Trinidad and Tobago soca icon and now six-time Road March winner, Machel Montano, revealed yesterday that it was getting increasingly harder to write a “power soca” hit song.
“Power soca is not that easy to construct,” Montano told the Trinidad Express, “there are only so many ways to say ‘jump and wave’.”
There, in a nutshell, is the mark that the International Soca Monarch has made on the artform since its launch in 1993.
This year, Montano defended his Soca Monarch title with “Ministry of Road”, which follows winning renditions with “Advantage”, “Pump Yuh Flag” and “Float” respectively. Not one is even one hundredth as memorable as “Big Truck”—the tune he delivered in 1997 when he declared that he was finished with William Munro’s State-funded competition.
Mr Live Wire cannot confirm that Ras Shorty I is turning his grave at the evolution in soca.
Meanwhile, Bunji Garlin, who walked out on the International Soca Monarch in 2012, produced “Differentology” in 2013—which won him a BET Soul Train Music Award for best international performance—and followed it up with the brilliant trio of “Truck on D Road”, “Carnival Tabanca” and “Red Light District”.
None of Bunji’s tunes managed even 39 plays on the road and, like Differentology, went through Carnival unrewarded by the relevant judges.
With Montano nearing burnout from years of jumping and waving, maybe the Ministry of Culture should outsource our soca competitions before the artform finally jumps off the stage and into irrelevance. Even BET seems like a better judge these days.
Put Machel on your bad, stink truck, Bunji!
Editor’s Note: Click here to read why Bunji Garlin quit the International Soca Monarch scene. Or scroll down to share your thoughts on the evolution of soca music in the post-ISM era.