity, and anyone who lived through the horror of its reign at the top can, in spite of their best efforts to block the memory, still probably recite most of the lyrics.

So no, I never need to hear this again. Nobody else does either, so don’t click the embedded video.

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4 Responses to Los Del Rio – Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)

  1. tPenguinLTG says:

    “So no, I never need to hear this again.” Ditto.

  2. RBerman says:

    Granted that I, too, cannot fathom someone calling in to ask a radio station to play this in its entirety, in 1996 or any other year. Still, it was the number one song for over a quarter of the year, which demands a combination of internal and external factors in play. The musical hook, sung by Los Del Rio, is perfectly fine. It began its life in a traditional rumba song they wrote for a dance party. The whole original song was remixed into a Spanish-language dance track (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv5zKd1rqcM). Then American producers chopped out all the Spanish vocals except the chorus, and inserted the campy, sing-song cooing in English over the top. Way over the top. It wouldn’t have been nearly as big a hit if not linked to a synchronized dance (really just a series of hand movements), at a time in which line dancing was enjoying a brief renaissance. Then the music video (as opposed to the song-only YouTube clip above) had a bunch of bouncy girls demonstrating the dance.

    Lively Spanish hook. Sassy English chant. Throbbing dance rhythm. Associated dance moves. Suggestive music video. Which of them was most responsible for this song’s insane popularity? I took a little poll around my workplace at lunch, and the voting was unanimous. It was “the dance.” Not for nothing does Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” continue to hold the “number one #1 song in Bilboard history ever” record.

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