Caetano Veloso has been wowing Brazilian and world listeners for five decades and is still going strong. Along with Gilberto Gil, Veloso is famous for inventing the form of music known as Tropicalia, and with his Bossa Nova sound akin to João Gilberto, he has become one of the most well known and popular singers in Brazil. But Veloso has always had a love of American songs. From Cole Porter to Irving Berlin up to songwriters of the present day, Veloso finally gets to share with America, in his first English language album, his favorites.
Veloso’s beautiful voice makes wonderment out of standards which some seem to forget are that good. “Love for Sale,” “Cry Me A River” (not JT’s version), “Nature Boy” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” are just some examples of what songs become even better thanks to Veloso. But he doesn’t stop there. Some of the standout tracks are not considered standards including Talking Heads’ “Nothing But Flowers,” Stevie Wonder’s “If It’s Magic,” Bob Dylan’s “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” and the terrifically redone “Come As You Are” by Nirvana. It has to be head to be believed.
The frantic Arto Lindsay song “Detached” is one of the few missteps on the album, but never distracts from the work as a whole. Veloso here is unafraid, able to take songs and not have to change gender (“The Man I Love”), and to try experimental and modern songs without looking back. Caetano Veloso’s voice is a treasure to listen to and this album is repeatedly listenable, beautiful and wondrous.
Johnny Cash- The American series
Stan Getz & João Gilberto- Getz/Gilberto
João Gilberto & Antonio Carlos Jobim- Gilberto & Jobim