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Rant Of The Day
Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

THIS RANT 01/05/2001


What it feels like for a Spaniard

Madonna's latest single, 'What It Feels Like For A Girl', has attracted a fair bit of press attention recently for its allegedly violent video directed by her husband Guy Ritchie. Of course, having a controversial video is hardly a new career development for Madonna. What is a new career development (unless I've missed something) is that she's also gone to the trouble of doing a Spanish version of the song. While several previous Madonna songs (most notably 'La Isla Bonita' and 'Spanish Eyes') have drawn on a Spanish feel, I'm fairly sure that 'Lo Que Siente La Mujer' (ably translated by one Alberto Ferraras) is her first entirely Spanish-language recording.

It's actually surprising that it's taken her so long to get around to this. Even before the alleged Latin music explosion of two years ago, recording in Spanish has always been recognised as a means of reaching South American markets and, to a lesser extent, Spain itself. Hispanics are now the largest ethnic group in the USA, so there's clearly some dough to be made.

Of course, the quality of the recordings is actually frequently open to question. When Christina Aguilera released her Spanish language album last year, she was forced to admit that she didn't speak any Spanish and learnt the whole thing phonetically. This tends to be true of most stars singing in Spanish (Kirsty MacColl being the obvious exception), but it made Christina look pretty dumb, since she'd happily joined in when the press talked up her 'Latin' credentials earlier in the piece.

And in some cases the actual translation turns out to be pretty awful. ABBA did a cash-in album recorded in Spanish in 1980 (and entitled, naturally, Gracias Por La Musica, and followed up with a couple of Spanish-language numbers on their last two albums. Fans have eagerly sought out the recordings, but native Spanish speakers claim that the translations range from poor to nonsensical.

We should be grateful, though, that Madonna has resisted the other Hispanic recording trend; producing a song that's half in English, half in Spanish, and dubbing the resultant mix as 'Spanglish'. Ricky Martin has been very guilty of this in recent years, but I have a feeling he got the idea from Gloria Estefan.


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