If you are old enough to vividly remember the year 1989, you definitely recall that worldwide phenomenon that was the “batmania” which unleashed around the time of Tim Burton’s first Batman movie premier. Of course, in those times we didn’t have two (or more) new superhero movies coming out every summer, so the release of a big budget blockbuster like that was a humongous event for all comic book nerds, myself included.
Yes, I was comic book nerd, and even though I stopped following the Marvel and DC title as an adult, I never stopped feeling that adolescent excitement every time a new super-hero flick hits the big screens. OK, maybe it will never be as all-encompassing as the “batmania,” by my level of excitement for the upcoming Avengers movie is actually pretty high, so much so that it prompted me to compile this list of ten songs in Spanish with lyrics about world-saving masked heroes. Like Stan Lee would say: excelsior!
10. “El Superhéroe”
by Vico C
If you’re not horrified by the “na-na-na” singing (yikes!) in the song’s opening, you’ll probably get there when its plot-twist hits and rap-en-español pioneer Vico C turns all Christian on you and starts preaching about the only real superhero, who’s not Superman, nor Spiderman, it’s the guy up there who he calls “the master.”
Lame video (with all the P.Diddy-esque clichés of the time) for a lamer song. I wish Dr Manhattan showed up at Vico’s door to show him who the real master is.
09. “Mujer Maravilla”
by Los Enanitos Verdes
On this blues-rock number from their weak 2002 album Amores Lejanos, old-school Argentine rockers Los Enanitos Verdes sing about Wonder Woman. But don’t get too excited, it’s not the sexy amazon goddess with the lasso of truth, the invisible plane and the cleavage that Lynda Carter impersonated so damn well in the ’70s TV series.
Instead this Wonder Woman is an everyday woman who does maravillas like running around the park and taking her kids to school without the help of superpowers. I get it, its empowering for the girls out there, but… Boring!
08. “Guacarock del Santo”
by Botellita de Jeréz
Masked wrestlers are, to certain extent, the Mexican culture equivalent of comic-book super heroes, and there are plenty of songs about them, so many that they deserve their on top-ten (and they’ll get it soon, I promise).
This one here, however, deserves an honorable mention because in the second verse, Botellita de Jeréz compare El Santo’s real world fighting skills with those of the heroes in the comic-book pages, Batman and Superman, who, they accuse, never walked into a ring. True that.
by Alexis y Fido
These B-list reggaetoneros Alexis y Fido apparently have a thing for super-heroes. On their 2009 album paradoxically titled Down To Earth, they have not one but two songs that touch the subject, albeit tangentially.
This is one of them, “Superhéroe,” and it doesn’t talk about any comic-book masked hero in particular, instead talks about a sexually insatiable woman who begs for a super-hero with super loving skills to come over and finish the task her boyfriend couldn’t.
The other track is called “Gatúbela” (that’s the Spanish translation of Catwoman) and most probably also tells the story of another imaginary nymphomaniac, don’t expect a lot of creativity from these characters.
06. “La Baticueva”
by Wilfred y la Ganga
This one came out right around the time of the aforementioned “batmania.” Wilfred & La Ganga earned their recognition for penning one of the earliest international hits of rap in Spanish, “Mi Abuela;” this lesser known song about Batman and Robin was included on that same record (or cassette tape, yup I used to have it, in that format).
The songs makes all sorts of silly references to Adam West’s era Batman including, obviously, the homoerotic fantasy of his relationship with Robin who allegedly died of aids (!). It’s not Prince’s epic “Batdance” but I’ll give it a pass for the nostalgic value only.
05. “Espacio Sideral”
by Jessy & Joy
Almost by default the super-hero song department is ruled by rappers and that’s because all rappers by definition are delusional about their skills and have a natural tendency to create multiple alter-egos with flamboyant names. This one here is one extreme exception to the rule.
Mexican pop boy-girl duo Jesse & Joy released this song as part of their 2007 album Esta Es Mi Vida. In it the girl sings about wishing to have super powers to fly to outer space “like Superman does” and take care of her loved one. Supergirl would’ve been more appropriate.
by Tiro de Gracia
Everybody knows Chupacabras as some sort of weird animal monster, but Chilean rappers Tiro De Gracia reimagined him as a women-hunting mutant (or alien?) on this funny track released as the third single off their successful debut Ser Hümano! in 1997.
He’s not a superhero, actually more like a super-villain or an anti-hero but they attest that not Batman, nor Superman, nor Aquaman and not even Redman (!) have a chance competing with him. True comic-book nerds themselves, Tiro De Gracia published their own comic-book as a promotional item at the time of the release of said album.
by El Chojin
Instead of invoking renown heroes from the comic-book pages, Spanish rapper El Chojin developed his own super character, who drives around the streets of a gothic Madrid in his convertible and deals with all sorts of crooks.
His weapon of choice, a microphone, and his super-powers, he admits, are very limited, but enough. Probably the best video ever done for a song in Spanish about super-heroes and it even comes with English subtitles!
02. “Cápitan América”
by Las Pelotas
So many mentions of Batman and Superman… musicians in Latin America focus way too much on the DC universe and not enough on the way cooler Marvel universe (this is the type of comments that would ignite endless discussion in geekdom). Las Pelotas‘ “Capitán América” however doesn’t really mention the über-patriotic champion of the Avengers on the song, per se. Only refers to him on the song’s title. The lyrics are more about a cynic view of the southern extreme of America, the continent.
But whoever directed the video decided to play with the title’s character and took great advantage of the sloppy surveillance for copyright infringement in Argentina, making up this hilarious story of The Sentinel Of Liberty randomly appearing in the streets of Buenos Aires and getting run over by a taxi. And that’s just the beginning of his misadventures through the third world. Plenty of creepy versions of famous cartoon characters have cameo guest appearances on this video for the opening track of their 1997 opus La Clave Del Éxito.
01. “El niño güey”
And the first place goes to… Sevilla’s own SFDK! A modern classic already among Spanish rap fans, both sides of the Atlantic, this hit single from 2005 doesn’t tell us the story of a super-hero. Instead the story is about a boy from the hood who probably read too many super-hero comic-books and took them a bit too seriously, so he fancied himself an outfit (using a “Bob Marley flag” as a cape) and went out to the streets to fight the bad guys, just like hip-hop Don Quixote.
“El niño güey” is actually the unofficial sequel to SFDK‘s 2003 track “Dónde está Wifly?” that told us the story of a similarly wimpy character who as a kid used to lock himself in his room to read comics of “el Hombre Araña y La Masa” (that’s Spiderman and The Hulk) as a way to evade his parents fighting. Something tells me that both those songs are actually about the rapper, Zatu’s teenage years as a nerd before becoming one of the most respected MC’s of the Spanish rap universe.
Super Salsa Singers
by Fania All Stars
[New York City]
It doesn’t have any song about super-heroes but 1977’s Fania Records compilation Super Salsa Singers has 11 of the Fania All Stars artists in 11 immortal salsa songs and a cover art that evokes an imaginary crossover between DC’s Justice League and Marvel’s Avengers with Celia Cruz as Wonder Woman, Héctor Lavoe as Namor, Cheo Feliciano as Batman, Ismael Miranda as Robin, Ismael Rivera as Captain Marvel, Ismael Quintana as Thor, Bobby Cruz as Green Lantern, etc.
When was it that salsa musicians stopped having fun and taking themselves too seriously and stopped doing amazing album covers like this?