In an effort to check a few things off of my to-do list, I’m finally writing a post to highlight how awful the very popular song (at robotics events, anyway) “The Macarena” really is.
As some folks here already know, I’m fluent in both English and Spanish, which makes listening to the lyrics even more painful. I’m going to avoid posting the direct translation of the lyrics here since they’d promptly get flagged as “inappropriate” by the mods. However, I’ll leave the links below for folks to follow and read.
I still recall walking into an event and hearing Bruno Mars’ Heaven. I was singing along in my head (never out load… that would ruin my image as a curmudgeon), when I started to wonder “Wait, is he saying what I think he’s saying?” I haven’t heard that song since.
Personally I’m on the fence on some songs since the writer is referring to themselves and the topics are fairly banal in our current society (FIRST rules aside). But I agree, the Macarena is pretty much an objectification song. [Putting on curmudgeon hat] And I think its annoying.
I agree that the lyrics are dirty, but I kinda don’t care? I don’t know why people keep trying to convince themselves that high schoolers don’t already listen to this kind of music and talk using “adult” language. Take a walk through any HS campus and listen to what teenagers say, the macarena will be innocent by comparison.
Now if you wanna ban it for just being a bad song, I wholeheartedly agree.
And it’s not just this. Almost all music with lyrics, other than music written for children, is (to some degree) inappropriate.
Obviously looking at the lyrics to this song, it’s not great, but there are also way worse songs that are played routinely at these types of events. At some point, someone needs to draw a line of what stays in and what comes out. I think profanity squarely falls to one side of the line, but if we start looking at the messages of songs, there are very few that I would consider completely “clean.”
Many moons ago, in my summer camp days, the rule of thumb was “don’t play songs that most parents wouldn’t let their kids listen to.” This was a good rule, as different age groups understand things differently, have different exposure, etc. It’s also a good rule because you always have a few extreme parents on both ends – people who care far too much/are overbearing and strict and people who care far too little/are way too lax. The key is finding the middle ground that covers the 80% in the middle.
This is quite the statement, imo. The song seems really meh, to me. Is this the exact message I want to be sending to students? No. Would I prefer if there weren’t references to sex and drugs sprinkled in? Yes. Is it just a song with an unfortunately catchy melody that most people aren’t reading into? Also yes.
To my previous point, if we ban songs like this from events, there will be very, very few songs left to play. Now I’m all for events in silence, or set to classical music at a low volume, but I don’t think that’s the vibe HQ is going for.
we won the war against Cotton Eye Joe; if it means we have to deal with the Macarena, then eh. it’s certainly cringe though esp if you know what it means and that the song peaked in popularity 25 years ago. I wouldn’t be sad to see it gone but it’s not the battle I’m gonna personally pick
For a little clarification, I’m not on team meh, necessarily. But was just saying that this is the attitude that will ultimately win the day.
For some context, I think I’ll share my favorite FRC/Music memory. It was the 2011 (or 2012) Los Angeles Regional. My first couple of years in FRC. After making everyone wait outside for what seemed like hours on day one of competition, they finally opened ALL the doors. Everyone flooded into the Long Beach Arena entrance, walking around the bleachers, past the field to get to the pits, and were welcomed by the booming of the opening of Thunderstruck by AC/DC. I still get goosebumps remembering that moment, and the feeling that “this is amazing.”
Of course, the song is ultimately about having a great time with eager-to-please women (it is AC/DC after all). I do think there are songs with musical quality that transcends whatever the lyrics are about. Maybe Thunderstruck is one of those songs. Macarena? Nah.
We did a custom Playlist for KCMT two weeks ago, and it was fun playing Vivaldi followed by Biggie Smalls followed by Coltrane. Also people has the same complaint about Strauss Waltzes (too sexy) in their day as we have about Macarena now, so whatever I guess.
Juan’s original point is not wrong, and can be extended: the FRC playlist suffers from the same types and combinations of ignorance, prudishness, and cultural biases as the rest of our society. Personally I wish that “sexiness” was not the barometer by which we determine how appropriate a song is for high schoolers.