The opening flourish of guitar-like cuatro is instantly recognizable, a gentle but effective means of telling you what you might’ve assumed to be true even before the song began: You’re about to hear the remix of “Despacito.”
Unavoidable over the last few months on both the Internet and Top 40 radio, this sleek — and surprising — collaboration between Justin Bieber and two of Puerto Rico’s biggest stars, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, is without question the song of the summer.
It’s sold more than 2 million downloads. It’s been streamed on Spotify nearly 800 million times. And so far it’s spent 15 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 — longer than any song except one: Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s “One Sweet Day,” which logged 16 weeks atop the music industry’s most closely watched singles chart in 1995 and 1996.
At Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards, “Despacito” is nominated for only one prize — the result, MTV says, of Fonsi’s label not submitting the song’s video for consideration in the major categories. But the prospect of one of its competitors winning the trophy for song of the summer seems beyond laughable.
“If you’d told me a few months ago that the song was still going to be No. 1 in August, I would’ve been like, ‘There’s no way — people are going to be sick of it,’” Fonsi said with a laugh. “But here we are.”
The success of “Despacito,” whose title translates to “slowly,” is to some extent an artistic triumph. A seamless blend of pop and reggaeton, the expertly crafted song about a sexual encounter zeros in on an emotional and…
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