Soda Stereo was a highly successful Argentinean band, peaking during the ‘80s and ‘90s. The group was a trio, comprised of lead singer Gustavo Cerati, bassist Hector “Zeta” Bosio, and drummer Carlos Alberto Ficicchia (a.k.a. Charly Alberti). Although Soda Stereo was formed in Buenos Aires, their musical style was largely influenced by rock bands – such as The Police and The Cure. However, their music also incorporates reggae, pop, and electronica. Despite the group’s disbandment a few years ago, their music has accumulated millions of plays on Spotify. How am I only now discovering Soda Stereo?
While Soda Stereo recorded all of their music in Spanish, the music itself greatly resembles rock music that pervaded American air waves during the ‘80s and ‘90s. Seeing that four years of learning Spanish in high school have proven to be unhelpful in translating Soda Stereo’s lyrics into English, this post will focus on their history and musical style.
Like other bands that eventually flourish, Soda Stereo started out as an underground group in 1982. To expand their audience, they performed at nightclubs and other gigs. In 1984, Soda Stereo released their first album, titled Soda Stereo. This album kicks off with a song called “Por Que No Puedo Ser Del Jet Set,” which consists of a fast, upbeat tempo.
Track like “Sobredosis de T.V.” follow suit, and personally remind me of the kind of sound that would be heard in a John Hughes movie from the ‘80s. The rhythms from songs like “Tele-K” and “Un Misil en Mi Placard” also resemble the ‘80s and ‘90s rocks music that used to frequently heard in my house as a child.
Soda Stereo’s audience expanded after they performed at Latin American music festivals, and their second album, Nada Personal, further increased Soda Stereo’s growing popularity. The sound is similar to Soda Stereo, with cheerful, quick tunes that leave barely any room for slow ballads. “Cuando Pase el Temblor” and “Danza Rota” have slightly slower tempos, while still maintaining Soda Stereo’s signature sound.
In 1986, Soda Stereo released Signos, followed by a tour throughout Latin America. Aside from the notable thousands of fans that showed up to each show, what’s worth pointing is that Soda Stereo was the first group to tour throughout Latin America in its entirety.
To record Double Vita, which was their fifth album, Soda Stereo left Argentina for New York. There, they worked with Carlos Almorar, who acted as a guitarist for David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and Mick Jagger. The album produced hits such as “En La Ciudad de La Furia” and “Lo Que Sangra (La Cupula).”
Soda Stereo went on to produce Canción Animal in 1990 and Dynamo in 1993. Their final album, titled Sueño Stereo, was released in 1995. Within approximately two weeks, the album went platinum in Latin America. Later, Soda Stereo announced that the group would be separating. They went on a farewell tour in 1997, but returned 10 years later for a reunion tour that concluded on December 21, 2007.
Although Soda Stereo is no longer together, their impact on Latin American music was significant. They proved to be one of the most successful Argentinean groups, paving the way for other Latin American artists.