July 18, 2017
Todd plays "Despacito" on the piano.
DESPACITO - LUIS FONSI ft. DADDY YANKEE & JUSTIN BIEBER
A pop song review
Todd: Well, hey! A summer song! A song you would actually listen to in the summer! How did that happen?
'Despacito' video begins
Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee: Fonsi, D-Y
OhTodd (VO): I'm sorry to keep bringing this up, but modern pop music is in what old-timey sailors call 'The Doldrums'.
Clip of Imagine Dragons - "Believer"
Dan Reynolds: Pain, you made me a, you made me a believerTodd (VO): We live in dark times and we keep getting dark music. Purveyors of happy, candy-colored pop music like [clip of "Chained to the Rhythm" by...] Katy Perry are struggling because we're just not happy enough to listen to this. [clip of Halsey - "Now or Never"] Music has to be depressing now. One of my viewers called it [tweet about Halsey's...] "man of steel pop", a term I am immediately [same tweet, 'TODD IN THE SHADOWS' is slapped over twitter user's name] appropriating and claiming as my own. I came up with it, it's my phrase now.
Todd: But goddammit, we can't be sad and dour all the time. [picture of beach background with coconut, sunglasses and sandal] It's still summer, [picture of...] we're not actually a post-apocalyptic wasteland, even if that's the impression you get listening to [comic with chicken proclaiming the sky is falling] panicky idiot cultural critics such as myself. We need a good summer song. And if no one in the English-speaking world has it in them, by God, we'll get it elsewhere!
Quiero respirar tu cuello despacitoTodd: Spanish? Sure, why not!
Todd (VO): I mean, that's apparently what we concluded seeing as this song is not only successful in America, it's America's first foreign language #1 hit, in like six billion years.
Todd: Hey, I mean if you think about it, it makes sense. I mean, we're America. [image of box: Made in China] We don't manufacture anything anymore. [imitating South Park] Dey took 'er jerbs!
This is how we do it down in Puerto RicoTodd (VO): Okay yes, technically our song this week is also American seeing as it's from Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico is in fact [American flag placed beside Puerto Rican one] part of this country, even though we treat it like it's not, for God knows what reason. But for our purposes today, it's not in English, so it's foreign. Or at least it is to me.
Todd: I think I'm pretty well-versed in a lot of genres, but Latin pop is a huge blind spot for me.
Clip of Enrique Iglesias ft. Descemer Bueno, Gente de Zona - "Bailando"Todd (VO): I just don't know anything about it. I kind of mentally file all Spanish music into the same genre, which...
Todd: ...thinking about it, even for a second, that's obviously not right. I mean, here I am, trying to pretend I'm a real music critic, and I can't even tell the difference between... [picture of...] Tito Puente and... [and...] Menudo. Hey, you know, I don't think expertise is always necessary to be a good critic. On one hand, if you need to get some thoughtful analysis about...
Clip from...Todd (VO): ...DragonBall Z, you could get it from someone who's watched every episode, knows every season, and character, and plot line. But you could also get a lot from someone who has enough distance from it to watch two episodes and realize 'Hey, wait a minute. This sucks!' [IT DOES. EAT ME.]
Todd: I'm not a total clueless idiot; I'm-I'm a little more familiar with Spanish-language pop music than I used to be, cause...
Clip of Dan Omar ft. Lucenzo - "Danza Kuduro"Todd (VO): ...I live in New York now, and it has a huge Latino and specifically Puetro Rican population. They-they [clips from West Side Story] roam the streets in prancing gangs and sing about wanting to live in America. That's, uhh, that's what I understand at least...
Todd: ...I don't actually leave the house.
Clip of Maluma - "Felices los 4"Todd (VO): But yeah, I do hear Spanish-language music more and more. I know specifically, for example, that the song today is [image of the word reggaeton, which Todd struggles to pronounce] Reggaeton...reggaeton...ton...reggaeton. A popular genre that combines Latin pop, hip-hop and Caribbean music. [clip of N.O.R.E. feat. Nina Sky, Gem Star, Daddy Yankee and Big Mato - "Oye Mi Canto"] You may remember it from its brief blip in the spotlight right around '04 and '05. And then it disappeared back to Latin America because...
Todd: ...white people wanted to listen to music we actually understood.
Clip of Black Eyed Peas - "My Humps"
Fergie: My humps, my hump my hump my humpsTodd: Ok, maybe "understood" is not quite the right word. My point was...
Clip of "Despacito"Todd (VO): ...I could review a reggaeton song. I know music. I took three years of junior high Spanish. I bought a [album cover for...] copy of Santana's "Supernatural" in the 90's.
Todd: [sings briefly] Man it's a hot one. [normal] Yeah, and, OK, yes I'm totally not up on the genre...
Todd (VO): ...but, it's still cool to learn about all these artists I didn't know beforehand, but are more humongously famous and influential.
Todd: So, with no further ado, America, let me introduce you to one of the biggest names in Latin pop.
Todd (VO): The multi-talented Puerto Rican legend, who has weaved his way through multiple genres of Hispanic music to become a superstar in the Spanish-speaking world.
Todd: The one, the only...
