The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)

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For the song by Stompin' Tom Connors, see Ketchup Song (Stompin' Tom Connors song).
"The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)"
Single by Las Ketchup
from the album Hijas del Tomate
B-side Remix
Released 29 July 2002
Recorded 2002 in Lolmang Studios
Genre Latin pop, surf pop
Length 3:32
Label
Writer(s) Manuel Ruiz
Producer(s) Manuel Ruiz
Certification See certifications below
Las Ketchup singles chronology
"The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)"
(2002)
"Kusha Las Payas"
(2003)
Music sample

"The Ketchup Song", or "Aserejé" (pronounced [aseɾeˈxe] in Spanish and [aseɾeˈhɛː] in English), is a Latin dance-pop song recorded by the Spanish pop group Las Ketchup. It was released in July 2002 as the lead single from their debut studio album, Hijas del Tomate and it became an international hit that year.

The song exists in three versions, Spanish, a version in a mixture of English and Spanish (labeled as "Spanglish") and a version in Portuguese. The chorus is identical in the three versions. This song reached number-one in the United Kingdom, as well as 26 other countries worldwide. As of 2006, the song has sold over 7 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time.[1]

Just after its release, the song became controversial because of rumors that its title (Aserejé) had emphatic references to Satanism, Lucifer (the Devil) and the inferno.[2]

Background[edit]

Las Ketchup was first introduced to Columbia Records through Shaketown Music, a small record label in Córdoba, Andalusia, who sent out the group's demo to a number of different record companies.[3]

The demo featured the songs “Asereje” and “Kusha Las Payas.” When A&R Javier Portugués and Columbia director Raúl López listened to the demo, they stared at each other in delight exclaiming, "Wow, this is fantastic!"[3] At first the intention was to arrange a distribution deal with ShakeTown Music but upon hearing the song they realised its international potential and so negotiated for Las Ketchup to sign with Sony.[3]

Composition[edit]

The song is written in the key of Eb minor and follows the chord progression of Ebm–C#–B–Abm–Bb7 in the chorus. The pre-chorus uses an altered chord (B minor), or a modal interchange, as the cadence.[4] According to Pandora.com, the song features "humorous lyrics", "mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation" and "electric guitar riffs".[5]

Content[edit]

Contrary to the title, "The Ketchup Song" is not about ketchup. It tells the story of a pimp-like dancer "Afro-gypsy, Rastafari" named Diego who walks into a crowded nightclub at midnight on a Friday. He is described as "looking fine", checking out "every girl in sight" and he dances like "he does the mambo". He is a regular, always "there in the disco (allí en la disco)", "playing sexy" and "feeling hotter". The DJ, who knows Diego, routinely played the song (Rapper's Delight) "on the spot always around twelve" for Diego, where he dances and raps to it. Diego "comes and disappears" in the club, convincing people that this a work of "witchcraft ("brujeria"), where they claim that he is "the real, Rastafari Afrogitano". His moves "hypnotize" the onlookers, although "some will call" his overall demeanor as "cocky (chuleria)".[6]

Transliteration[edit]

The chorus is reminiscent of Spanish, but actually is a nonsensical distortion of the 1979 rap hit "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang.[7]

I said a hip, hop, the hippie to the hippie
Aserejé ja de je de jebe
the hip-hip-hop, a you don't stop
tu de jebere sebiunouva (seibiunouva)
the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie
majabi (majavi) an de bugui
to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat
an de buididipí

Critical reception[edit]

Andy Thomas from Drowned In Sound gave the song a 9 out of 10, stating, "The Ketchup Song is better than the Macarena...", whilst acknowledging that the song is "not smart, it's not clever, and it's not going to get a single positive review outside of the teeny bop press." Thomas described the song's band members (Las Ketchup) as "three slightly odd looking women from Spain who are the proud exponents of this year's Macarena. It's got dance moves (wiggle your hands, thumb a lift, raise your arms, knock your knees together) and a sunny video where the trio serve drinks in a beach bar."[8]

Legacy[edit]

