The Meaning of  Los del Río’s “Macarena”

One 90s dance tune that just about everybody has heard is Los del Río’s “Macarena”. First released on the Spanish band’s 1993 album A mí me gusta (in English: I like it), the song took the world by storm in the summer of 1996 when the Bayside Boys released a remixed version that added some lyrics in English.

It was this version that spent 14 whole weeks in the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, eventually being de-throned by Blackstreet’s smash hit “No Diggity”.

“Macarena” is still popular today, known for getting people of all ages to move their feet to the song’s quirky choreographed dance moves. While the dance floor is always full when it plays, very few actually pay attention to the English lyrics and their meaning, let alone consider a translation for the Spanish lyrics. If they did, they might think twice about playing the song at school dances, as the subject matter is actually quite dirty.

The female singer in the English remix starts by introducing herself as Macarena, the seductive woman who has the attention of all the men in the club, who say “que soy buena”, or “that I’m good”. She has them all lining up to dance with her and she loves it, teasing that if the men are good enough to keep up with her then they might have a chance to go home with her.

When I dance, they call me Macarena
And the boys, they say que soy buena
They all want me
They can’t have me
So they all come and dance beside me
Move with me
Chant with me
And if you’re good, I’ll take you home with me

First verse to “Macarena”

Now, this first verse seems innocent enough, but just wait. The catchy Spanish chorus follows quickly enough to distract anybody who may have heard a hint of promiscuity in the lyrics into a trance of completing the song’s preset dance moves.

However, a translation of the Spanish chorus reveals more suggestiveness:

Give your body joy, Macarena
Because your body is meant to be given joy and good things
Give your body joy, Macarena.
Hey Macarena!

Translated lyrics to “Macarena”

The second English verse is where the song takes a hard left turn as Macarena reveals that she has a boyfriend named Vittorino, who she insists that her dance partners shouldn’t worry about. She disses her boyfriend and says that he was no good to her so she — laughter on the track.

Los del Rio with the dancers from “Macarena”, October 1996.

Then, she chimes back in and unveils the final punchline, that her boyfriend was out of town and she ended up going home with two of his friends who were “sooo fine!”

But don’t you worry about my boyfriend
He’s a boy whose name is Vitorino
I don’t want him
Couldn’t stand him
He was no good so I (hahahaha)Now, come on, what was I supposed to do?
He was out of town and his two friends were so fine

Second verse to “Macarena”

It is never revealed whether her boyfriend found out about this encounter, nor whether they broke up for good or remained together. The third verse, however, snuck in yet again between the encouragement in the Spanish chorus (both for dancing and promiscuity), reveals that Macarena does this all the time, and tells us exactly what to do if we want to take her home next.

Come and find me, my name is Macarena
Always at the party con las chicas que son buenas
Come join me
Dance with me
And all you fellows chant along with me

Third verse to “Macarena”
Tyga with Los del Rio when filming the video for 2019’s “Ayy Macarena”.

Rapper Tyga sampled the “Macarena” in his 2019 single “Ayy Macarena”, which picks up on the catchiness of the song’s melody and the nostalgia in the dance to make for an interesting take on the classic, for those who like hip-hop music. The video also features the two dudes who sang the original song, Antonio Romero Monge and Rafael Ruiz Perdigones.

Listen to the original dance hit “Macarena” as well as Tyga’s “Ayy Macarena” below.

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