Clip of Justin Bieber - "Baby"
Justin: Oh-whoa-whoa-whoaTodd (VO): No, no.
Todd: No, what the crap? No!
Clip showing the opening verse to "Despacito"
Justin: Comin' over in my direction
So thankful for that, it's such a blessin', yeah
Turn every situation into heaven, yeahTodd (VO): OK, that is not the singer I was talking about. But yeah, that is uh...
Todd: ...that's definitely the voice of Justin Bieber.
Justin: Make me wanna savor every moment slowly, slowlyTodd (VO): Which, you know, I-I watched the video; I didn't see no Justin Bieber in it.
Todd: [facepalms] OK, yeah, full disclosure: the version that's big in America, is in fact, [image of the "Despacito" remix single cover] a partially English remix, [image of a Justin Bieber poster] featuring Latin icon... [attempts to pronounce Justin's name in Spanish] Husteen Bie-a-bear.
Todd (VO): Look, song on the whole? It's fine. I don't mind it. It's OK.
Todd: That's my review; it's OK.
Todd (VO): But I am just. So. Sick. Of listening to Justin Bieber; we are just saturated with the little shit right now.
Clip from "I'm the One" - DJ Khaled ft. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne
Justin: ...lookin' at the truth, the money never lie noTodd (VO): I'm not sure how that happened but... I guess, once, Bieber hit puberty, producers decided that his particular, white-bread brand of R&B vocal styling, was exactly the kind of bland, featureless sound that slots into any producer's track. That's why even though his last record is a couple years old now he's still, goddamn everywhere.
Todd: And he is by far, the least interesting part of the track.
Clips from "Despacito"Todd (VO): He is completely, unnecessary to it. I-yeah, I guess without his star power it wouldn't have crossed over but... I still feel kind of insulted by him; he's not even singing in Spanish.
Todd: It's like they're saying: "Hey America, we made ya [image of...] a pina colada but, that's probably [image of a stereotypical American tourist] too exotic for you so, [back to the image of the pina colada] for your stupid's sake we're just gonna add a big glop of [spoonful of mayo is added into the picture] mayonnaise."
Todd: H-he's not even in the video.
Todd (VO): And f-for visual clarity's sake, whenever he show's up in the song, I'm just gonna [image of Justin Bieber's head] add this graphic.
Video for "Despacito" plays again from the beginning, but this time it also features the poorly inserted graphic of Justin Bieber's face, which only shows up during his verses. NOTE: Yes; not only does his face lip-sync "South Park style", but it also reappears throughout the remainder of the episode.
Justin: Comin' over in my directionTodd (VO): I mean I think it fits. I added him as clumsily to the video, as he was added to the song.
Todd: Although, you know, I don't know, maybe, maybe he does appreciate Spanish music.
Excerpt from an Entertainment Tonight report - "Watch Justin Bieber Forget the Spanish Lyrics to 'Despacito'". The title is pretty self-explanatory.Todd: Oh wow.
Justin: Baby, take it slow so we can last long
Luis: Tu...Todd (VO): No, he's a distraction is what he is. Especially from the two other artists, who seem much more interesting, and have been very popular for years and years. [album cover for 8 by...] First, the singer, Luis Fonsi.
Todd: [imitating The Fonz] Eyy.
Video for Daddy Yankee - "Gasolina"Todd (VO): And the other is Daddy Yankee, who I remember having quite a few hits ten years ago, but I hadn't really heard anything about in a while. I assume because he endorsed [clip from 2008 showing Daddy Yankee next to...] McCain/Palin in 2008, which [chuckles]...
Todd: ...bold stance there. [image of...] Even Toby Keith endorsed Obama in 2008.
Clip of "Despacito"Todd (VO): No, but mostly he disappeared because white America stopped listening to reggaeton. But, here he is again.
Todd: Eat that, Pitbull.
Video for Pitfull ft. Chris Brown - "International Love"Todd (VO): You thought you were king of stupid Hispanic rappers. But it is Daddy Yankee who has had the last laugh.
Todd: And they are both way better than whatever Bieber's doing.
Justin: My sunrise on the darkest day
Got me feelin' some kind of wayTodd (VO): [sarcastically] "Some kind of way." How evocative, Bieber.
Todd: Yeah, American pop has been grating for years. But in Puerto Rico, they still know how to speak the language of love.
Todd (VO): Every lyric is infused with that special, hot-blooded, 'ol Spanish-Caribbean charm.
Todd: I assume. Like I said, my Spanish is, uhh, is kinda shaky. But you can still tell, right?
Quiero respirar tu cuello despacitoTodd (VO): Despacito means, "slowly."
Todd: Which is weird 'cause it's not a very slow song, but you know what it means. He's gotta take his time. None of this...
Clip of The Weeknd - "The Hills"Todd (VO): ...The Weeknd's "I'll bang you if I'm drunk enough" crap.
Todd: You know what, you know I can find a translation. Here, let's-let's see what they're saying.
Clip of "Despacito" with translations of the lyrics
Luis: Tu [You]
Tu eres el iman y yo soy el metal [You're the magnet and I'm the metal]Todd (VO): That, uhh...that's a metaphor alright.