In France, the song reached number-one for eleven weeks and eventually sold 1,310,000 copies, making it the best-selling single of 2002, and the second best-selling of the 21st century in the country, behind "Un Monde parfait" by Ilona Mitrecey.[9] Furthermore, the song was the 50th best-selling single of the 2000's in the UK.[10]

Controversy[edit]

The controversy that sparked was rooted in the title of the song, "Aserejé", which—if broken down—supposedly makes reference to a demonic being. The letter 'A' in Spanish means (to); ser (be); and hereje (heretical).[11]

Other lyrics like Mira lo que se avecina, a la vuelta de la esquina viene Diego ("Look what's coming up, around the corner comes Diego") supposedly signifies Diego as some kind of messenger.[11] Con la Luna en las pupilas ("With the moon in his pupils") supposedly means Diego can only be seen at night; Y donde más no cabe un alma ("And there, where no soul can be squeezed in") supposedly means hell; Y el DJ que lo conoce toca el himno de las doce ("And the DJ that knows him [the messenger] plays the midnight hymn") is supposedly a reference to Satanic rituals, which usually occur at midnight.

Aserejé, ja, de je, de jebe tu de jebere sebiunouva, majabi an de bugui an de buididipi reportedly means "Asejeré" (Spanish: un ser hereje — "a heretic being"), ja (the letters of Jehovah), deje, dejebe tu dejebe (deja tu ser — leave your being); if connected, it reads un ser hereje Jehová deja tu ser, or, "a heretic being Jehovah leave your being."[11][2] Other lyrics like No es cosa de brujería que lo encuentre to' los días (pecando) por donde voy caminando ("It's not witchcraft the fact that I find him (sinning) everyday wherever I walk through") supposedly make references to a demonic being, just like Diego tiene chulería ("Diego has natural charm"), which some critics say it literally means that the Devil is a beautiful angel.

The group members, however, have insisted that the song is in large parts nonsensical rather than satanical.[11]

Track listings[edit]

CD maxi
No. Title Length
1. "The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)" (Spanglish Version) 3:32
2. "The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)" (Spanish Version) 3:32 Song (Aserejé)
4. Untitled (Motown Club Single Edit) 3:41
CD maxi
No. Title Length
1. "The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)" (Crystal Sound Xmas mix) 3:50
2. "The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)" (Karaoke Version) 3:44
3. "The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)" (Chiringuito Club mix) 5:30
4. "The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)" (video – Crystal Sound Xmas mix)  

Charts and sales[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[59] 3× Platinum 210,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[60] 2× Platinum 0*
Belgium (BEA)[61] 5× Platinum 250,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[62] 2× Platinum 20,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[63] Platinum 15,483[63]
France (SNEP)[64] Diamond 1,750,000[65]
Germany (BVMI)[66] 2× Platinum 1,000,000^
Greece (IFPI Greece)[67] 2× Platinum 40,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[68] Platinum 50,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[69] Platinum 60,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[70] 2× Platinum 0*
Norway (IFPI Norway)[71] 6× Platinum 60,000*
Sweden (GLF)[72] 4× Platinum 120,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[73] 3× Platinum 120,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[74] Platinum 600,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Chart successions[edit]

