A staple of modern Mexican rock, Café Tacuba’s “¿Qué Pasará?” from their 2003 album “Cuatro Caminos,” thunders through its two minutes with a grunge-infused sizzle reminiscent of their 90s upbringing.
First formed in 1989, Café Tacuba has made a lasting impact on the genre of Mexican rock and to a great extent, American rock. The question of whether modern rock exists is difficult to answer; many music journalists ignore the wider offerings from Latin America. What made rock so electrifying and intense was the dazzling quality and presence that it imposed on the music scene. Rock defies expectations and in an alchemical way, pushes the boundaries of music to create a product greater than the sum of its parts.
In Mexico, rock is very much alive. Even though “Cuatro Caminos” came out in 2003, there is still a lasting presence that the album carries. When I first listened to it, I was around 5 or 6. I believe that my parents had burned the CD from the library and in the era before streaming, we listened to it over and over again.
The repetition and constant exposure to the album created a lasting impression on me and proved in retrospect that rock is still definitely alive. In terms of nitty-gritty sonic quality, “¿Qué Pasará?” hits the ground running with an explosive intro and drum break. Then, when the song winds down for a second, it flattens out to deliver a significant and creative set of lyrics focusing on the ambiguity and recklessness of life.
When the song winds down for a second longer, the relative predictability of the format of the song is disoriented with a guitar ring reminiscent of a siren: shaking around the soundscape of the song.
Description can’t do the song justice; in fact, the product of this song is greater than the sum of its parts. Recapturing the essence of rock, Café Tacuba manages to recapture the essence of what made rock great — difficult to define but easy to recognize.
Reach Science and News Editor Thelonious Goerz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @TheloniousGoerz
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