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Shooting the sh*t with Shakira: the biz, her best songs & her worst record



Hey, Shakira. How are ya? Listen, I know we’ve had our differences, with me calling you a sellout and all that, but our silly quarrels have always been in good fun. I mean, you did go from being a rowdy non-conformist who raged against the patriarchy, to signing your soul over to the Estefans, the Latino music mafia who dyed your hair, dressed you in tight, provocative leather outfits, and asked you to roll around in mud.

I know, “the price of fame,” and the Estefan monopoly. But let’s not get into that discussion all over again.

Those bits aside, you’ve always had my respect. Mostly because you’ve consistently produced catchy, unconventional songs, such as “La tortura.” Frankly, I’ve always been fascinated by your career. Hardly anybody else from Latinoland has gone from making terribly tragic pedophile pop, to becoming a world-famous megastar.

Yes, you’ve always given me something like in all your records, except one: 2014’s Shakira, your self-titled 10th studio record. I know precisely why I hate it, too: It’s the whitest, most American-sounding LP in your discography.

Listen, Shak, *puts down coffee mug* you never had to play up the sexy Latina angle to make good music. “Loba,” for example, is a great electro pop tune. You didn’t even need to film the video inside a pulsating vagina, but what’s done, is done.

But if somebody told me certain songs off Shakira, such as “Spotlight” and “Broken Record,” were written by Taylor Swift, the blandest pop star America has been cursed with, I’d be none the wiser.

“Medicine,” the collaboration with your Voice co-host Blake Shelton, is offensively bad. Likewise, the world’s entire supply of penicillin isn’t enough to kill the infection that spread inside my ears after listening to the lyrics on “23”: “I used to think there was no God, but then you looked at me with your blue eyes, and my agnosticism turned to dust.” I understand you’re referencing the birth of your son, but that phrase gave me tinnitus.

Speaking of, you have a unique claim to fame, comadre: you’ve written some of the most brilliant lyrics in pop music, and some of the worst.

Thankfully, Shakibebé, you came around — at least musically — with 2017’s El Dorado, a decent pop record. It’s not groundbreaking, and you suddenly find yourself chasing trends, as opposed to setting them, since you already dabbled in reggaeton, among other Latino genres, on Fijación Oral and Sale el sol. But “La bicicleta” and “Me enamoré” are solid pop tracks, no doubt about that.

Well, it’s been nice talking to you, gurl — even if you still don’t know I exist, or care. Let’s keep up these fun, one-way chisme-chats.

I gotta go, but I’ll let you get back to your magnetic career:

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Radio interview: Rictus talks reggaeton, its commercialization, and Maluma’s ample hips




Rictus is making waves, kids. That’s why a few days ago I was invited to speak a bunch of nonsense on LO MÁS, a radio show hosted by Carlos Celis on Mexico City’s Image Radio 90.5 fm.

Pictured: Carlos Celis

Carlos is a label owner and well-known journalist with bylines Rolling Stone, among other many other publications. We engaged in a fun conversation about reggaeton’s popularity, it’s commercialization, sanitation, the repressed sexuality of musical Latin America, rappers in drag, and Maluma’s ample hips, which definitely don’t lie:

Maluma performing @ Dolce &Gabbana fashion show in January, 2018.

The interview is in Spanish, but, if you haven’t done so already, you may want to read two Rictus articles before cue up the audio because the conversation is centered around these: 1) Why 6 of YouTube’s top 10 music videos of 2017 are in Spanish, explained, and 2) Hate reggaeton? You’re probably racist. It’s all you listen to? You may have terrible taste in music.

Ready? Listen up:


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Ana Gabriel, the Mexican singer: “I’m better off being asexual, just like the angels”




Keeping up with my coverage of vintage popstars only your tía and I care about, Ana Gabriel, one of the best selling Mexican singer-songwriters, finally opened up about her sexual orientation — sorta.

It’s nobody’s business, really, but since she often wears Hillary Clinton-like pantsuits, has never publicly been seen with a significant other, and has a deep, raspy voice, curiosity over Ana Gabriel’s sexuality have been floating around for decades.

Certain ambiguously-worded songs from her beloved catalog, such as “Simplemente amigos,” are some of the best-known gay torch songs in Latin American.

It’s all in the lyrics:

“There’s not much we can reveal to others, other than ‘we’re only friends and little else.’ Yet, nobody really knows what happens between us after we feign our goodbyes. I’d give anything to make our love known; to tell them we love each other uncontrollably behind closed doors. We wake up holding each other, and with a desire to keep loving one another, but the reality is that they’ll never accept our love.”

Ana Gabriel could be talking about her gardener, but it’s easy to see why such obscure lyricism would resonate with old-school gay audiences, many of whom grew up in largely homophobic Latin American countries.

But in October of 2015, while performing in Monterrey, Mexico, Ana openly addressed the old hearsay — somewhat awkwardly —and told her fans she considers herself “asexual.”

She also used the word “umbrella” as a double entendre, for some confusing reason:

“Why do they always ask the same question? They have not seen me with a man, but also not with a woman. At this age I have to nab someone older and without an umbrella. That way I’ll be turned around. I’m better off being asexual, just like the angels.”

For those of you interested in decoding the full message, someone caught the last part of Gabriel’s proclamation on video (FYI: the audio is super shitty).

Ana Gabriel deserves our collective respect not just because she’s a talented singer and a songwriter, but because she’s made an impressive career based solely on her talent, and not on her looks. In macho Latin America, that kind of thing is unheard of — especially for women (just ask Amandititita).

Now, enjoy this amazing melodramatic video, a favorite of many dragqueens, Latina tías, and Yours Truly (I’m a combination of both dragqueen and Latina tía):

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