Caetano Veloso

CÊ | Nonesuch
By BANNING EYRE  |  March 12, 2007
4.0 4.0 Stars
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Caetano Veloso is Brazil’s Bob Dylan, Burt Bacharach, and Paul Simon all rolled into one. A poet, a crooner, and a restless chameleon of experimental self-reinvention, he stays fresh as the decades roll on. Here, with his first album of original songs in some years, he trades in orchestras and drum troupes for a spare four-piece rock combo, with support musicians young enough to be his kids. The result is a brilliant shot of Veloso the pop composer, a man who can roll shimmering, bossa nova–tamed vocals together with pumped, even punky, guitar vamps and dreamlike angst poetry about the aging of sexual passions and tie it all up with a catchy little hummable hook. From the spiky, pumped vamp of “Outro” (“Other”) to the slowly pendulous, keyboard-based confession “Não me arrependo” (“I Don’t Regret”) to the wah-wah samba funk of “Musa Hibrida” (“Hybrid Muse”), there are no false moves here. The contrast of Veloso’s polished, mannerly vocals and Pedro Sá’s edgy electric-guitar solos works every time. Because even as Veloso riffs on his rock-and-roll-tinged tropicália roots, he preserves the dignity and elegant sophistication of the old master that he is.
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