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Why yes, I am putting out a lot of these music video posts suddenly. I had a few in waiting so it’s an easy blog fill while my brain is elsewhere. I’m sure it will be back soon.

Juanes with Nelly Furtado, “Fotografia”

I first heard of Juanes while living in Mexico City and working as the Living section editor of an English language newspaper. He won best new artist in the second annual Latin Grammys – a ceremony that was to be broadcast on September 11, 2001, and instead made the front page of my section as part of a montage on entertainment and cultural events affected by 9/11.

For his next album, he recorded this duet with Nelly Furtado, who I saw at the Canadian Embassy in Mexico during a celebration for her … I don’t know, let’s say platinum … selling CD. She’s not fluent in Spanish – there’s a cute section in the middle of the song where he’s teaching her her lines. Listen for her laugh. It’s probably my favourite part of the song.

The lyrics and video are about long-distance lovers (crappy translation alert): “Every time I look for you you’re gone/Every time I call you you’re not there/That’s why I have to say that only in my photos you’re around.”

Juanes, “Fijate Bien”

This is his breakout song, the first I’d heard. Juanes is Colombian, and this is the peppiest song about civil war and landmines you’ll probably ever hear: “Pay attention where you step/Pay attention when you walk/Don’t go near the mines/That will blow up your feet/ … They’re not going to look for you/They’re not going to save you.” Cheery, no?

Marco Antonio Solis, “Si No Te Hubieras Ido”

I wholeheartedly like Juanes, but this next one is a definite guilty pleasure. This is a live version but it still retains all of the overproduced cheese of the recorded version. The lyrics are the usual “oh baby I can’t live without you” tripe and yet … they get to me. Maybe because everything sounds better in Spanish.

(“There’s nothing more difficult than living without you/Suffering in the hope of seeing you return/The coldness of my body asks for you/And I don’t know where you are/If you hadn’t gone, I’d be so happy.”)

Still, the song has some cool cred because it was on the soundtrack of Y Tu Mama Tambien. It also marked the pinnacle of my Spanish language abilities when I figured out the verb tenses in the title. Never mind the tense, to know what the verb being conjugated even was was huge for me. I went to Mexico knowing how to say “where are the bathrooms” and “how much does this cost.” Learning the past tense was a major milestone – you can imagine how limited conversations have to be when you only know the present tense. But to recognize the past perfect simple? Sweet.