Words by Rishi Bonneville—
The steady march of Trinidadian and Bajan soca music has, over the course of the last decade, had an unexpected consequence. Jamaican dancehall reggae has become more uptempo, and, on occasion, actually reinterpolates old calypso and soca hits into reggae tunes (“Buddy” by Charlie Blacks, for example, is a redux of “Turn it Around” by Barbados’ Square One). However it remains the case that in a typical dancehall sound system only one set, if any, can be devoted to the second most popular music in the Anglophone Caribbean. In these short sets, superhits like “Palance” by JW & Blaze, the TnT 2010 Power Soca Monarch winner, might ring off but little space remains for the numerous jams that didn’t top the island competitions. (Note that the competitions are divided into different sections–in Trinidad for example, there are three main categories: Power Soca Monarch, Groovy Soca Monarch, and Chutney Soca Monarch). Here we review ten of the top songs of 2011 from the various islands that did not get a title, but still caused a frenzy with die-hard soca lovers.