Rubén Rivero Capriles

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Afterthoughts on my all life hit parade

Based on my readers' comments on my all life hit parade, I attempt here to express the reasons why some great artists were either included or avoided within my ranking.

The Beatles certainly deserve their honored place in the history of contemporary music. However, I have not been excessively thrilled by their songs. Perhaps that is because I just like the Doors way too much.

Bob Marley was not included either because I happen to prefer ska (Banana Voladora & Yordano) over reggae. I do enjoy Soca as well, but my short exposure to that rhythm while on a Christmas vacation in Trinidad & Tobago prevented me to exploring it further.

Franco de Vita is not included because my favorite performers of Venezuelan 80s pop music are Guillermo Dávila and Yordano. It is, again, an issue on how deeply each performer's music has imprinted my soul. I should also mention Karina, Kiara and Melissa among the great Venezuelan female 80s pop singers.

Besides Willie Colón and Rubén Blades, I am also a fan of other Fania artists such as Héctor Lavoe and Celia Cruz.

Juan Luis Guerra is an outstanding merengue ambassador, and I have danced to his music with limited success. I failed to include him on this hit parade becuase it is already saturated with other music from the eighties.

Argentine rock truly rocks! I was pleased to read a comment from an English speaking blogger who expressed his admiration for Soda Stereo so deeply that his lack of understanding of the Spanish lyrics did not prevent him to enjoy their music at all. This reader seems to enjoy it as much as I used to like Queen when I was a kid and knew no English. Miguel Mateos and Enanitos Verdes would also have made it to my ranking if I had designed it a bit longer. But having placed Soda Stereo and Charly García on the third and fifth positions already, the ranking would be too biased toward Argentine rock if I had included other groups as well. I also started moving songs from their original ranking once I got past the fifteenth position, and that suggested me that the hit parade had to stop then.

Mano Negra was a French group of the nineties which has mastered the fusion of European, Asian, African and New World Rhythms close to perfection. Their lyrics in various languages naturally appeal to me very dearly. Most of their songs are unique. Manu Chao's solo career in my opinion does not do justice to the potential that was hinted by his former band.

I extend to the members of Nena my gratitude for their musical contribution to the fall of the Berlin Wall, which happens today to celebrate its 20th birthday!

I apologize to The Cure and Madness for not having included their great contribution to British eighties music in my ranking. But I could not have been able to sacrifice my lifelong appreciation to Culture Club in order to make room for them.

Madonna's career is an example of perseverance during almost thirty years. I have followed her complete path from the start. Her recent American life album crowns her lifelong pursuit of efficient controversy and paradigm shifts.

Daddy Yankee has the merit of being among the very few artists nowadays who still dare to be original. I initially did not like his music due to peer pressure, but now I do, and every day I like his reggaeton approach even further. Most other artists seem to have succumbed to retro and nostalgia. Our times are hostile toward creativity. Our generation (those of us in our late thirties and early forties) is prematurely aging, as we are obsessed to recreating the sixties and eighties. We are committing the same mistake from our ancestors to long for the good old times. I will probably never become a die-hard reggaetton fan, but I certainly enjoy listening to Daddy Yankee's music anytime I get fed up with never ending memories from last century.

Michael Jackson and Jim Morrison led incredibly similar lonely lives. They were each one of a kind. I congratulate Soda Stereo's Gustavo Cerati for his willingness to maintain the same high level of genius activity while simultaneously promoting an example of a long and sober life.

Rubén Rivero Capriles

Caracas, November 9, 2009