Todd: OK, I'm gonna assume, "I'm the metal," sounded better in Spanish. In English it sounds like, [imitating Jack Black from Tenacious D] "I'm the metal!"
Luis: Tu eres el iman y yo soy el metal [You're the magnet and I'm the metal]Todd (VO): In this though, he does at least know how magnets work. [still shot of Insane Clown Posse in "Miracles" video] Unlike some.
Luis: Me voy acercando y voy armando el plan [I'm getting closer and coming up with a plan]
Solo con pensarlo se acelera el pulso [Just thinking about it accelerates my pulse]
Daddy Yankee: Ya
Ya me esta gustando mas de lo normal [I'm already enjoying it more than usual]Todd: [pretending to sound excited] I'm already liking this way more than usual! [sighs] OK, uhh, clearly something's...
Todd (VO): ...being lost in translation here. It-it happens. This is why [clip of "Whenever, Wherever" by...] Shakira songs sound so weird in English.
Shakira: Lucky that my breasts are small and humble
So you don't confuse them with mountainsTodd (VO): Obviously [shot of...] Google Translate is, uhh, is not capturing the poetry of the original text.
Clip of "Despacito"
Luis: Despacito [Slowly]
Quiero desnudarte a besos despacito [I want to undress you with kisses slowly]
Firmo en las paredes de tu laberinto [Sign the walls of your labyrinth]
Y hacer de tu cuerpo todo un maunscrito [And turn your entire body into a manuscript]
Daddy Yankee: Sube, sube, subeTodd: [taken aback] Whoa!
Luis: Firmo en las paredes de tu laberinto [Sign the walls of your labyrinth]Todd (VO): Whoa! OK, that is the filthiest metaphor I've ever heard in a song.
Todd: Like, [stammers] if it's not clear, the instrument he's gonna write it with is his penis. And the ink he's gonna...I don't have to explain this. You know what [image of wall with the words "THE SEUS WAS HERE"] "Write on your labyrinth," means.
Luis: Déjame sobrepasar tus zonas de peligro [Let me surpass your danger zones]
Hasta provocar tus gritos [Until I make you scream]
Y que olvides tu apellido [And forget your last name]Todd (VO): What a weirdly specific thing to forget.
Todd: Oh, wait, wait. 'Cause she's married? And you're trying to make her forget her last name 'cause it belongs to some other dude, right? Yeah, I getcha. Or, uhh...am-am I botching it?
Todd (VO): OK. Again, I'm gonna lean on the, "I don't speak Spanish, this is something lost in translation," defense. I mean...again, at least the metaphors are actual clever metaphors. You just need to be...
Todd: ...able to speak the language. If you do, then obviously you understand the beauty of what he's saying and-
Clip of Mexican-American riot with sounds of booing played overTodd (VO): OK! I am being told by my Spanish-speaking viewers...
Todd: ...that this song is garbage and probably the worst song in reggaeton history. OK.
Luis: Que le enseñes a mi boca [I want you to show my mouth]
Tus lugares favoritos [your favorite places]Todd (VO): Yeah, I'm starting to suspect that not knowing Spanish isn't as big an obstacle for liking this song as I thought. It might help actually. In fact, I think it's strategic; none of the English lyrics are that dirty.
Todd: It's like a trick!
Todd (VO): Oh, what can I tell you? I still think it's OK. You know, I said before that listening to music in a language you don't understand is a different experience.
Todd: You're not part of the culture, you lose the nuances.
Todd (VO): But that doesn't necessarily make it a worse experience; sometimes it enhances it. And when I listen to this, it makes me feel like a...[notices the poorly edited Bieber graphic] OK, guys, when I'm talking you don't have to...
Todd: ...put up the graphic. I have the worst crew, I swear to God. Well...
Todd (VO): ...anyway, like I said...if I actually listen to reggaeton, I suspect I would agree with everyone telling me that this song is completely and thoroughly unremarkable. But I listen to American Top 40, so to me, this is a breath of fresh air. I like the rhythm, I like the Spanish guitars. It sounds so much more romantic than what we usually get.
Todd: Do you know what it sounds like when we let the Anglos try and make Caribbean-sounding music?
Video for "Shape of You"
Ed Sheeran: I'm in love with the shape of youTodd (VO): Yeah, so those are your options. Pffft, I'll be happy to go with "Despacito." Look at this idiot!
Ed: We push and pull like a magnet doGod, that's so lame.
Todd: Push and pull like a magnet. Who would write such a stupid metaph...wait.
Luis: Tu eres el iman y yo soy el metal [You're the magnet and I'm the metal]Todd: OK, fine. What I'm saying is...I'm a chump. [clip from Love Actually] I'm-I'm basically like the American girls in Love Actually who fall for the foreign oaf just 'cause he has an accent. Yeah. What I'm saying is...I'm a slut for Luis Fonsi. [pause] Well, goodnight everyone.
Gets up and leaves
Justin: DespacitoClosing Tag: "Desperado" - Eagles
"Despacito" is owned by Universal Music Latino
This video is owned by me
THANK YOU TO THE LOYAL PATRONS!