Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Tom Zé: Lìngua Brasileira [Selo Sesc, 2022]
This unexpected album by my favorite Brazilian genius comprises songs written over several years for a theater piece that deconstructs a Brazilian Portuguese it means to tell the world was always inflected by Ugandan Kimbundu, which long ago bent the language's New World variant toward vowels rather than the consonants that render European Portuguese so guttural and mean. Augmenting aptly well-lubricated lead vocals with a chorus less femme than his fans have gotten used to, the 85-year-old projects good-humored vernacularity throughout, and as usual the tunes are as welcome as reals from heaven. Lyrics are less easy to come by for us non-Lusophones, a detriment in theater music. But I hope to find more as searching and unbowed as "Unimultiplicidade," which Google Translate tells me goes "I want the unimultiplicity where each man is alone the home of humanity." Me too and maybe you. Jair Bolsonaro, not a chance. A