The price you pay for being a gigolo …
The mullets. The mullets!! [They’re everywhere.]
Moving back briefly to early 1991, apparently. My recent posts from this mixtape have gone all the way up to what I think is early 1992, so I have absolutely no explanation for how I was still digging this song so long after its release. Surely it was a flash in the pan, no? But then again, I suppose I was the target audience for this song. Pre-teen girl, bowled over by bilingual abs – I mean, raps? Sadly, as this was just prior to when I got cable, I probably liked it more because it was half in Spanish and I was excited that I could pick out words and phrases.
Seriously, there is just nothing redeeming about this song. Well, that’s not entirely true – the mariachi band in the video is fun. It’s certainly a catchy tune (see below), but even as a kid I found the song rather lyrically appalling, an assessment that I have recently realized has deepened over the years. The amount of sheer and utter narcissism, misogyny, and objectification of women is astonishing. Seriously, Gerardo? You eat ’em raw like sushi? Well, points for honesty, Mr. Mejía. I do wonder what your father would say about your attitude. Oh, wait. He was in the video! [Mr. Mejía Sr plays the role of Gerardo’s girlfriend’s father.] But anyway, that’s neither here nor there. The superficiality of Gerardo’s gigolo swagger and the exaggerated objectification of “the female species” resulted in absolutely no one taking the song seriously. It was a cute summer diversion, a novelty, a throw-away.
Sigh. Then we look at its track record. It’s in the top 100 VH1 greatest songs of the 90s, and in the top 10 VH1 greatest one hit wonders. HOW? And then it hit me. It’s not that this song is Great by any sort of aesthetic or historical standards – the song is simply that Memorable. No one alive in 1991 could have possibly been unaware of this song, whether you loved it or hated it. It seems that most people actually hated it – in addition to the dubious prestige of the above two commendations, “Rico Suave” is also #37 on Blender‘s 50 worst songs ever, and #15 on AOL Radio’s list of the 100 worst songs ever.
The best aspect of the song is the music, but sadly, Gerardo had no hand in that. The whole thing is a giant sample of the 1984 hit “Chamo candela” by Venezuelan group Daiquiri, to which Gerardo added his lyrics and his looks, to instant success and lasting … infamy? Funnily enough, “Rico Suave” was not his only charting hit! He had two others in 1991 alone, one hitting #16 and the other #98, and has released several singles and albums since, none of which have charted. Sorry, Gerardo. Guess not that many people were so sufficiently swayed by your smooth moves and shirtlessness that they’d forgive your ridiculous attitude.
But Gerardo was young then; perhaps he’s grown up over the past twenty-odd years. I hope, at the very least, that he’s learned from Bret Michaels and has dropped the bandanna. It seems he’s has remained active in music all these years. He’s an executive at Interscope records (and you have him to thank for both Enrique Iglesias and Bubba Sparxxx), and put out his most recent album in 2004.