Desde Rusia con Amor: Vulgar, political Mexican rap/rock

Molotov is the band that Mexican mothers tell their young teenagers not to listen to. The four-piece punk/rap/rock group scored some huge hits in the '90s and 2000s with big, vulgar, and often political sing-alongs in Spanish that get fists pumping at rowdy parties all over Mexico. Molotov recently released Desde Rusia con Amor (From Russia with Love), an album and DVD recorded live during a tour in Russia.A live album is a good choice when getting into a band. Often it’s both a greatest hits album and a showcase of a band’s true abilities. In this case, it’s amazing to hear the cheering and chanted choruses from a Russian crowd watching a Mexican band singing mostly in Spanish. Who knew Molotov was so popular over there, especially when they are practically unknown in the U.S., Mexico’s neighbor?

The album opens with the heavy, bad language “Chinga tu Madre.” This title roughly translates as “F*** You.” But their songs aren’t strictly vulgar – the plight of the poor and the corruption of Mexico’s government are pushed to the forefront in the “Gimme the Power,” one of their best known songs.

A good listen for anyone who doesn’t speak Spanish is “Frijolero,” which translates as “Beaner.” It’s an argument between and Mexican and a gringo, half in Spanish and half in English. Despite its unapologetic aggression, it’s a better history lesson than you will find in U.S. textbooks, and a better social commentary on Mexico-U.S. relations than you will find in the New York Times.

Politics aside, musically Molotov is rocking and innovative, and Desde Rusia con Amor showcases all this as well as their ability to work a huge crowd, whatever the language barrier may be.