Order of precedence
Preceded by
"Le vent nous portera" by Noir Désir
Italian FIMI number-one single
27 July 2002 – 14 September 2002 (8 weeks)
Succeeded by
"All the Things She Said" by t.A.T.u.
Preceded by
"Without Me" by Eminem
Swiss number-one single
25 August 2002 – 3 November 2002 (11 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Dilemma" by Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland
Preceded by
"Dansplaat" by Brainpower
Belgian (Flanders) number-one single
31 August 2002 – 16 November 2002 (12 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Dilemma" by Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland
Preceded by
"Perdono" by Tiziano Ferro
Dutch number-one single
31 August 2002 – 26 October 2002 (9 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Dilemma" by Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland
Preceded by
"J'ai demandé à la lune" by Indochine
Belgian (Wallonia) number-one single
7 September 2002 – 28 December 2002 (17 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Paris Latino" by Star Academy
Preceded by
"Lumessakahlaajat" by Timo Rautiainen & Trio Niskalaukaus
Finnish number-one single
9 September 2002 – 21 October 2002 (7 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Etsit muijaa seuraavaa" by Gimmel
Preceded by
"A Little Less Conversation" by Elvis Presley vs JXL
Swedish number-one single
9 September 2002 – 2 January 2003 (17 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Tu es foutu" by In-Grid
Preceded by
"Inch'Allah" by MC Solaar
"Marie" by Johnny Hallyday
"Plus haut" by Whatfor
French SNEP number-one single
14 September 2002 – 9 November 2002 (9 weeks)
23 November 2002 (1 week)
7 December 2002 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Marie" by Johnny Hallyday
"Plus haut" by Whatfor
"Marie" by Johnny Hallyday
Preceded by
"Mensch" by Herbert Grönemeyer
German number-one single
20 September 2002 – 1 November 2002 (7 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Dilemma" by Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland
Preceded by
"Without Me" by Eminem
Eurochart Hot 100 number-one single
21 September 2002 – 11 January 2003 (17 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Lose Yourself" by Eminem
Preceded by
"Mensch" by Herbert Grönemeyer
Austrian number-one single
29 September 2002 – 15 December 2002 (12 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Der Steuersong (Las Kanzlern)" by Die Gerd Show
Preceded by
"Complicated" by Avril Lavigne
Norwegian VG-Lista number-one single
30 September 2002 – 30 December 2002 (15 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Lose Yourself" by Eminem
Preceded by
"Positivity" by Suede
Danish number-one single
4 October 2002 – 8 November 2002 (6 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Right Here Next to You" by Jon
Preceded by
"Complicated (Avril Lavigne song)" by Avril Lavigne
"Unbreakable" by Westlife
Irish IRMA number-one single
12 October 2002 (1 week)
16 November 2002 – 23 November 2002 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Dilemma" by Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland
"Dirrty" by Christina Aguilera featuring Redman
Preceded by
"The Logical Song" by Scooter
"Dilemma" by Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland
Australian ARIA number-one single
13 October 2002 (1 week)
17 November 2002 – 24 November 2002 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Dilemma" by Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland
"Born to Try" by Delta Goodrem
Preceded by
"The Long and Winding Road / Suspicious Minds" by Will Young & Gareth Gates
UK number-one single
19 October 2002 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Dilemma" by Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland
Preceded by
"No Me Enseñaste" by Thalía
U.S. Billboard Hot Latin Tracks number-one single
9 November 2002 – 30 November 2002 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"El Problema" by Ricardo Arjona
Preceded by
"The Tide Is High" by Atomic Kitten
New Zealand RIANZ number-one single
17 November 2002 – 19 January 2003 (10 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Lose Yourself" by Eminem
Preceded by
"Jenny from the Block" by Jennifer Lopez
Canadian number-one single
15 February 2003 – 1 March 2003 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b "Prohiben 'Aserejé' hasta en la TV". Terra Networks (in Spanish). 4 April 2007. Retrieved 29 April 2013. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b c "Interview With Javier Portugués". HitQuarters. 11 Nov 2002. Retrieved 3 Jun 2011. 
  4. ^ http://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtd.asp?ppn=MN0055224
  5. ^ https://www.pandora.com/las-ketchup/barbie-girls/aserje-ketchup-song
  6. ^ http://www.ndr.de/ndr1niedersachsen/sendungen/Las-Ketchup-Ketchup-Song,lasketchup112.html
  7. ^ "TODO LO QUE SUBE DEBE BAJAR, LO IMPORTANTE ES QUE AHORA ESTAMOS ARRIBA". Terra Networks (in Spanish). 2004. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014. 
  8. ^ http://drownedinsound.com/releases/5610/reviews/5042
  9. ^ "Top 100 des singles les plus vendus du millénaire en France, le top 10 final!". Chartsinfrance, PureCharts. 13 September 2014. Retrieved 2015-03-17. 
  10. ^ Radio 1 Official Chart of the Decade, as broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on Tuesday 29 December 2009, presented by Nihal
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