There is so much hype washing around this release, the record threatens to become the soundtrack for the lives of the blahnik elitists. That’s because music has become a mere appendage of the entertainment-industrial complex. The record may promise and actually provide small enjoyments for certain of those children in the Village of the Damned. Imagine the people on SSRI’s using this as mood music—envision routine bachelor pads and their ideas of smooth Latin smootch music—or even a well-insulated, well-upholstered and calm commute). They love it. For my tastes, the music and lyrics are as mild as a yuppie’s new polenta recipe; first a recitation of ingredients and then the presentation. There might be some things mixed in you might ask the name of, but it’s still your basic masa.
The compositions follow the correct structures of samba and bossa nova, those architectural features have been in place for many generations, all the stylistic requirements of lyric to make a Spanish love song have been fashioned, and the genre fits the lightweight buying habits of the affluenza. Actually, what this record represents is pretty much what Moreno’s daddy and his peers were rebelling against. They used to cannibalize cultural intrusions and spit them back out. There’s been plenty of bad Brazilian music imported to America in between. In America, they obviously believe, people just ask for more servings of any predigested tepid tapioca. I’m not missing the real magic here, because there isn’t much to speak of, but everyone else seems to love this because . . .
Because some record companies always proclaim they have the next new thing. I’m here to tell you the next new thing will not be found where they go, not on their yachts, not at the New Otani hotel nor in any villa in Tuscany, and certainly not huddled about the tables of five-star restaurants anywhere. It will not be swiped even as a purchase on their quantum cards. Nor will the next new thing ever come squiggling out of the toy pianos, glass harmonicas, or theramins of the bourgeoisie however much they wish it could.
Because the record company insists this is the next new thing. That’s just not so. They’ve said it so often in the past and have proved themselves wrong time and time again. To clarify for any hopeless trendoid who might still be awake after listening to more than three tracks in a row—Moreno Veloso and this form of overhomogenized blanda nova MPB dolloped with mild electronica I sincerely hope is not the next new thing. If it is, pass me the gin and vicodin and keep some handy for yourself.
Because there are thousands of references to Moreno Veloso + 2 on a casual Google search of the global marketplace, and most are “reviews”. I didn’t even feel sorry for the publicist who would have to print them all out for the files. The overwhelming majority of “reviews” (in the global marketplace languages of English, Spanish, Italian, German, French, and now Portuguese) directly spin the record company’s press release without benefit of quotation marks and scarce paraphrase (“Moreno Veloso is the next new thing” or “At the vanguard of next-generation Brazilian singer-songwriters”). Go ahead, read a few hundred of those and be persuaded. Although many willingly digest this media-okra, I have the feeling they’re talking at me without really speaking. Of the references not “reviews” most were world music radio station play lists for the month of April. One was an interview in which the singer actually mentioned there was “still some poverty” and “some crime” in Brazil. One reviewer called him a god-like genius. In fact, he was a physicist without a job in science until he was signed to the record company.
Because such promotion is not just bandwidth hogging, but propaganda. Such behemoth electronic splayfooting is a trend, but not a musical one. Just a cheap (the internet is “free” after all) dense assault, a gross manipulation of internet resources when a record does not fit the pay-for-play (coke-whores-parties-cash) format of AM/FM radio or the favors-for-play (coke-booze-parties-cash-jobs) format of college radio. Whoever the internet-savvy organizer of this trend was no doubt celebrated in person at the Webby Awards, toasting Sputnik7’s “win” over the technocracy (coke-booze-parties-cash-jobs) before going off on a paid vacation to some broadband seminars as a snitch for the RIAA.
Because some of the “reviews” published in New York rags quoted conversations in special seating areas of trendy watering holes, repeating the faux buzz of viral marketing. Imported water companies just pay people to go sit in an upscale bar, act lively, and gush over how especially good a splash of that brand’s bottled water is in vodka. Why wouldn’t they talk to press comped into the concert? Because that is just plain tacky, like multi-level marketing approaches used on the unwary in supermarket lines.
Because “expat” bulletin boards are being defaced online. Some postings (“Have you heard the New Brazilian music of . . .”) were typed in as messages on “expat” bulletin boards by posters who existed there merely long enough to tout the record.
Because the print press reviewing Moreno Veloso are spineless flunkys all, who fall into lockstep march when told to by their betters, the Washington Post, the Miami Times, and some Palm Beach papers. And a San Francisco paper that should just know better, however much they love their friends in techie-commerce.
Because Brazil has become the musical theme park of three-day ravers and like a new Bangkok or a safer Havana for entertainment types.
Because in the quid-pro-quo of the all-business and faux social relations of the entertainment-industrial complex, a record company can’t make inroads selling their own catalog in nationalistic Brazil without some token reciprocity, like carrying one of Brazil’s own into global stardom
Because Brazil might not be accessible for further exploitation without properly placed local advocates and the public should just be forced to develop a taste for Brazil, just like they did for Cuba
Because I’m rightly suspicious of dynasties and designations of pedigree, “rightful heirs” or “inheritances” in the realm of entertainment because it ends up Mel Blank, Jr. as the new voice at Looney Tunes, the Wallflowers, and pretenders to a fictional aristocracy that is governed by celebritocracy.
Because this record is part and parcel of playing along with the monochrome corporate imagineers, just as surely as the son of Caetano and the son of Jobim link voices for a Walt Disney tune as the last cut. The theme from Snow White? Is that a secret code to slip pass the censors, like saying that Brazil is becoming a big warehouse for cocaine transshipments, or just a straight-forward reminder that the entertainment-industrial complex has decided the prince has come?
Because I regard most devotees of sequencers to be perpetual students at The Gerald McBoing Boing School of Music.
Because if you believe that Moreno Veloso (+ 2) would have been lavishly toured through New York and Miami even if he weren’t the son of Caetano Veloso, you’d believe Tinkerbell is a real fairy
Because the snappiest of the love songs only reminded me of the soundtrack for the alien seduction scene in Mars Attacks.
Because I don’t like people who say “just talk about the music” when there are some other things about the process that are deserving of attention.
Because I don’t like “world” for yuppies who look, dress, act, and think mass-think wherever they happen to live in the world.
Because if this were an extension of “Tropicalismo” (which though implied, it is not), the refrain would be “Let’s take a trip (uh huh uh huh) to Tidy Town”.
What this is: Perfect commute music for dot-commers on their way to apply for the average tech job that now has 1600 other applicants. Or for checking the dewers for nitrogen leaks at the stainless steel cryogenic chamber.
// Notes from the Road
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