Ibero-American New Wave

By: Marcelo Báez

Spanish-sung New Wave? Yeah, that was a thing. In fact, there’s an Ibero-American counterpart to almost every musical genre the US and the UK—the most prominent music exporters in the world—ever produced. We’ve had our own Elvis (Sandro), our own punk rockers (Los Saicos) and, kind of unfortunately, our own NKOTB/Take That (Magneto). So yeah, why wouldn’t we have our own New Wave? Check out these examples.

1. Nicole - “Tal Vez Me Estoy Enamorando” (Chile)

Essentially a premature Tiffany, Nicole is a Chilean singer whose 1989 hit song, “Tal Vez Me Estoy Enamorando,” is both catchy and creepy. It’s a sad, dancey tune about a confused girl who falls in love with a boy, but isn’t sure how to tell her parents about it. Chile had plenty of New Wave bands (Los Prisioneros, Aparato Raro, Cinema), but this song has a great, sad, melancholic je ne sais quoi.

2. Aviador Dro - “La Ciudad En Movimiento” (Spain)

Spain, too, had many New Wave bands (Alaska, Mecano, Locomia), and Aviador Dro was one of the most innovative and prolific of the bunch. Plus they lived and died by the sword; all of their songs were driven by either a drum machine or a synthesizer, and their lyrical themes were about the future, science and robots. Oh, they’re still around, and people love them.

3. Miguel Mateos - “Obsesión” (Argentina)

While Argentine New Wave classics, such as Divina Gloria, never achieved much success outside of a small, local circle, Miguel Mateos took over Latin America with his late-to-the-game hit “Obsesión.” Released in 1990, when New Wave was on its deathbed everywhere else, “Obsesión” was an unstoppable monster. And the song’s video is a great example of the late ’80s male fashion aesthetic.

4. Fandango - “Autos, Moda y Rock and Roll” (Mexico)

Mexico was all over the map with its New Wave. Bands like Casino Shanghai were dark and experimental, while others, such as Flans and Click, were a lot more danceable and disco-friendly. Fandango’s “Autos, Moda y Rock and Roll” (“Cars, Fashion and Rock and Roll”) was clearly aimed towards hip, self-conscious teenagers, but the song is especially fun because it’s ’80s to the max, dude. 

Marcelo Baéz is a writer, DJ, and musician based in NYC. When he's not producing "Rico Suave" parties, he releases music under P3CULIAR.