Besides being one of the best Salsa singers in history, Ruben Blades has transformed Salsa music into a meaningful experience. Throughout his professional career, this Panamanian artist has written powerful lyrics dealing with topics like inequality, oppression, criminality, and the meaning of life. The following songs contain some of the best lyrics Ruben Blades has ever produced.
The lyrics of this song are powerful. "Prohibido Olvidar" is a timeless single that deals with the negative memories dictatorships left in Latin America. However, this song encompasses a global appeal. It is, in fact, a reminder for all of us to never forget what happens when political power falls in the hands of oppressive and corrupted regimes. It is not allowed to forget! This is what this song is all about.
"Prohibido Prohibir" lyrics
"Maestra Vida" is a single that deals with the school of life we all have to go through. It is a reflection of the things that we see but we do not understand. The lyrics describe life as a temporary trip full of opposite experiences. This song is about what life gives you and what life takes away from you. "Maestra Vida" is one of the most iconic songs from Ruben Blades.
"Maestra Vida" lyrics
This song is about decisions. From the girl who does not know what to do after finding out she is pregnant to the drunk man who decides to get into his car because he believes he is a better driver with alcohol, this song is about the price we have to pay for our actions. This uplifting song is one of the most popular hits Ruben Blades has ever written.
The story of "Pablo Pueblo" is the story of an average poor man who struggles with his life and the conditions of his own existence. "Pablo Pueblo" describes an internal conflict that moves between frustration and hope. It is a touching song thanks to the poetic lyrics Ruben Blades incorporated into this single.
"Pablo Pueblo" lyrics
This is probably Ruben Blades' most famous song, and one track that has been considered by many one of the top Salsa songs ever written. Part of the appeal of "Pedro Navaja" relies in the fact that despite the tragic story it tells, the song is almost funny. It deals with a tragic episode between a prostitute and a thief in the streets of a big city, who kill each other for money. In the end, a drunk man finds the two bodies, takes the money, and walks away singing the main message of this song: Life is full of surprises.
"Pedro Navaja" lyrics.
This is another song that deals with the issue of criminality in big cities. "Te Estan Buscando" (They are looking for you), is a warning to those who take the wrong way in life. It also describes the tension that arises when law enforcement agents move into the ghetto. The slow melody, which is defined by some amazing trombone playing, is plain fantastic.
"Te Estan Buscando" lyrics
"Sicarios" is probably one of the toughest songs Ruben Blades has ever written. It describes the deadly ritual that goes along with the mission of a sicario (hired assassin) who gets ready to shoot someone from his motorcycle. The figure of the sicario, which evolved in Latin America mainly through drug related violence, has affected countries like Colombia and Mexico. The lyrics of this song describes that sad reality.
This song has lots of inner messages on it. In this case, this tiburon (shark) is more than animal here. This track deals with Imperialism in the Americas and with the uncomfortable presence of a powerful being in the Caribbean. If you listen carefully, this shark refers to presence of the US in the region. "Tiburon" is a call for an entire continent to defend its sovereignty.
"Plastico" is one of the most popular songs by Ruben Blades. Its irony makes a mockery of all of those who are trapped in a superficial life where the only thing that counts is money, fashion, and fake relationships. "Se ven las caras pero nunca el corazon" (You see faces but never the heart) is the sentence that defines this wonderful single.
At first, the lyrics of this song may seem to tell a funny story. However, the funny part goes away quickly when you start to connect the lyrics with the real life. Racism has been a taboo in Latin America for many years. However, it does exist and very often it goes in connection to social class exclusion. "Ligia Elena" tells the story of a rich white girl who falls in love with the 'wrong' person. This is as good as it gets in terms of Ruben Blades lyrics.
"Ligia Elena" lyrics