Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Saudade Thievery Corporation Review

The new Thievery Corporation album saudade arrived in stores today. I myself had to wander over to the local Barnes & Noble to procure the only copy they had in stock. Sure, iTunes has it. Sure, nine times out of ten I'd just download the digital album and be fine with that. This is Thievery Corporation though. Some respect of their adherence to the classical ways of making music must be acknowledged here. Grabbing a copy for a few dollars more is not a big deal. You get to hold something pretty too.

When you find yourself complaining that all current music sucks, and everything out there today is garbage, just put this on and remember that good music does exist, even today in the age of mountains of toilet trash auto-tuned MP3s that would not even pass for elevator muzak back in the day.

Saudade—it's a word that refers to a feeling of nostalgia, melancholy, or a longing, with a Portuguese or Brazilian bent. If you are not exactly sure what that might feel like, just put on the music and you will know.

For me the album sounds like something James Bond and his Brazilian female companion might hear if they wandered into a beach resort club. This would be of course just after they finished a round of passionate yet forbidden lovemaking—she would be the villain's girl and therefore doing something extremely dangerous. They were both discovered together and dove off a 4 million dollar yacht, barely escaping with their lives. They swam to shore and arrived in the club. Saudade is what's playing. Track 6, "No More Disguise" sounds right out of Sean Connery's Thunderball, or Dr. No.

Saudade is very much an album in the classic sense, both visually and acoustically. The all-female vocals stand out with a completely realized, singular, and consistent sound. The tracks, too, are not just jumbled 1-13, but are listed on the back of the CD in the classic Side A and Side B layout. This is not just throwback visual gimmickry. Thievery Corporation very much knows what they are doing and track 6, "No More Disguise" is a powerful 1/2 end to where one might flip the vinyl over. That pause is something only older people grew up knowing, before auto-reverse, then CDs, and now MP3s altered the landscape with endless tracks that can now play for weeks without stopping for a breath of air. Track 13, "Depth of My Soul" is the last achingly beautiful track on the album. It sounds like the end. It feels like the end.

Notice the big blue tear of the girl on the cover. It says saudade. She can never be with her secret lover. She can never lead the life she wishes she could. She is torn. She is sad. She is in love.

This is one subdued yet badass album!

Saudade is not fast. In fact, the back of the CD says "The quiet sound of Thievery Corporation." This is lounge music. Romance music. Long walks on the beach with your spy lover music.

Enjoy.