Previously I wrote an article calling into the question the concept of the road march. Well actually I said it was irrelevant, and gave four reasons.
Tbh, I don’t feel that strongly about it anymore but I still feel that the song that eventually wins road march is not always the “song of the season” – let’s call it the BTOS or Biggest Tune of the Season. The BTOS to me is the song that people think of when they think of that particular season, if they think of such things (I do).
To expand on this observation, I’m going to analyze the seasons from 2011 to 2016 to see whether the road march winning song was really the BTOS. Let’s put this theory to the test.
Road March – Advantage by Machel Montano
Argument – “Trini” was a masterful song. Infants loved it. The teenagers loved it. Your granny loved it and probably gave you a lecture about what soca supposed to sound like while it was playing. It passed the “the whole maxi becomes a choir when it plays” test. The best combination of old and new. “Wotless” was also HUGE as it was the song that provoked the average fete goer who wasn’t female to start taking Kes seriously – please note I was always a fan so this eh no shade. The opening guitar riff is pure gold. The chorus is pure bliss; there were many unfortunate instances of grown ass folks bussing while ‘singing’ “and ah feel like, ah just win ah million dollaaaaaaaars“. It was more direct and audacious than anything Kes had released up to that point and people ate it up. However, it hasn’t aged as well so when people think of that season they will probably think of “Trini”. Advantage was just politics and maybe some mafia. An ok song from a top artiste with a boost from a win in a very contention and controversial power soca competition.
Road March – Pump Yuh Flag by Machel Montano
BTOS- Mr Fete by Machel Montao
Argument – This one was a hard one to decide.. There was the official arrival of Kerwyn Du Bois into the top tier with Bacchanalist on the glorious Antilles Riddim. There was also Vibes Cyah Done on the same riddim that brought a sweetness and nostalgia not heard from Machel in years. But Mr Fete was too good, too perfect and too Machel. The chorus was perfect, a fetegoer’s anthem. If you hit two fetes a week at least come carnival month this is your karaoke. Unfortunately, it’s also one of those songs that Machel didn’t push for road march in favour of pushing some other trash HE preferred (Wild Antz anyone). Pump Yuh Flag had the vibes to get the masqueraders going but it was template generic power soca.
Road March – Fantastic Friday by Super Blue
BTOS- Fantastic Friday by Super Blue
Argument – This one is no debate. The narrative is simple. Super Blue the old legend, down on troubles and suffering with a drug habit came out of retirement and destroyed the place galvanizing the old fans and pulling in some young ones. The chant at the beginning says it all – “Super Super Super Super”. This year also contained The Fog, one of Machel best songs but the ‘super’ narrative could not be beat.
Road Mach – Ministry of Road (MOR) by Machel Montano
MVS – Too Real by Kerwyn Du Bois
Argument – This year was Kerwyn’s hands down. To put it bluntly, he was the MVP of 2014. He had six popular songs in 2014 getting heavy rotation when any seasoned soca OG would tell you release three and hope two ketch. Too Real was a song for the winers so looking back it probably had no chance of winning road march. But in every fete, every radio station every hour and in every party this song reigned supreme. And in the groovy soca monarch Kerwyn bested the Boy at the height of his powers. Ministry of Road is actually better than generic and is a fine power in its own right but to suggest that it was better than Too Real? Nah man. Lewwe be ‘real’ nuh.
Road March – Like Ah Boss by Machel Montano
Argument – I apologize folks but I have to give a tie. On one hand we have one of the finest soca songs of the last five years. Brought back brass in soca in a masterful way. Perfectly captures the feel of an Intercol match mixed with Army fete.It damn near caused a riot when it played in dem cooler fetes. On the other hand we have the song that started the trend of Afro soca. It passes the “kindergarden children singing it test”. It passes the “whole maxi singing it when the radio plays it” test. Even though it was released real early in the season around October it was the most popular song everywhere but on the road for the WHOLE (Kia voice) season. However, Afro soca has many copycats and me too’s now so I believe Like Ah Boss will stand the test of time better. For now though, I will punk out and call it a tie.
Road March – Waiting on the Stage by Machel Montano
Argument – If Neutron entered soca monarch we might have been having a different conversation. Scene emerged as one of the biggest and slowly died down when the soca monarch hype started. Waiting on the Stage is actually better than its reputation. A perfectly catchy mix of soca and edm that only suffered the curse yet again of being forced into the road march status by HD. It’s akin to a 5 ft 4 teenage boy being forced on the basketball team by his parents. What can I say about Cheers to Life? Voice penned a deeply inspirational soca track (oxymoron?) on a gem of a Precision Productions instrumental. And he could perform it too. “Where he come from” is what people were wondering. But they were singing along. Since then it seems like a new star has been born and this year will be remembered as his emergence.
So in the last six years we have two songs (one outright and one tie) being both the road march and the biggest song of the season. Stayed tuned for part two where I tackle from 2010-2005. That should be fun seeing as my girl Destra got robbed a few times. But you see where I’m going. Is it right to crown a song that reigns for two days over a song that reigns for an entire season? Well you tell me. Face out.