The Stranglers, Joao Gilberto & More: My Albums of the Week #25

I would consider myself an “albums guy” and my taste in music is very varied. In this new feature, I list the albums that I listened to most intensely during the week. The list will include albums old and new, and the number of albums listened to every week will most likely vary on a week-to-week basis.

 

Buena Vista Social Club
Buena Vista Social Club
(World Circuit/Nonesuch/Elektra, 1996)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Chan Chan // 2 – De camino de la vereda // 3 – El Cuarto de Tula // 4 – Pueblo nuevo // 5 – Dos gardenias // 6 – ¿Y tú qué has hecho? // 7 – Veinte anos // 8 – El carretero // 9 – Candela // 10 – Amor de loca juventud // 11 – Orgullecida // 12 – Murmullo // 13 – Buena Vista Social Club // 14 – La Bayamesa

Rediscovering the magic of the Son Cubano – a popular style of music of the pre-Castro years, blending elements of Spanish and African origins. Its fascinating backstory matches the beauty of the music. The ensemble is made up of great musicians in their old age, many of whom had not touched an instrument in years at the time of recording. Yet, they clearly had not lost their touch, joined as they were by the project’s producer, guitarist Ry Cooder.

The Stranglers
Rattus Norvegicus
(United Artists, 1977)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Sometimes // 2 – Goodbye Toulouse // 3 – London Lady // 4 – Princess of the Streets // 5 – Hanging Around // 6 – Peaches // 7 – (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) // 8 – Ugly // 9 – Down in the Sewer

Legendary new wave rockers The Stranglers may have sneaked their way into the punk rock scene. Yet, their musicianship was obviously superior to most of even the greatest of punk bands of the time. Their successful debut LP is them at their most aggressive and controversial, beginning with the satirical “Peaches,” which has one heck of a groove. Dave Greenfield on the keyboard is the secret ingredient to the band’s style and sets them considerably apart from the rest.

Joao Gilberto
O Amor, o Sorriso e a Flor
(Odeon, 1960)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Samba de uma nota só // 2 – Doralice // 3 – Só em teus bracos // 4 – Trevo de quatro folhas // 5 – Se é tarde, me perdoa // 6 – Um abraco no Bonfá // 7 – Meditacao // 8 – O pato // 9 – Corcovado // 10 – Discussao // 11 – Amor certinho // 12 – Outra vez

Chega de Saudade introduced the Bossa to the world; this album established its creative essence and soul. This program of brief songs, which would be expanded with later recordings, gives the LP the quality of a notepad. Together with the sophisticated yet more raw arrangements, it represents the exciting explosion of ideas of this period, the reverberation of which would soon be felt all over the world.

Bebel Gilberto
Agora
(PIAS, 2020)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Tao bom // 2 – Agora // 3 – Cliché // 4 – Bolero // 5 – Essence // 6 – Na cara // 7 – Deixa // 8 – Raio // 9 – Yet Another Love Song // 10 – O que nao foi dito // 11 – Teletransportador

A beautiful album that is hard to categorize. Bebel Gilberto sounds like a siren, singing over a dreamlike, distant soundscape, which occasionally carries a psychedelic quality. The best tracks, including “Agora,” are totally immersive.

Lauren Desberg
Out for Delivery
(self-released, 2019)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – The Way You Feel Inside // 2 – Yes Unless // 3 – Come With Me // 4 – Something Wrong With Me // 5 – Hold On // 6 – Falling Dominoes // 7 – Alone (In Love) // 8 – I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter // 9 – Start Out Again // 10 – The Sweetest Sounds // 11 – How Could I Have Pain // 12 – The Choice

Enjoyable fusion of jazz, bossa and pop via a program of songs and sporadic, shorter interludes. “The Way You Feel Inside” and “Something Wrong With Me” are great singles. The rest of the album may be of lower ingeniousness but still benefits from some noteworthy arrangements.

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