Just a song that rules

+ some stuff my friends are doing

Look, so,

I made a big deal about “relaunching” this blog as a newsletter that comes out semiweekly, but, well, I’m kind of at a loss re: what to do with a blog about nightlife at a time when nightlife doesn’t exist. Last week, I tried something, a reported essay with shoehorned-in nightlife “themes”, and I think it was pretty good, but there’s really no sense in pretending that I’m going to be able to write regularly about nightlife any time soon.

I have a couple more ideas like that, but really, chances are, if you’re reading this blog at this point, you’re someone who “knows me in real life,” (there are a few of you who don’t, and first of all hi, and second of all I worry a dumb amount about not causing you to unsubscribe, but if you do that’s ultimately fine). And as much as I want to “expand my audience” and “monetize” and “professionalize,” those things probably won’t happen for awhile. So, for now, I’m just going to revert to standard “blog” fare, and just write about a song that I really like and think you should listen to, if that’s okay.

This. This shit. This cover of Venezuelan pop artist Danny Ocean’s “Me Rehúso” by Mexican psychedelic boleristas Daniel, Me Estás Matando. I promise I’m trying to use words like “transcendent” “sublime” and “ecstatic” less often and more precisely (most of the time what I really mean when I use those words is “it’s really fucking good”), but the absolutely massive 2016 original by Ocean, is the kind of song that has its own legend. That is, when Ocean was on the cusp of moving to Miami to pursue his music career, he wrote the song, which would later be his breakout hit, to his girlfriend as a pledge that the distance wouldn’t kill their relationship (the chorus, translated, goes: “Baby, no. I refuse to give you one last kiss.”). And so, I’m really going to use the word “sublime” to describe “Me Rehúso,” the lead single from Danny Ocean’s debut album 54+1, because when that album came out I bought it on CD, the first time I’d bought an album on CD since I was a teenager, because it’s perfect pop music.

Even though I don’t even have a car, I bought this CD in preparation for the day that I do. When I have a car, my copy of 54+1 is going to live in the console until the day I die, because having the hard copy of this album at hand is soothing in a way little else is. Its bliss is unstoppable. It’s what I want when the radio isn’t picking up and the bluetooth dongle won’t work unless you hold it in a weird way.

And then, last week, Daniel, Me Estás Matando, Daniel Zepeda and Iván de la Rioja, “nuevo bolero” artists and two studio nerds of the type who release a piano tutorial the week after they put out a new song, covered “Me Rehúso.” They took the absolutely pristine pop song and reimagined it as a bleary-eyed, tentative daydream, layering in glockenspiel and three-part harmonies. I mean, come on.


Speaking of standard blog fare, I’m just going to shout out some cool shit my friends are doing:

  • If you like this blog, you should subscribe to the new poetry-focused newsletter by friend-of-the-blog and poet Susannah Sharpless, which you can read here.

  • Another friend-of-the-blog and fellow music writer Urvija Banerji is doing a weekly radio show, which you can listen to here.

  • Speaking of radio shows, I’ll probably do another one Friday night, but I’ll post an update here before either way, probably.

  • I wanted to humblebrag that I first heard “Me Rehúso” at La Movida in Cartagena but didn’t find a good place for it, so here’s that. They do a really cool thing where they DJ and do a live instrument at the same time, and they played the main synth part on sax.

I just don’t know. If you know, feel free to e-mail me at criticalpartystudies@gmail.com, or follow @CriticalPartyStudies on Instagram.