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Caetano Veloso 

(Nonesuch)

While many of his contemporaries are simply reissuing their hits, 64-year-old singer Caetano Veloso stubbornly continues to push himself forward. 's stripped-down instrumentation (guitar, bass, drums) is a nice change from the larger productions of his samba and Tropicalia albums. Most of the songs are painfully honest and reflect the Brazilian's melancholia during recording. "Não Me Arrependo" ("I Have No Regrets") refers to Veloso's recent marital breakup and begins with a somber bass line that eerily follows the despair heard in his voice. The album's heaviest moment comes on "Odeio" ("I Hate"), which culminates with the refrain, "I hate you, I hate you."

There are some weak moments, however. "Homem" (which details Veloso's envy of women for their ability to experience multiple orgasms) falls flat due to the tune's weak backbeat and unimaginative melody. The song "Porquê?" fails as well; aside from the songwriting, the musicians sound uncomfortable with a jazz-fusion arrangement. But none of that mars the disc's overall quality. The sheer beauty displayed on "Waly Salomão," a hastily written tribute to a longtime friend, is gripping enough to explain why is an important addition to the Veloso canon.

Speaking of CD Review

More by Ernest Barteldes

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