Consumer Guide Reviews:
A Foreign Sound [Nonesuch, 2004]
Ce [Nonesuch, 2006]
Subjects for Further Research [1980s]: The most credible explanation of why this soft-sung João Gilberto acolyte has more art-pop cachet than middlebrow icon Milton Nascimento or pop-r&b genius Gilberto Gil compares Veloso to Andy Warhol: supposedly he puts a lovingly ironic twist (you know, minor chords) on the sappy melodiousness of Brazilian music. No doubt it helps if you know the native language of this certified left-internationalist pop intellectual--the title song of 1989's Arto Lindsay-produced Estrangeiro (translations provided, and definitely where any American should begin) adduces Gauguin, Levi-Strauss, and Cole Porter in the first three lines. To me he just sounds soft-sung and sappily melodious. Guess I'm just wrong.
Subjects for Further Research [1990s]: I only gained respect for the Kurt-Weill-X-Bing-Crosby of tropicália artsong in the '90s, especially admiring 1999's Bahiabeat-cum-jungle (as in techno, not the Amazon) Livro and the irrepressible Gilberto Gil collaboration Tropicália 2. But the latter record belongs to Gil, the only Brazilian musician save the avant-unique Tom Zé striking enough to carry an Anglophone provincial past his or her Portuguese. I really don't understand how non-Lusophones can wax ecstatic over a songpoet whose words they know from a trot--which, let me add, may not be as poetic as one dreams. So if some polyglot wanted to call him the greatest popular musician of our era, I wouldn't be inclined to argue. I'd just shrug.