Traffic Jams: Gustavo Cerati - 'Tabú'

Traffic sucks, so why not start your morning off with some music? You provide the toast and we’ll provide the jams.

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If you’ve never heard of Soda Stereo, I’m about to change the course of your life. When you hear Soda’s incredible pop and rock anthems like “De Música Ligera” and “Pic Nic en el 4B,” you will feel like you can do anything. They. Jam. Hard.

Really, before lithium stole the spotlight, Soda Stereo was one of Argentina’s most important exports. And the late Gustavo Cerati was the band’s front man. Soda Stereo broke up in 1997, but Cerati kept on jamming. He won a bunch of Grammy awards for his studio albums in the mid- to late aughts. In between his solo releases he even reunited with Soda for a farewell tour in 2007.

The music that Cerati made on his own is just as lively and groovy as Soda’s, but is very much its own thing. The song featured here, “Tabú,” is from his first album following the breakup, Bocanada. It’s not all crunchy guitars like the band’s older music. Rather, it introduced an electronic sound that was pretty ahead of its time in 1999 — for Rock en Español, anyway.


You wouldn’t necessarily know that from “Tabú,” though, which is a frenetic but somehow melodic opening to the album. Bursting into the air with layers of sound pressure from drum kits and a walking bass, followed by a guitar and then Cerati’s voice comes in and it’s just fucking magic!

Cerca del nuevo fin...

“Closer to some new end,” Cerati croons, stretching the final note of the lyric and every other last lyric that follows. Then he’s wailing into the mic as the music keeps pace. Never slowing, just building until Cerati can wail some more.


It might be a lot to ask, but when you jam to this, you have to turn it up! The song’s effect is best when you blast it. The cacophony has a strange way of coming together the louder it’s playing, and when you think it’s too much, or too loud, it surprises you with a perfect confluence of sounds.

The rest of Bocanada is like this, just like honey folding as it falls; so, let it run. Track numbers 4 through 6, especially: “Puente,” “Río Babel” and “Beautiful.”