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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lô Borges, "Lô Borges"

Lô Borges
"Lô Borges"
Yazoo (1972)

1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die

The good news for Americans and English-folk is that rock 'n' roll (and popular music in general) developed in countries that spoke the same language as us. That's why all the music you listen to is in English. Don't be so ignorant as to assume that those in "foreign" cultures weren't listening to the same influential bands that the English-speaking people of the world were. Lô Borges, a Brazilian musician, heard what bands like The Beatles and The Beach Boys were putting out and it's easy to tell based on his self-titled album if you can get past the language barrier.

Out of the two aforementioned iconic bands, I would argue that Borges is more of a Beach Boy, but an argument could easily be made in the opposite direction. I'm going to start with what the multi-instrumentalist learned from The Beatles.

Perhaps it was a hint when I referred to Borges as a multi-instrumentalist. Just like McCartney, Lennon and Harrison, Borges would get bored if he played one style constantly. He plays happy-go-lucky pop numbers ("Aos Barões") and slow ballads ("Se Você Pensa") in old-fashioned Beatles style. He touches on the psychedelia of middle-Beatles ("Voce Fica Melhor Assim"). Just like how the British band would bring in unusual instruments if things were getting too uniform, Borges adds random accompaniment such as an organ or a harpsichord. That's not to say he's forgotten where he came from. "Nao Foi Nada" has the percussion, panpipes and chimes necessary to make it a Brazilian samba.

A quality he shares with both (later) Beatles and Beach Boys is the preference for dense instrumental backgrounds. Nearly every song features two guitars, sometimes two acoustic and sometimes one of each, playing separate parts. Two guitars playing the same thing is louder, but the distinct guitar movements add to the complexity of the songs and serve as testament to Borges songwriting ability. There's a feeling of Ronnie Specter's "wall of sound" approach in even the quietest of songs, such as "Face Seu Jogo."

The Beatles were ambitious and they weren't afraid to push a song to its temporal limits. That's just fine, but Brian Wilson was always more about making the perfect pop song, not the perfect rock song. That's why songs like "God Only Knows" are only 2:51; because it only takes that long to make its point effectively. Borges buys into the same school of thought. "Lô Borges" fits 15 tracks into just more than 28 minutes. It's not's satisfaction with the product.

I'm sure you're a fan of either the Beach Boys or The Beatles, if not both. Whichever aspect you choose to appreciate, you'll find something to appreciate about Lô Borges.

INTERESTING FACT: Minas Gerais, the home of Borges, is also acknowledged as the birthplace of Pele.

Não Se Apague Esta Noite by Lô Borges on Grooveshark

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