Aaaaaargh. Today the new Daddy Yankee and Zion CDs were released. Good luck finding them in Portland. Other than B.S. cash-in CDs with names like Reggaeton’s Greatest Hits (which are usually anything but) it is next to impossible to find reggaeton CDs in Portland record stores. I have had better luck finding new reggaeton at places like Fry’s and Fred Meyer’s than any of the independent record stores I would much rather be supporting (despite their total ignorance of, and lack of support for, contemporary international music). Timbuktunes, Portland’s leading world music store, has never carried any reggaeton. I know hipster-indie Jackpot won’t carry them. I called larger more broad-based stores like Everyday Music and Music Millennium and they didn’t have either of them. I had no luck at Fred Meyer’s either, although I was glad to see that they stock dead prez’s Let’s Get Free. I live in a city of more than a million in the greater metro area, and I can’t find new releases that will easily sell in the hundreds of thousands in the US. It’s not like I’m looking for anything obscure, or imports, or anything.
I won’t have any luck at the local Latin music stores either. While reggaeton has become a pan-Latin music over the last few years, the Latin stores in Portland stock almost exclusively Mexican music, since it is Mexicans who own, operate, and patronize these stores. I would certainly have better luck than when I was asking for reggaeton at these stores six years ago, but in my experience I’d be lucky to find something as obvious as Daddy Yankee’s first solo CD. Truthfully I am way more excited to hear the Zion CD than the Daddy Yankee. I never liked “Gasolina,” from the first time I heard it in New York, the summer it came out. Nothing on Barrio Fino ever grabbed me. However, I like “Rompe” and I like several of his cameos, like his verse on Wisin y Yandel’s “Paleta.” He’s spent three years putting his new album together, so with the money he has to hire the best producers, I am expecting some fire, if he doesn’t stretch too far towards the crossover pop market. I’m undecided about the first single with Fergie, to which I have only briefly listened. Zion, however, earns the album title The Perfect Melody, as far as I’m concerned. I’m stoked that the epic “Fantasma” finally has a proper release. I hope he doesn’t goop out, without the complementary roughness of Lennox as his partner. I’ll be curious to see how strong the songs are. Now I have to wait for the CD to arrive in the mail. Thank you, Portland. If I’m lucky I’ll have them in time to play out this Saturday at Atlas.