Songs I Wish Everyone Knew: “Amor De Loca Juventud” By Buena Vista Social Club

Most predominantly English-speaking music markets have had an awful history of not accepting music sung in different languages. Sure, every now and than a “La Bamba” or “Gangnam Style” will come along to cut through the pack, but, at large, this ethnocentric mindset is sadly characteristic of the mainstream in these areas. It’s especially disappointing considering many other major music markets (Japan, for example,) are happy to embrace popular music from all over the world. While it may not have been popular in the Top 40 sense, the Buena Vista Social Club has been a heralded exception to this rather shameful rule. Far more a collective of talented musicians than an actual group (see Parliament-Funkadelic or Odd Future as examples,) their lone, self-titled studio album has been widely considered a masterpiece that transcends genre and language. Released in 1997, the Buena Vista Social Club LP came about after guitarist Ry Cooder took a trip to Cuba to record many of the legendary musicians famous for playing in the namesake club back in the 1950s. The end result was a truly beautiful representation of a culture that so rarely had a chance to shine in other parts of the world. Every song on the record is flawlessly executed, and no matter your personal musical niche is, it’s hard not to walk away from the collection feeling truly affected in some manner. If there was one particular track I’d want everybody to know, it would have to be my favorite cut, “Amor De Loca Juventud.” Tucked into the album’s second half, the song is one of the simplest, but one of the most strikingly beautiful. Maybe it’s because the melody is so accessible, or maybe it’s because the delicate, perfectly synced acoustic guitars evoke heightened passion, but this is a song that truly feels like an authentic slice of Cuban culture. No matter what language you speak, “Amor De Loca Juventud” will inevitably have you smiling or crying uncontrollably, and maybe both.




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