Formed in 1989, Café Tacvba consists of four members; vocalist and guitar player Rubén Albarrán, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Emmanuel Del Real, guitarist José "Joselo" Rangel, and bassist Enrique "Quique" Rangel. The amazing lyrical content and musical gymnastics these men have created through their band Café Tacvba has no equal in the alternative rock scene of Mexico. One of Mexico's internationally renowned rock groups, Café Tacvba is one of the few bands able to redefine their sound and still manage to satisfy not only their artistic pursuits, but the anticipation of their fans waiting for new music.
Here are ten songs from Café Tacvba, in no particular order, you can't live without.
Disclaimer: If you don't know Spanish, don't sweat it. Music is a universal medium. Just press play and let the music invade your senses and take you on a journey far away from your computer screen.
1) Volver A Comenzar (2007)
Originally released in 2007, Volver A Comenzar in English means 'Begin Again'. Featured in #Playstation's Little Big Planet, the song is as the title suggests, a song about starting over. Combining an upbeat rhythm and slow mid-section, the songs asks the question, "If you had the chance to start over, would you leave everything by taking a different path that may or may not benefit you?" An introspective lyrical wonderland, Café Tacvba uses this song to remind you that it's possible to start again regardless of how messed up things have become.
2) El Baile Y El Salón (1994)
Hands down one of the best songs to experience live, El Baile Y El Salón is a good disco song that's loads of fun. With Rubén Albarrán's infectious vocals, you're drawn in as he sings that life is a great dance and the world is the dance floor. Accompanied by #LastOfUs composer Gustavo Santaolalla, this early live version of El Baile Y El Salón is a delight to listen to as we witness a band on the verge of greatness. Listen to the end and I promise that you'll be singing the catchy, "Paparupapa euuuu eoooo paparupapa euuuu eoooo".
3) La Locomotora (1999)
With an amazing bass line, La Locomotora uses its catchy beat to question existence and how we came to be. The song's title translates to "The Locomotive" and there are several images and sounds of trains throughout the song and music video. It's a song that asks the question, "Who is in charge of this great locomotive we call life and how do we find our place in it?" If you're on an introspective philosophical journey, let La Locomotora take you on a metaphorical ride through the logic of evolution and humankind.
4) 24 Horas (1994)
24 Horas depicts the lead singer's desire to live without sleep for 24 hours in order to fulfill all of his hopes and dreams. This is the kind of track you listen to when you're stressed out about time. Maybe you don't have enough time to take care of all the work your boss has dropped off at your desk. Perhaps you've got dozens of homework assignments and see no way to lessen the pile. With it's mellow tone, Café Tacvba manages to express that anxiety in a happy-go-lucky manner. Listen to this song if you think sleep is a waste of time in the grand scheme of things and wish we didn't need to rest.
5) Las Flores (1994)
A delicious blast from the past, Las Flores (The Flowers) is a wonderful masterpiece with an incredibly euphonious sound that will haunt you for days. Clocking in at only two minutes and fifteen seconds, the lyrics describe the innocence of life, love, and romance comparing the way flowers bloom to the bloom of love as two people get to know each other. Its psychedelic music video is a treat for the eyes, while the music soothes your infatuated soul.
6) Mediodía (2003)
Mediodía (Midday) invites you to observe the world around you. "It seems like a lie, in a city so big, I have no one to spend my time with on a Saturday at noon," the lead singer sings in the chorus. Its smooth beat and vulnerable vocals create a cacophony that seeps deep into your skin as the chorus hits. It urges you to take a seat and look how the world continues to spin as you stand still. If you're feeling blue and hopeful for a partner in crime, vibe to this song and hit repeat. You won't regret it.
7) Futuro (2017)
One of my favorite songs from Café Tacvba, Futuro (Future) boasts a colorful music video with a variety of political and religious leaders being depicted as the media or public sees them. Not so much an insult, but an observation. Futuro advises that the future is today. The impact of every generation calls for a different set of rules, but one thing is constant. We can't solve today's problems with antiquated methodologies that no longer apply when the world has changed so much.
8) Soy O Estoy (2003)
A song bent on confusing the heck out of you, Soy O Estoy (I Am Or I Am) has a grammatically confusing title meant to describe the fact that once you reach a certain point in life you have to question whether or not you are here or you are present. I'm already confused tried to explain the meaning to you, but regardless of that fact, the song is a conundrum for those who question their own existence and the decisions they've made in life.
9) Yo Búsco (2012)
Café Tacvba calls out the pretentious nature of morality and the insipid nature of people who have an incessant need to decide what's allowed and what isn't. In Yo Búsco (I'm Looking For), the lyrics deliver a matter-of-fact message of searching for the truth that can't be defined by religion, politics, and preordained societal norms. "Instead of hating me, shouldn't you show me your love?" says the chorus of this song and in these politically turbulent times, no other question could be more appropriate.
10) Trópico De Cáncer (1994)
One of the most politically relevant songs ever written, Café Tacvba's Trópico De Cáncer (Tropic Of Cancer) speaks directly to the engineers that shape our world and the oil companies hellbent on pushing petroleum down our throats. Asking engineers to stop filling the world with cement and the oil companies to stop polluting our air with noxious fumes, Trópico De Cáncer hopes future engineers will embrace what nature has to offer to the landscape instead of obliterating it and all of the indigenous people, wildlife, and greenery that lives there.
One of the wackiest singles from Café Tacvba's first album, Rarotonga is based on a Mexican comic book aimed at women of the same name. The song tells the story of a woman named Rarotonga who seduces unsuspecting male travelers and spends her days dancing in the jungle. It's a crazy story accompanied by an equally insane music video. I hope you enjoy it.
Never heard of Café Tacvba? What're you waiting for? Check out their music and catch a live show. Here's a link to their current tour schedule.