Gal Costa
Gal Costa


4.5
superb

Review

by © USER (27 Reviews)
November 20th, 2017 | 12 replies


Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Uma mistura deslumbrante de bossa nova e pop psicodélico.

No genre is closer to heart of Brazil’s culture than samba. Taking influence from both Portuguese and various African styles of music, samba is a blend of most of the cultures that inhabited Brazil in the early 1900s. In the 1950s, the influence of American jazz eventually reached Brazil and combined with samba to create bossa nova. In the 1960s, American influence, this time in the form of psychedelic pop, combined with bossa nova to create tropicália. With a style that flaunts Portuguese, African, and American styles of music, Gal Costa’s debut (named after herself,) is a gorgeous, and daring adventure of a record.

Gal Costa is by no means a singer/songwriter. All 12 songs were written by other people, most of which were originally performed by other artists within the tropicália scene. For this reason, the lyrics don’t really reflect Costa’s personal feelings or views. Most of the lyrics only serve as something to give Costa something to sing along to. This means, that while 11 out of 12 tracks are primarily in Portuguese, understanding the lyrics is irrelevant to being able to enjoy the album. The album in general has a considerably large focus on her voice. Her voice is sweet, simple, and melodic for most of the tracks, however, she will occasionally passionately shout like on the track “Divino, Maravilhoso.” Despite not writing a single lyric, her personality shines throughout the course of the album. She’s a woman who feels strong emotions and she isn’t afraid to show it.

Musically, the album is tropicália at its poppiest. Harsh psychedelic soundscapes, made by keyboards, only appear in small spurts, and nothing is overbearing or unpleasant. The musical focus on Gal Costa’s self-titled album is to be as beautiful as psychedelic pop can be. Maybe this is why musical arranger, Gilberto Gil, added so many orchestral string sections to the album. On the album’s highlights, the strings are often a force to be reckoned with. Opener “Não Identificado,” uses violins to progress the song into each of its sections, while “Baby” used them to accent Costa’s emotion during the chorus. Some tracks use saxophone and flute in the same manner, but it’s less common. These instruments work together to give the album its psychedelic pop texture.

When it comes to the rock instruments on the album, the guitars are very strong and passionate –doing their best to match Costa’s expressive voice. Some of the more upbeat songs use electric guitar, but most tracks opt for acoustic. Percussion wise, the album will switch between bongos and a drum set, both of which are mostly there to keep the beat and not much else. The bass guitar is audible, but like the drums, is mostly there to hold the song together rather than shine on its own. Mostly, these instruments are here to give the album a pop jazz flavor to aid the orchestral instrument’s psychedelic pop.

If there are any flaws to Gal Costa’s debut, it could be that all of the highlights are all either toward the beginning or toward the end, leaving the middle to seem a little weak in comparison. However, no track on here is bad, just less memorable, (although “Saudosismo” still fails to make a huge impression on me.) To anyone who likes psychedelic pop and speaks Portuguese, or to anyone who doesn’t mind their psychedelic pop being in a language they don’t understand –Gal Costa’s self-titled is entirely worth your while.

Album highlights: “Não Identificado”, “Sebastiana “, “Baby”, “Que Pena (Ele Já Não Gosta Mais de Mim)”



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user ratings (36)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ArsMoriendi
November 20th 2017


26218 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

First review on Sput in over a year. Don't kill me.

Digging: Holly Herndon - PROTO

sixdegrees
November 20th 2017


6002 Comments


can you translate the summary

SandwichBubble
November 20th 2017


9611 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@sixdegrees "A breathtaking blend of bossa nova and psych pop"



nice one ars (:

sixdegrees
November 20th 2017


6002 Comments


thanks for the translation ars, really helpful in interpreting the review for the ape-brained monolingual english speakers among us

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
November 20th 2017


18626 Comments


o yeah

i'm feeling the creativity tonight tbh (have another rev ready to go, fuck the one-a-day rule rn)

Digging: Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson - Bridges

hal1ax
November 20th 2017


13618 Comments


mi gusta ????

si???

sixdegrees
November 20th 2017


6002 Comments


just looked it up, apparently this singer is from Brazil

might explain a thing or two

Papa Universe
November 20th 2017


21036 Comments


So we finally got a review for this. At last...

Digging: Rammstein - Rammstein

ArsMoriendi
November 20th 2017


26218 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Yeah I've been wanting to talk about this album on it's own thread for a while



And damn a ghost neg... I guess that's to expected on my reviews

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
November 21st 2017


2876 Comments


Not a bad review Ars, have a pos. I do think it should be "No genre is closer to the heart of Brazil’s culture than samb", however, and you could make criticism/analysis more of a focus than description itself. While your descriptions were well-written and quite vivid, there are several things you could have expanded on regarding what makes the album good or bad: why Saudosismo fails to make a huge impression on you, for instance, or in placing a greater focus on how some of the instruments fail to shine as much as they could. That said, this was a very, very informative piece, and I hope you find the time to write some more on here soon. [:

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ArsMoriendi
November 21st 2017


26218 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thank you for the criticism, I may edit it at some point a little later to reflect your points

Zig
November 26th 2017


1749 Comments


Review muito boa, Ars. ppp-pos'itivo
You may wanna check Novos Baianos' Acabou Chorare.

Digging: Gabor Szabo - Dreams



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