George Michael: The Universal Language

I find foreign languages funny. And I find them especially funny in song form. I have no idea why, I just do. I don’t question it. I might as well ask, “Why is the sky blue?” or “What is this lump and how long has it been there?”

One format that always kills me is traditional salsa. Again, I can’t truly express why. But traditional salsa groups (and even some non-traditional ones) do something that always makes me laugh: the horn section singing the chorus in unison.

Why does this crack me up? Again, no idea. Something about the timbre of the vocals, how they sound vaguely distant, like the singers are shouting through paper towel tubes. And how, no matter what group is playing, the Horn Player Chorus sounds exactly the same.

I find this so funny, in fact, that I often think of songs that could be done in a salsa style, just to imagine a fictional horn section singing the chorus. For instance, I can make myself laugh by just imagining the semi-obscure early 80s synth-pop hit “Poison Arrow” as a salsa song. Because in my head, I hear a horn players singing “shoot that poison arrow!”, intercut with the keyboard lick recreated by a five-piece brass section.

In that spirit, and knowing full well no one else may find this amusing, I present this clip of a band called La Palabra doing their rendition of “Careless Whisper” (retitled “Rumores” for no discernible reason). The Wife tells me this was a pretty big hit on Spanish radio back in the day, not too long after the Wham! original climbed the charts.

If forget how/why she discovered this, but I am oh so glad she did. Enjoy!