The album features musicians such as Oscar-winning multi-instrumentalist Gustavo Santaolalla, Brazilian power trio Nação Zumbi, Argentinean tango group Café de los Maestros, & a duet with Rodrigo Amarante of the Brazilian-American super group Little Joy
Marisa Monte, after a six year hiatus, returns with O Que Voce Quer Saber De Verdade. Despite having not being able to understand a word on the album I ran with the motto, “Music is the universal language” and wrote up my thoughts on what I’d heard. So how did it sound?
For an album that comes to us from Brazil I kept feeling like I’ve heard a few of these songs before, only in English. There is a faint trace of familiarity to them that had been bugging me when certain songs would come on, but it was only a faint trace of recognition before the song would go off on its own. With that being said there is a lot of the album that takes a turn for conventional pop radio, most of it very soothing and perfect for lite radio. Marisa Monte’s voice is very beautiful and floats along each song with a soft touch that is sensual in a Jazz-like perspective. The album definitely makes for one of those end of the day relaxation mood setters.
Monte collaborates with quite a few musicians on the album which I think really helped me, someone who didn’t understand one word on the album, to embrace the complete spectrum of sound the album had to offer. Compared to say Rose & Charcoal though, O Que Voce Quer Saber De Verdade seems like Monte is taking a bit of a step back. Still there were quite a few stand out tracks on the album that outshone the few that I felt were more filler and didn‘t exactly work with the album. Track 2, Descalço no parque is a rich track that sounds traditional with a Jazz flavor to it and Monte sounding a bit more comfortable and free flying then on a lot of the other tracks on the album. Her collaboration with Rodrigo Amarante on Descalço no parque is a beautiful tune that I thought was great with Nada Tudo following up with an Italian flare to it. Lencinho querido (el panuelito) and Ainda Bem are two back to back tracks that sound like they’d fit perfectly in a Western film and invoked in my mind all kinds of images of the old west and the many Westerns I’ve seen. Lencinho querido (el panuelito) sounds like a love song between two strangers who have passionately embraced one another on a dance floor in some run down old saloon and Ainda Bem the song leading up to the duel between the hero and the villain. I can see the villain riding up to the town on a slow trotting horse and the hero unconvinced by the woman who loves him to leave town getting himself ready for the fight. When a song can put images into your mind like that you know the artist has done something right. Finally Seja feliz closes out the album, at least for me, with a celebratory sounding tune that is both energetic and danceable. Unfortunately, despite Monte sounding great on the rest of the album, I thought the rest of the tracks were fluff for the casual listener. As always final judgment is yours. Enjoy.