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
Todd (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 believer
Todd (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 despacito
Todd: Spanish? Sure, why not!
Todd (VO): I mean, that's apparently what we concluded seeing 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] They-took-our-jobs!
This is how we do it down in Puerto Rico
Todd (VO): Okay yes, technically our song this week is also American. Seeing as it's from Puerto Rico, and Puerto Rico is in fact part of this country, [American flag placed beside Puerto Rican one] 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 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... [episode of...] DragonBall Z, you could get it from someone who's watched every episode, knows every season, and character, and plotline, 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 a little more familiar with Spanish-language pop music than I used to be, cause...
[clip of ...]
Todd (VO): ...I live in New York now, and New York has a huge Latino and specifically Puetro Rican population. They roam the streets in prancing gangs and sing about wanting to live in America. That's what I understand at least...
Todd: ...I don't actually leave the house.
[Clip of ...]
Todd (VO): But yeah, I do hear Spanish-language music more and more. I know specifically, for example, that the song today is Reggaeton...reggaeton...ton...reggaeton. A popular genre that combines Latin pop, hip-hop and Caribbean music. 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.
Fergie: My humps, my hump my hump my humps
Todd: 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 copy of Santana's "Supernatural" in the 90's.
Todd: Man it's a hot one. Yeah, and ok, yes I'm totally not up on the genre, but...
Todd (VO): ...it's still cool to learn about all these artists I didn't even 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"]
Todd (VO): No, no.
Todd: No, what the crap? No!