Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Caetano Veloso - Cinema Transcendental (1979)

It's almost pointless to post Brazilian albums on this blog when the powerhouses known as Loronix and Um Que Tenha exist, but I'm posting this anyway.

I've been listening to a lot of Brazilian music lately. I mean, I'll never be able to even really dent the surface in a music scene that certainly rivals (if not overpowers) the pop domination of the UK and US, but there are obviously those few choice artists that get recommended time and time again and my collection has been growing of the last half-decade.

This is a new acquisition for me. Caetano was the first Brazilian musician I became semi-obsessed with, a few years ago. I have about 14 of his albums (including his great 2009 release Zii e Zie), but somehow I had overlooked this one. It generally seems to be regarded as one of his transition albums. AMG calls it his final "quasi-acoustic" album in which he transitioned from the folky, serene singer of his early albums to the more bombastic instrumentation found from the 80s onward.

I love this album.

Though the classic Caetano album is typically considered to be Transa and his self-titled albums, many of his biggest hits in his native Brazil actually came from this album. It's not hard to see why. In some ways, the album cover says it all. Relax, become lost in the music. It's not necessarily background music, it's way too engaging for that, but there is something about Caetano and his Brazilian contemporaries that allow for their brand of pop music to enlighten the listener. I listen and I relax. I may shuffle my body, I may nod my head, I may try to sing along to the choruses in my best Portuguese imitation, but through it all I will somehow manage to feel this unavoidable joy and ease. It works as a collection of single songs, it works as an album. I'm not going to call it my favorite Caetano album, but by the end of this summer it may be very close.

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