Xenia Rubinos - Cógelo Suave

Song of the Day
Hosted by Kevin Cole

Today's Song of the Day, as chosen by Kevin Cole, host of Drive Time on KEXP, is "Cógelo Suave" by Xenia Rubinos, a 2021 single on Anti-.


 
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pHOTO by Michelle Arcila
written by jasmine Albertson

Renowned for forging a sound that’s completely her own, with influences ranging from R&B to punk, you never know what you’re gonna get from Xenia Rubinos. The Brooklyn-based daughter of a Puerto Rican mother and a Cuban father uses her Berklee degree in jazz composition and early influences of classical music and opera to warp modern genres in unique yet timeless fashion. One of the handful of singles the past year, “Cógelo Suave,” is one of those left-field songs that only Rubinos could pull off so well.

“It’s a gibberish spaceship ride, high speed chase, birds and stars whirring around your head at the end of a cartoon fight,” Rubinos said in a statement about the song and, really, it’s the most apt description. Made up primarily of swirling scat sounds, the few phrases dictated in the English language are “Well, I don’t know” and “I’m doing fine.” Which makes sense, considering the song was born during the height of the pandemic, Spring 2020, when despair and paranoia were the overwhelming feelings of the moment.

“The more I think about it, the more I realize that the world was totally burning down around us while we were producing this track,” Rubinos shared on Twitter, “and in Cógelo Suave I guess I’m saying ‘I’m fine. THIS IS FINE.'” As the song whirls down from its psychedelic high, a vintage-sounding voice floats down from the heavens saying, “Penetrando los misterios del universo” - “Penetrating the mysteries of the universe” - which is part of a taped radio show that Rubinos found digging through her dad’s old cassettes. An appropriate addition considering when the present is so awful, it makes sense to turn to the past.

 

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