Daily Archives: May 5, 2009

109. Buena Vista Social Club – “Buena Vista Social Club”.

I, like so many people fell in love with this bunch of haggard old Cubans through the stunning Wim Wenders doco of the same name.

buena-vista-social-club-album-coverThe film was a beautiful insight into the joy of music and the staying power of some ancient troubadours.

This album has been played to death around my place (as well as in many, many cafés around town). It’s been ages since I’ve seen the film (although I’m sure we own it on DVD). As such, I only vaguely remember what the subtitles to the tunes revealed. I seem to recall one was about being on fire(?).

That’s a bit academic anyway. The main point of the album is that it showcases a music that was pretty unfamiliar to me before the film. It’s a music that is sensuous and warm and heartfelt.

The various voices on here are all honey-smooth. The piano is delicate. The finger-picking flamenco-style guitar is light. The rhythms are subtle but hypnotic.

This is perfect dining music, lounging music and waltzing music.

Even the front cover is cool – Ibrahim Ferrer is a dude of the highest order – as is Ry Cooder for heading to Havana to record this time capsule and revitalise the various Clubbers’ careers.

In case you’ve been living in a cave for the past decade, here’s a clip of what you’ve been missing out on:

File under: Buena Música

108. The Brunettes – “Mars Loves Venus”

Bubblegum pop carries that name for several reasons (I presume).

brunettes-mars-loves-venus-the-album-coverIt is music targeted at slack jawed teens (okay maybe not that reason). It is sugary sweet, light as air, frivolous. It is transient, but it is also sticky.

Listening to such music should leave one a little dizzy (think sugar rush), and also with melodies and lyrics stuck in one’s head like barnacles (now there’s an ugly piece of imagery).

This second effort from NZ’s poppiest looped in my office all day yesterday. Yet when running home I was not haunted by any of the twelve tracks herein, but rather a chorus from their debut.

Me thinks the band has lost some of their mojo. The music has become over-orchestrated, with the vocals less breathy and up front in the mix. The pace has slowed somewhat. It doesn’t help that the guy in the band has started singing more. Despite his Jonathan Richman-like stylings (e.g.Record Store), it doesn’t quite gel with the layered sounds.

There are glimmers of gold. These Things Take Time is cute, as is the title track. But it could all be some much more…

File under: The bubble bursts (or at least deflates)