Why should Soda Stereo be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
The challenge was offered to me, I picked up the glove, and accepted.
By Allan Kelly Márquez
Translated from Spanish.
Talking about the importance of an artist or a band is not an easy task when in the middle, in some way, personal stories are sneaked in that do precisely the magnitude of what they are trying to portray.
Soda Stereo is transcendence. Period. It is from that base that I begin to write about it.
In this current scenario in which the music fell into an eternal loop of frivolity and banality. Where chaos even exceeds the exquisiteness of art as art in itself, being able to extract beauty ends up being really a virtue.
"With music you can transcend time and space," Japanese singer Shione Yukawa explained in a note. It is a power, direct and indirect, that is had and obtained over the years or from the work itself that the artist is consolidating and the arrival that he is achieving with his people.
To speak of Soda Stereo is to unfailingly link to the figure of Gustavo Cerati, its leader, but above all to the engine of a band that, since its inception, has never stopped evolving musically. Cerati stood out, among other things, for having one of those immediately identifiable voices just by listening to them, an exquisite touch for the musical interpretation, and an unmatched talent for transmitting what is said or what is sought to be expressed.
In the same way, Gustavo stood out for showing off with pride his own influences, which he never denied, carried to the maximum not only in the career he had with Soda Stereo, but in his soloist role until the last of his days. His fruitful and constant transformation and absorption of foreign influences allowed him the breadth of capture of the public, who, I feel, learned to mobilize their tastes according to each album released by the band.
It is interesting then that impossibility of classifying Soda Stereo musically. It is the clearest example, and I think the definitive one, of how an artist can be popular and still not lose that modern and curious tone that takes him to new territories. From the exploration he made his sound, his mark, and therefore his flag to fly, projecting a sophisticated and unknown image until then.
Soda Stereo was a band that came to move shelves, to break with the imposed, to bring a sound, an attitude and a staging unknown until now. Through popularity and talent, the group managed to broaden the spectrum of influences on Latin American music until it became, paradoxically, an influence in itself for a continent that was just taking its first steps in terms of rock and pop. That is avant-garde, although some want to escape the definition. And the avant-garde is transcendence. To time and space, as Yukawa said.
That characteristic in turn is marked from the physical by the different. Soda was a different group, with a look that invited the questioning of what was installed, and throwing themselves into the void of what the simple fact of being meant to a young man. We must remember, because it is not a minor fact, that the emergence of Soda Stereo occurred in a historical and relevant context of dictatorships throughout the continent, and of a youth accustomed to gentrification and repression by the societies that they constituted. In this context, Soda Stereo not only consolidated itself as a musical reference that revolutionized music, but also fashion, art in general, and from that point of view, a whole style of how to position oneself in front of life and in front of artistic creation itself.
Within the musical world of the last 40 years, no voice has been heard as loudly as that of Soda Stereo and its legacy. Much less with such constancy and permanence through the generations, a phenomenon that is not common not only on the continent, but in the world.
Soda Stereo has overcome two separations. It has transcended 25 years of absence (between 1997 and 2007; and from 2007 to the present day), and even so, his music remains current, current. And its space, unbelievably, has not been or has been known to occupy by any other artist that resembles it. That, I say again, is transcendence. To time and space.
This musical reality of the last four decades caused Soda Stereo, and Gustavo Cerati, to go through the ages and reach our ears, the ears of generations that, in the ordinary and by age, perhaps, would not have to know them. However, and naturally, listening to them is instantaneous the desire that arises from having known them before, to have been able to see their changes as they passed, to be part of them, to witness how they reinvented themselves from one album to the next.
Forty years have passed since Soda became part of mainland popular culture. His absence, curiously, is not such. Soda Stereo reaches directly or indirectly all the planes of today, and continues to redefine them, precisely in the revolution of the different, in the non-stagnation of art, in the overcoming of composition, and in the avant-garde allowed in this world, where As I said before, the eternal loop of frivolity and banality prevails.
Soda Stereo has influenced millions of young people, thousands of bands, hundreds of artists, and will continue to do so, as a clear example of the revolution in any type of art. Because his legacy transcends music, and teaches us, I think, a form of experience that is consolidated in the authenticity of being. His heritage will be dedication, mobility, curiosity, and not having to repeat the same formulas, constantly, to ensure commercial or personal success.
Their heritage will continue to be that being different is good. And that the good transcends. To time and space.
Allan Kelly Márquez. Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, he has been running EnRemolinos.com,ur since October 30, 2009. An admirer of Soda Stereo, he became a collector. He collaborated with material from his archive for the special Soda Stereo + INFO (2007), and the books Cerati, la biography (2015) and I know that place (2016).