Price of clarity

<!– Link: Price of Glory

The problem with the term “rock en Español” is its ambiguity.

Spanish-language rock music takes on so many guises that it’s best described by what it’s not — specifically, a “Latin Explosion.” The grand anthems of Maná are as much rock en Español as Café Tacuba’s art rock or Molotov’s blistering metal-rap. But they’re definitely not Ricky or Enrique.

There seems to be a slight movement, however, to pigeonhole rock en Español as a primarily rap-driven genre. (A number of bands on last year’s Watcha Tour were rap groups.) The soundtrack to the film Price of Glory neatly maps the different directions the hybrid music can take.

“Keep It Simple,” a track by rap-rockers Puya, establishes the path the entire soundtrack will eventually follow, but the disc does attempt to give a broad survey of rock en Español in its first few songs.

Aterciopelados present the almost Dead Can Dance-ish “Lado Oscuro.” Pastilla goes for the big, punk-pop riffs on “Be a Star,” while Ozomtali and Los Lobos make a case for the Español part of rock en Español.

After that, Price of Glory alternates between a series of slightly different sounding rap groups. King Chango and El Gran Silencio — both contributing two tracks to the album — lean toward more Latin-influenced music, while Control Machete and Cypress Hill represent the straight-forward hip-hop contingent.

And just to throw an additional monkey wrench into the whole equation, the soundtrack concludes with the Texas Tornadoes sounding absolutely Louisianan. As a result, the soundtrack blurs into an indistinguishable sameness.

Right now, the diversity of rock en Español groups makes the music such an exciting listening experience, but if marketing forces intervene and gentrify the, ahem, “genre,” it creates products as seemingly generic as Price of Glory.

While the soundtrack makes for a good Spanish rock sample, it also serves a warning for the future of the music.