Sunday, August 27, 2006

Andrés Calamaro - Tinta Roja

Posting a raving review after listening to an album once, is a bad idea. But not so if that album is by the hand of Andrés Calamaro. This Argentinian singer-songwriter / rock legend / trovador has issued 29 albums over the last two decades, climaxing in El Salmon, his 2001 magnum opus counting 103 equally brilliant songs. All of his albums are milestones in Argentinian pop music, and his latest Tinta Roja will be no exception.

A first listen reveals a very pure album, Calamaro is seldom accompanied by more than two instruments. Most songs feature a virtuoso tango rhythm on acoustic guitar, evoking the atmosphere of a dimly lit Buenos Aires bar around midnight. Sur (video) is a good example. On Mano a Mano (video) we hear the signature hand-clapping of Andalucian flamenco. The last two songs, Como Dos Extraños and Nostalgias (video), have Calamaro on piano, transporting you to a fifties blues joint (imagine the singer looking like the picture above, to complete the frame).

Two small remarks: first, this is a tribute album, so Calamaro doesn't deserve any credits for the beautiful lyrics. Most songs were written in the twenties and thirties, but their poetical words remain timeless. The language of love and passion is universal, and what are tango and flamenco other than pure passion? Title song "Tinta Roja" is a 1941 tango written by poet Cátulo Castillo:

Y aquel buzón carmín,
y aquel fondín
donde lloraba el tano
un rubio amor lejano
que mojaba con bon vin.
Second remark: if this is the first time you listen to a Calamaro album, you'll have to get used to his rough voice. Tinta Roja might not be the best introduction to his extended oevre, but even to new listeners I would say: buy this! Twenty-nine other albums are waiting to be discovered :)

Andrés Calamaro - Tinta Roja mp3 lyrics buy@iTunes

Show Videos...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Reggaeton: Hector El Father, Tego Calderon, Don Omar

Here's an update on the reggaeton scene.

Los Rompediscotekas

Biggest news in the genre was the release of the eagerly anticipated Los Rompediscotekas, marketed as the first important collaboration between Puerto Rican reggaeton MC's and popular East Coast rappers. A deal between producers Hector El Father and Jay-Z, and even a guest performance by the Def Jam CEO on the first single (Here We Go Yo), feeded the buzz around the album. But one look at the tracklist is enough to realize Los Rompediscotekas is not the 'imporant collaboration' it pretends to be: only two other tracks feature US rappers (Fat Joe and Memphis Bleek), and both are very weak.
But, all the hype put aside, Los Rompediscotekas is a deliciously over-the-top reggaeton album, with Hector El Father as the undeniable king of the tongue-in-cheek lyrics, X-rated videos (remeber Dale Castigo?) and dirty beats that made reggaeton big. Buying the album won't be necessary, if you live anywhere in the Americas you'll hear these tracks continuously for the next five years, and you'll be singing along with this kind of lyrics, full of double-entendres and sexual connotations:

Vamos, chiquilla, no se suelten de las manecillas
Cya, y con tu amiga hagamos una tortilla [...]
Mami, vas a doblar las rodillas
Cya, voy a secarte la gargantilla
There's one decent song on the album, by Wisin y Yandel (known from their song with R Kelly, Burn It Up). "El Telefono" isn't that original (telephone bleeps must be the most used sample in history, and the chorus is supposedly plagiarism (link in Spanish)) but it's quite contagious, and the song is hot enough to dance to. Enjoy!

Other News
Zion y Lennox have decided to stop working together. They were more or less my favorite reggaeton duo.. so as a tribute, here's once more their best song, "Don't Stop".

The new Tego Calderón album is due the end of this month, and the Puerto Rican underdog is already heating up the expectations by doing a few great collaborations. Ñejo's "No Quiere Novio" is lifted to a higher level by his natural flow. No radio material, but a nice rap song with (again) a contagious chorus.

And last but not least: a new Don Omar song. Well, not really new, as I mentioned it as one of the few good songs off his King of Kings album in my review. It's called "Salió El Sol", has a groovy ragga-like riddim, and it'll instantly bring summer to your ears!

Wisin y Yandel ft. Hector 'El Father' - El Telefono mp3 lyrics buy@iTunes
Ñejo ft. Tego Calderón - No Quiere Novio mp3
Don Omar - Salió El Sol mp3 lyrics buy@iTunes

Show Videos...

Friday, August 04, 2006

Pop/Rock: Mana, Los Enanitos Verdes

You can't get around it: Mexican rock superstars Maná have a new single, "Labios Compartidos". It's the usual stuff, a rough poprock ballad with sugar-sweet lyrics. If you've heard Mariposa Traicionera or Angel de Amor (off their fantastic 2002 album Revolución de Amor), you might be a little disappointed by this long-awaited single. If this is the first time you hear Maná, enjoy the unique hoisted voice of lead singer Fher, and be sure to download the complete back-catalogue of these latin rock legends. Hopefully the new album will live up to the (impossibly high) expectations: Amar es Combatir will be available August 22nd.

Los Enanitos Verdes celebrate their 25th anniversary with a new CD, Pescado Original. Gotta love the album cover (image above).
Though one of their most famous (and beautiful) songs is called Lamento Boliviano, they're a 100% Argentinian band (lo siento margolita ;)). New single "Mariposas" won't give 'em as much success as they had in the 90's, but it's a nice pop song that'll grow on you. Maybe because mariposa is by far the most beautiful word in Spanish!

(By the way, both videos are worth watching, very professional! Links below. And if you want the lyrics translated, leave a message in the comments.)

Maná - Labios Compartidos mp3 video lyrics buy@iTunes
Los Enanitos Verdes - Mariposas mp3 video lyrics buy@iTunes

Show Videos...