In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, we’re talking about great songs not sung in English.
Entre Ríos, “Claro Que Sí” (2005)
The original lineup of Argentinian electronic-pop group Entre Ríos hasn’t produced an album in a decade, and though it was but a blip in the electronic sea, the group’s 2005 album, Onda, is full of sweet pop melodies and electronic lullabies. I was in grad school when it came out, and was listening to a lot of music that I couldn’t understand—I needed to study to music that was stimulating, because frankly Jacques Lacan made me sleepy, but I couldn’t work if I was singing along—and despite having studied Spanish for an embarrassingly long time, I couldn’t pick out more than a handful of words from all of Onda.
My favorite from that album is called “Claro Que Sí,” which translates to “yes of course.” I played the song on repeat for weeks, belting out not much more than the title words, happily oblivious to the rest of the lyrics. A native-Spanish-speaking friend translated the song for me, and I was pleased to find out that it wasn’t just my woeful Spanish failing me—the lyrics roughly form a love song (“of course I came for you”), and although it’s not quite nonsense, it still doesn’t have much of a narrative. Instead, the focus is on vocalist Isol’s sweet, sometimes breathy voice, which, despite language barriers, still conveys desire and longing. Set against electronic crescendos and fuzzed-out back-and-forth synth notes, Isol’s voice releases a bit of its saccharine center, and an otherwise simple tune finds some complexity. The effect is one of Ladytron thawing out on a South American beach, and one needs no understanding of Spanish to feel the pull of its warm, chill vibe.