The Freelance Mentalists.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Some Songs Bring Tears to the Eyes

"Que Baque E Esse?" Daniela Mercury featuring Marcelinho Da Lua and Lenine, 2004.

This question apparently translates to "That Crash and This?" if you believe Babelfish, which I don't. It's a song written by Lenine (pronounced Lay NEEN Ay, I think) the Brazilian hunk/poet, sung by axe-maniac lady Daniela and then L. himself, clattered up electronically by Da Lua who is some kinda teknowizzard, it's spazzy and hyper, no idea really what any of it means. I don't espeak Portuguese, or Spanish all that well either. You'd think this would preclude me deciding to give up on English-language music, but you'd be wronger than "L.A. Lakers NBA Champion 2004" t-shirt makers.

I'm over American music. English music too. Okay maybe not hip-hop, or country either, it's the same thing anyway. And I can't give up on my Gomez or Super Furry Animals, good old Circulatory System, Usher, maybe there's a few others. But mostly, I'm over it. There are some reasons for this.

One: I'm sick of us. I just am. You should be too.

Two: I'm sick of every single freaking site on the Internet reviewing every single new indie rock album or laptop curio like it's the second coming of Elvis Presley/Costello/Grbac. There was one original indie-rocker, his name was Curtis Mayfield, you can't outdo him but you should try, but you don't. All your fanbase belong to us; I'm just not capable of getting excited about the same shit everyone else is excited about, it's a deficiency in me, so there. People in general seem less interested in musical diversity than they used to be, I'm more interested in it than ever before and that was always a lot, even as a wee snot-nosed bairn beasty. Please take your death cab to visit her space majesty, I'll walk or take the bus.

Three: Nothing NOTHING speaks to me like music from Latino-America on down to Mexico, through to Central and then Sudamericano. It's the truth, I can just admit it now. It grooves harder, it swings harder, it tries harder without really trying, I'm making my stand. I suspect this has something to do with "Respect for the Ass," or "The Africa Is Real Strong Up in Here," or perhaps just "Wanting to Create New Musical Paradigms Instead of Being Terrified to Do So," or maybe it's just that I can be happier with lyrics when I don't understand them. I don't know, I don't care. Whitey, you're fine enough in your own way, but you are no longer speaking to me. Eff you right back.

So when I'm driving to work today, got this Daniela M. thing last weekend for an absurd amount of money at Borders with writing-gig cash, got it blasting on high in the miracle whip, it's samba/axe with electro steroids blasting through it. What I love about it is everything. Partially it's that it's the music of the people, full-on carnal Carnaval brags and boasts along with stuff like "Quero Ver o Mundo Sambar" which means "I Want to See the World Samba" I think, which I mean come on who wouldn't want to see that? Hips! Butts! Sweat! No more sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves, listening to other people sitting around feeling sorry for themselves--much MORE dancing around and looking meaningfully into each other's eyes and preparing to do some belo horizonte if you know what I mean and if you don't then I can't help you. Plus if you want to be sad, Portuguese is the saddest language, saudade is the saddest emotion because you're happy about being sad, Caetano Veloso says it has to do with slavery, maybe it's just fun to be the best at being sad.

BLAM this song hits me. The insane horns especially; no idea in hell or Houston if they're real or fake but they're the spazziest things ever in the history of the world, the two-step thumpy beat should be stale by now but it's not, the melody is pretty but doesn't need to take the lead, it's very futbol in that it takes its time but then speeds up just when you don't expect it. Ever seen Ronaldo or Ronaldinho shoot about three steps before anyone else has realized that they are even on the pitch? Ever read Jorge Amado, where you're juggling twentyseven characters in your mind and you love some and hate some and understand them all and it's only chapter two? Ever fallen in love?

Real tears made of water and salt are crowding my eyes. It's hard to drive but I wipe my face and move on, driving forward, driving on, avoiding any crash one way or the other. This might be my second-favorite record of the year, only thing better that I've heard has been Bersuit's La Argentinidad Al Palo, I'll review them both somewhere sometime. But I just had to tell you about this one song, about this one person, about this wide wonderful crazy insane lovely mundo. Live in it, kiss it and hug it like it was important, embrace your life, kick it like it was a soccer ball and you were open.

I'm not sure how much longer The Freelance Mentalists can continue if I'm the only one writing for it. Some other folks better step up with a giant step if they care a damn at all. But it's been fun so far, and if it doesn't last the summer at least I got this off my hairy scrawny Irish/Slovak/Swedish/Serbian chest. I love you all.
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