“Despacito,” a Pop Call to Slow the Pace of Life
The song’s success may have resulted from more than just a well-oiled publicity machine.
You may like it or not, but you’ve probably heard it on the radio, on the internet, on the bus, at a party, or on the streets: Luis Fonsi’s Despacito, and later covers by Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber. It’s already the most played streaming song of all time, and it was the fastest to reach Billboard’s Top 100 since 1996’s Macarena by Los del Rio.
The numbers alone made it an unprecedented success in popular music. But this can’t be merely an accident. Spanish producer, Nahúm García, put forward a theory that Despacito is especially sticky because of the rupture of the rhythm at minute 1:23 of the song. At that moment, the music stops, and we hear Fonsi whispering the syllables, “des-pa-ci-to.” On his Facebook page, Nahum says,
[T]he rupture in cadence is so radical that it emphasizes both the hook of the refrain, and the sensual intention of the lyrics, creating a unity between intention and effect, and that’s what makes it work so well.
In other words, your brain notices that indeed the rhythm stops completely. Then it begins again but “slowly,” very slowly. The way our brains perceive music is crucial to understanding the success of the song. According to composer and marketing professor James Kellaris, in an interview with the BBC, Despacito has elements that work like an earworm straight to your brain: a sticky melody, an irregular beat, and unpredictable arrangements. Pop music, though, is based on the idea that rhythm is predictable so that the brain feels rewarded for following the regularity of the beat. This eventually gets tiring but becomes unpredictable thanks to Fonsi’s pause, described above. It forces the brain to reproduce the beat again, through memory, then again and again, and to generate a predictable pattern that, of course, never arrives at all.
It’s not just a series of tricks nor an invasive marketing strategy that quickly grew into Despacito’s success. The song is also free from reggaeton’s tendency toward sexually explicit lyrics and cadences (sometimes called “reguepop” by specialists). This invites us to listen with the body and a sense of sensuality in a less aggressive way and to enjoy that pause that’s given life when a new object of desire enters in.
In an age where speed and haste are exalted and rewarded as values, both in employment and in personal relationships, (think of Tinder, for one example), Despacito might be an invitation to slow the pace of the present down. We pause from the radical in the expectations we hold for ourselves and others, and finally we let ourselves be carried just for a moment by the gentle unfolding of the very origins of existence.
7 Recommendations for Organizing Your Library
For the true bibliophile, few things are more important than finding a book from within your library.
Red tea, the best antioxidant beverage on earth
Red tea is considered to be the most unusual of teas because it implies a consistently different preparation process. ––It is believed that its finding came upon surprisingly when traditional green
A brief and fascinating tour of the world's sands
To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour. - William Blake What are we standing on? The ground beneath our feet
Strengthen your memory with rosemary oil
For thousands of years rosemary oil has been traditionally admired and used due to its many properties. In the Roman culture, for example, it was used for several purposes, among them cleansing, as
Literature as a Tool to Build Realities
Alain de Botton argues that great writers are like lenses through which we can see an infinite array of possibilities.
Mandelbrot and Fractals: Different Ways of Perceiving Space
Mathematics has always placed a greater emphasis on algebra, a “purer” version of itself, one that is more rational at least. Perhaps like in philosophy, the use of a large number knotted concepts in
Luis Buñuel’s Perfect Dry Martini
The drums of Calanda accompanied Luis Buñuel throughout his life. In his invaluable memoirs, published under the Buñuel-esque title, My Last Sigh, an entire chapter is dedicated to describing a
A Brief Manual of Skepticism, Courtesy of Carl Sagan
Whether or not you’re dedicated to science, these tips to identify fallacies apply to any form of rigorous thinking.
How to Evolve from Sadness
Rainer Maria Rilke explored the possible transformations that sadness can trigger in human beings.
Alan Watts, A Discreet And Charming Philosopher Of The Spirit
British thinker Alan Watts was one of the most accessible and entertaining Western interpreters of Oriental philosophy there have been.