*DRACO ROSA — MAD LOVE LUXE LP (Album Recap)

The partnership between Draco Rosa and Bob Ludwig continues with this double LP remastered edition of the highly successful 2004 album Mad Love. This is the second collaboration between Ludwig and Draco. Bob Ludwig also did the 2018 remastered version of Vagabundo.

Mad Love is an album that I continuously revisit multiple times a year. And truth be told, this is not merely an album that I like or enjoy; it is an album that I love — It defined an era of my personal life that I often look back with longing, nostalgia, and lots of fondness.

I bought Mad Love on CD back in 2004, the same week of its release at the now-defunct Borders Books & Music store in Baileys Crossroads, Virginia. It knocked my socks off almost immediately upon listening to it for the first time — it has been 16 years since that fateful evening in May of ’04 when browsing through the new release CD bins I happen to find Mad Love just sitting there waiting for me — I bought it, rushed home to play it, and fell in love with the entire album.

Even after all these years, this album still comes across as a passionate musical masterpiece. Draco was inspired by Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew (1970), an epic record that blended Rock and Jazz beautifully. Draco stated that he drove up and down the West Coast of the United States listening to Bitches Brew as he prepared to record Mad Love, and it is beyond noticeable the influence of Bitches Brew as you listen to Mad Love.

The critics gave it positive and glowing reviews when it came out. But it wasn’t the gringo crossover hit that it should’ve been. It was a massive hit in Latin America, and it was pretty successful in Europe as well. However, in the United States, it was categorized and considered as a Latin album, never mind that the album had only 3 songs in Spanish and 13 songs in English. Music media outlets boxed this album in as a non-English album; A complete travesty. Mad Love was the farthest thing from a conventional Latin album, especially when you look back to the kind of music coming out in those days in the Spanish language market. The music videos from Mad Love were excellent, but they got zero airplay on MTV or VHI. In those days, MTV and VHI were still playing music videos regularly and had not become what they are now. Music has changed a lot since then.

Maybe the record label (Sony) did not feel the need to promote this album as a mainstream release. I don’t know what really went down or how they viewed the marketability of this record. Still, the fact remains that this album was poorly promoted and poorly marketed when it was initially released back in 2004.

I’m assuming that everyone who would be reading this blog knows already that Draco Rosa wrote most of Ricky Martin hits like; Livin’ la Vida Loca, Maria, the cup of life, She Bangs, etc. So it is clear that Draco can write pop hits for himself if he wanted to but chooses not to pursue that route. Instead, he has focused on creating meaningful and profound music. There is a peculiar edginess to Dracos’ music that you can’t find anywhere else in Spanish language music. Whether that edge comes from deep personal emotions or willingness to be vulnerable, or perhaps Draco merely explores new avenues of musical expression. The fact remains that there are only a handful of Spanish language musicians out there who can match or come close to Draco Rosa.

The first concert I attended after my mother passed away was Draco’s concert at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia, about 6 months after my mother’s death. It was for “Lo Sagrado y Lo Maldito tour.” I enjoyed the show, but I was still in bad shape emotionally and overwhelmed by grief to fully appreciate the show. It took a lot of strength for me put myself together and make the concert. It was also the last concert I attended in the DC area before moving to New York City for good.

As a rabid record collector and the analog head that I consider myself to be, I was beyond static about the possibility of having a vinyl version of Mad Love finally available. This is a gorgeous-looking LP; it is pink (Rosa), and the artwork is exquisite. I don’t mind buying a non-analog LP — especially if I’m a fan of the artist or band. There is a novelty aspect to this new resurgence of Vinyl. Mostly with regards to albums that were initially recorded digitally, released on CD, and then remastered and transferred to Vinyl. These types of re-releases are a collector’s dream.

I’m not going to go on a track-by-track breakdown of this album because it is one of those conceptual records that you just have to immerse yourself fully. And you have to allow the music’s quality to take you on a poetic, sensual, and at times turbulent musical journey, which is what listening to Mad Love is all about.

DRACO ROSA: MAD LOVE LUXE (2020)

*Christina Rosevinge-Un Hombre Rubio (Album Recap)

Christina Rosevinge lanza nuevo disco: “Un Hombre Rubio” (2018), y nosotros los amantes de la buena música se lo agradecemos profundamente. Tuve la fortuna de encontrarme con la música de Christina Rosevinge por primera vez en el 2015, fue una casualidad fortitua, ya que en esas fechas yo estaba pasando por una crisis musical de la patada, y derrepente me encuentro con “canción del eco” del album “La Joven Dolores”(2011), fue como descubrir un tesoro, y desde entonces sigo muy de cerca los discos y colaboraciones de Rosevinge.

Este disco es verdaderamente un discazo, es básicamente un homenaje a su padre, que falleció cuando Christina tenia 26 años, es un disco cargado de poesía, nostalgia, conciencia social e igualdad. Un disco muy poetico envuelto con rock/folk en español moderno pero con un toque clásico. Es uno de esos discos que mientras mas lo escuchas, mas te absorbe en su energía. Lo recomiendo muchísimo:

Track List:

1.La Flor Entre la Via: Una canción que tiene un aire de himno rebelde hacia los roles patriarcales, donde la guitarra es la verdadera protagonista de esta canción: “No soy toro, ni soy matador, Ni tornillo, el destornillador, No soy hijo de un antecesor, Soy la flor entre la vía.”

2.Romance de la Plata: Definitivamente la canción mas personal del album, completamente dirigida a la memoria de su padre. La cautivadora melodía acompañada por guitarra, batería, teclados y sintetizadores le dan un toque brillante: “La raíz que tú arrancaste No ha crecido nunca más, Nadie vino de esa tierra fría, a llorar tu funeral.”

3.El Pretendiente: Un tema donde el teclado protagoniza la intensidad melodica de esta canción: “El faro del norte perfila su tesoro, El cáliz ha abierto en par, la reina de oros.

4.Ana y los Pajaros: La primera canción del disco con una sensibilidad romántica: “Ana, me cuesta hablar de ti, Eres un pájaro en mi memoria,Oigo tu canto libre desde aquí Entre la bruma ronca de mi atril.”

5.Pesa la Palabra: Christina nos canta desde el punto de vista de un padre que nunca reconoció su paternidad: “Pasas, tocas la puerta A ver si ahora soy capaz de darte Lo que no está en mí.”

6.Niña Animal: Christina nos lleva hacia un viaje cósmico al estilo Bowie, y los espíritus aparecen entre las lineas de esta canción: “La auyentas La vuelves a invocar, Nadie sabe a quien le rezas, desde tu rincón, Solo necesito una palabra, la oración

7.Berta Multiplicada: El sonido cósmico continua en este homenaje a la activista Hondureña Berta Caceres, quien fue asesinada en el 2016: “¿A dónde irá tu alma vegetal? ¿Volverá a ser polvo interestelar? ¿O será la arboleda? Que quiebra el río en mí, ion, partículas de luz Al sucumbir bajó el hacha, como tú Aunque nada recuerde.”

8.Afonico: Vuelven los espíritus acompañados de teclados y batería: “Grito tu nombre al viento, Grito tu nombre al sol, Solo me responden otros Que gritan, no más que yo.”

9.La Piedra Angular: Una conclusion digna y serena envuelta en un vals rockero que nos invita a una interesante reflexion: “Me gusta sufrir, He perdido peso,Ya no bebo casí,El cuerpo es duro, en cambio El alma es frágil, Ahora tu fantasma discute en tu lugar.”