The Macarena: It Lives, Perhaps Improbably

Jul 30th, 2007 // 12 Comments

The other night I was at the New York Mets’ annual “merengue night,” which features a postgame concert, players being announced in Spanish and interstitial packages on topics like Dominican restaurants in Queens. After the playing of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch, “Macarena” came over the speakers. I laughed; my friend thought it was funny. I swung around to see if anyone was doing the dance (because I couldn’t remember its hand gestures for the life of me) and behind me was a row of eight-year-olds, all doing the dance perfectly, and being pretty serious about it to boot. Eight-year-olds! They weren’t even alive during the song’s fourteen-week reign of terror at No. 1!

I mentioned this oddness to two of my non-game-attending pals, and they both gave me the same “well, duh” response: “Yeah, it’s like the Chicken Dance of now,” by which they meant that it had achieved the sort of wedding/Sweet 16 ubiquity that allows future generations to keep the tradition alive. But I’ve thought it over, and I haven’t heard “Macarena” at a wedding/DJed gathering in a good ten years. I hadn’t even heard the song in full in at least one year, although there was a snippet of it on some VH1 “The ’90s Were Totally Absolutely Rad, Dude” special that I flipped past on a rainy day of recent days.

Anyway, this response has just befuddled me on all sides, and so I turn it over to you, Idolator readers. Is “Macarena” an already-in-place piece of the novelty-dance canon, or do we still have time? And does this mean that it’s taken the place of the Achy Breaky on your local bad DJ’s playlist, just in time for Billy Ray Cyrus to debut his new frizz-free ‘do?

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Los Del Rio – The Macarena [YouTube]

  1. Jack Fear

    I’m flabbergasted. Do you only go to hipster weddings?

  2. skyco

    I was that friend at the game — What made it most funny to me is that I was EXPECTING it to be played when it was (immediately following “Take Me out to the Ballgame”), not that it was played at all. In fact, I’m only surprised it’s not played more (at Shea, at least).

    Maura, I know you question how someone so young would know the dance, but I think it’s no different than you or me knowing “The Twist” or any other novelty dance song when it was played at a Wedding or Bar Mitzvah when we were kids or the like.

    My favorite Macarena memory came in that wonderful summer of 1996, when I was roadtripping across the country. At one stretch, around Effingham, Ill., I believe, there was a radio station that was testing it’s transmitter by playing eight different Macarena remixes on a loop. I listened until I lost the signal (about 20 Macarenas in).

  3. Vince Neilstein

    I think the Macarena has about as much relevance now as expecting Scott Schoenweiss to resurrect his miserable season. That having been said, every time I look out and see Rickey Henderson’s #24 standing next to first base I get a little twinge of happiness; so perhaps some nostalgia can be a good thing.

  4. El Zilcho!

    It definitely is firmly entrenched. I can’t remember the last wedding I was at where they didn’t play the Macarena. I need to trade in my extended family for a hipper one.

  5. Audif Jackson Winters III

    It’s pretty much “The Electric Slide” for people who really, really can’t dance.

  6. Feh Am Legend

    @Audif Jackson Winters III: Yep. I was going to pretty much say the same thing. Moreover, it also requires less floor space making it suitable for places like bleachers.

  7. blobby

    I have never attended a Bar or Bat Mitzvah that didn’t include the Macarena (including my own, sadly enough).

  8. Chris Molanphy

    I’m with Maura - I haven’t seen the Macarena at a wedding in years, and I’m half-Italian, half-Latin, with a wife who just turned 30: I go to a lot of weddings.

    What I hate about Macarena hateration is, people think they’re so tasteful for dissing the song and the dance, and then at a wedding these same people will happily trot out for the Electric Slide, which is both the Worst Song of All Time and an absolutely appalling dance. Honestly, I could live with hearing “Macarena” at every wedding I attend for the rest of my life if I never, never have to hear “The Electric Slide,” which positively makes my flesh crawl.

  9. mishaps

    The Macarena will not die until it is staked through the heart by Slayer.

  10. ruz

    It’s a minor-league baseball staple, for when the person in charge of between-innings music is sick of the Chicken Dance.

  11. Anonymous

    At least it wasn’t “Cotton-Eye Joe”!

  12. bedofnails

    Dear Electric Slide,

    Your attention on this matter is needed.



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