I Listened To "Despacito" For The Very First Time Today

A song called "Despacito", released just six months ago, has today officially taken over from Justin Bieber's "Sorry" as being the most streamed of all time. I read the news this morning and simply went, "Eh?" I'd never even heard it.
Here are some stats: the song, recorded in Spanish by 39-year-old Puerto Rican Luis Fonsi (accompanied by someone called Daddy Yankee), has reached number one in 35 countries. It has been at the top of the UK charts for nine weeks. It has been streamed 4.6 billion times. The official video has been watched on YouTube 2.6 billion times. How had I, er, missed this? Just like Love Island, the whole thing had passed me by. That the word "despacito" translates as "slowly" was not lost on me.
It's not as if I wasn't aware of its existence. A few weeks back, a friend was telling a bunch of us about Justin Bieber's botched rendition of it on stage (I've since discovered he came on board to remix the song after the single's initial success), during which he changed the lyrics to things like "I don't know the words so I say burrito". Everyone in our group laughed. I pulled a Joey from Friends and smiled along, pretending to know what they were talking about. Basically I was mildly aware that a sort of "Macarena" for millennials was sweeping the nation but I had chosen to avert my ears.
On discovering the news of the song's record-breaking this morning, I mentioned to some colleagues that I'd never actually listened to it. Their heads spun around as if I'd just told them that I keep a lock of Boris Johnson's hair in my wallet. They were aghast.
They then informed me that I would, in fact, have heard it because it has been played in the office about once a day. Still, I wasn't the wiser. So I decided I'd take a load off and pump up the volume on the sound of 2017 in my headphones.
My first thought was, "Wow, I can't believe a song with an intro that sounds exactly like the Eagles' "Hotel California" has become an international club hit." And then the sweet guitar strumming was quickly interrupted by "Aaaayyy Fonsi!" and it is at that exact moment that I knew I had entered musical hell. If 2017 will be remembered as the year in which Donald Trump was made the leader of the free world, then we truly have the song of the year that we deserve.
But as the "sensual reggaeton" (the BBC's words, not mine) went on, something happened. I was suddenly transported to a carefree trip I took with some girlfriends to Gran Canaria after our A-Levels, where everything we drank tasted of coconut, and we had more skin on show than a leather factory, and at least four of us made out with the same guy. I couldn't understand a word of the song but I was beginning to understand its place in the world.
My main concern now, really, is that its mammoth success could be disastrous for the music industry. Every boardroom in every record label will be looking for the next Spanish-inflected hit because now it's officially What The Public Wants. And while I welcome proper Latin American artists, I can't help but think that what actually awaits us is two years of Geri Halliwell's "Mi Chico Latino".
It may not be for me, but at least "Despacito" is now one conversation I can join in with. Unlike Love Island. When the hell is that finishing again?

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