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Caetano Veloso: Estrangeiro

Album Notes

Additional personnel: Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, Arto Lindsay (guitar); Peter Scherer (keyboards); Nana Vasconcelos (percussion).

Though notably different in sound from his 1960s, '70s, and early-'80s work, 1989's ESTRANGEIRO still features many elements that listeners have come to expect from Caetano Veloso. Here the artist's Brazilian dance rhythms and intimate, Joao Gilberto-influenced bossa nova vibes are no longer spliced bit-by-bit across tracks, but are melded seamlessly into a unique, cross-genre concoction. ESTRANGEIRO is Veloso's first American release, and the intensity and sophistication of his music is heightened by a sophisticated, shiny avant-pop production, courtesy of the Ambitious Lovers, Arto Lindsay and Peter Scherer.

Fans of earlier albums may raise an eyebrow at the synth-heavy gloss here, but this cannot overshadow Veloso's powers as a songwriter, which are stronger than ever. In particular, the lyrics on ESTRANGEIRO deserve special mention: Veloso's facility with associative wordplay can turn surreal ("O Estrangeiro") or spare and imagistic ("Rai das Cores"). Likewise, the music moves from gentle ballads ("Etc.") to Middle-Eastern pulses ("Jasper"), incorporating flourishes of rock, samba, and jazz along the way. Lindsay, Scherer, Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot, Nana Vasconcelos, and others lend musical support to this exceptional, highly recommended outing.


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