*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)

*GREEN DAY — FATHER OF ALL MOTHERFUCKERS (Album Recap)

After a 4-year recording absence, GREEN DAY is back with FATHER OF ALL MOTHERFUCKERS….This is their 13th album, and it is somewhat a weird album to describe; It is full of GREEN DAY energy; it feels more like a party rock album with some garage rock vibes; there are hints of glam, soul, and of course, punk. But at the same time, it feels like a retro type of album, with sprinkles of 50s swing to it.

I guess you can say that it is an alternative punk-pop album.

It is not an overly political album like their previous work — at first, I did not get any political vibes from it. However, after a few listening sessions, I noticed that some subtle political messages are masquerading throughout this album.

I think, FATHER OF ALL is the most upbeat album GREEN DAY has ever released; the record is 26 minutes long, the shortest album ever made by Green Day — which is great, ’cause I’m a fan of fast, under 30-minute album formats.

Billy Joel Armstrong’s voice is so unique and iconic, and it comes across sounding pretty great here. His falsettos were good — and a bold thing to attempt at this stage of his recording career. The bass and drums are always excellent on every GREEN DAY album, and they are excellent here also.

I have some theories about why this album feels a bit experimental. This was supposed to be their last album under Warner Bros, and I think they waited 4 years to release a final album to fulfilled their contract and get it over with. If that was the case, I dig it, and I applaud them. This not a bad album, but it is definitely not their best. Keeping an open mind is crucial to enjoying this album thoroughly.

FATHER OF ALL MOTHERFUCKERS is worth checking out; stream it if you can, and if you are a hardcore GREEN DAY fan, definitely get the LP.

TRACKLIST:

TRACK 1-FATHER OF ALL: First single, kick-ass track, the bass and drums are awesome

TRACK 2-FIRE, READY, AIM: Lots of piano.

TRACK 3-OH YEAH!: Is a straight-up pop-rock song

TRACK 4-MEET ME ON THE ROOF: It has a 50s swing vibe. It starts as an alt-rock song and morphed into a swing track.

TRACK 5-I WAS A TEENAGE TEENAGER: it is a catchy ballad

TRACK 6-STAB YOU IN THE HEART: It has some punk and 50s influences and some swing vibes.

TRACK 7-SUGAR YOUTH: It is the most punk song in the album…sounds like old GREEN DAY

TRACK 8-JUNKIES ON A HIGH: This is my favorite track, and it is the second-longest song in the album, could’ve been a single

TRACK 9-TAKE THE MONEY AND CRAWL: Edgy lyrics with weird sound effects

TRACK 10- GRAFFITIA: I really liked this track, and it felt like an appropriate song to bring this fun party rock album to a close.

GREEN DAY: FATHER OF ALL MOTHERFUCKERS (2020)

*Music Streaming es el Enemigo de la Buena Musica

Mis referencias musicales están muy claras y definidas, si te pones a conversar de música conmigo, inmediatamente salen Pink Floyd, The Doors, U2, Oasis, Rod Stewart, Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Roy Orbison, Bowie, The Smiths etc etc etc. Pero si nos ponemos a conversar del rock en Español, mis referencias principales son Soda Stereo, Bunbury, Mikel Erentxun, Caifanes, Jaguares, Calamaro, Draco Rosa, Los Cadillacs, La Ley, Sabina etc etc.

Para mi no existe ningún otro genero musical que exprese mejor el poder y la belleza del idioma de Cervantes que el rock en Español. En estos momentos estamos atravesando una etapa de música en Español de la mierda, todo lo que suena en la radio es basura. Vivimos en una época de consumo rápido, ya casi nadie compra discos completos, la gente escuchan música en sus teléfonos, utilizando mayormente Pandora, Spotify, incluso hasta en YouTube. En cierta forma los playlist de Spotify se están convirtiendo en algo mas importante que los discos. Pienso que la forma de consumir musica en forma streaming es temporal, en el sentido que en menos de un mes ya se olvidaron de la canción, del artista, la banda y del playlist.

El streaming esta tomando mas fuerza últimamente, especialmente por su fácil accesibilidad. Spotify por ejemplo te ofrece una subscripción similar a Netflix, con la cual puedes escuchar toda la música que gustes sin limites, y también puedes escuchar música offline. Pero la gran diferencia es que por lo menos con iTunes puedes descargar un album completo y puedes en cierta forma ser propietario de algo físico, algo que puedes convertir en un MP3 y transferir a multiples ordenadores o móviles.

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En cambio la idea de tener mi musica guardada remotamente en un cloud cibernetico me causa ansiedad. Quizás por que tengo una forma purista de consumir música. Por ejemplo el mas reciente album de U2 Songs of Experience me hubiera sido imposible escucharlo por streaming. Un disco tan esperado se disfruta mejor cuando le quitas el plástico de envoltura, lo especial que se siente al sacar el disco de su funda, de poder tenerlo en tus manos, de poder oler ese aroma a disco nuevo, y tambien poder apreciar el “Artwork” que incluyen la mayoría de los discos. El mismo día que el disco de U2 salio a la venta, yo fui a la tienda y compre el album en formato Vinilo, el cual incluye una opción para poder descargar la version MP3 con un código especial incluido en el album. Esa es una manera excelente de motivar a los fanáticos de la buena música como yo para seguir comprando discos.

Mikel-Live at RoxyLo mas preocupante para mi es que el rock en Español es uno de los géneros mas afectados por toda esta nueva forma de consumir música, por un lado lo mas positivo es que muchos artistas y bandas no muy conocidas, especialmente los del movimiento Indie en Español pueden llegar a ser apreciados un poco mejor, ya que estarían mas accesible a ser escuchados por primera vez a traves de las plataformas de streaming. Lo negativo es que esa es la única forma mas efectiva de poder escucharlos, ya que las estaciones de radio no les dan la atención necesaria, y peor aun iTunes, en su lista de “nuevos lanzamientos” solo promueven géneros urbanos, música basura sin alma, ni esencia. Si estoy buscando el nuevo disco de Carlos Ann, Christina Rosevinge o Diego Vasallo tengo que hacer un search/busqueda especifica para poder encontrarlos en iTunes.

Hay muy poca apreciación hacia los discos hechos con buena lírica, buen sonido, con instrumentos reales. Yo aprecio mucho los discos de rock con base de guitarra, no hay nada mas cautivador que un disco donde la guitarra y la batería están sonando a full, esos discos son my dificiles de olvidar, o dejar a un lado. Discos que inspiran sentimientos, sensibilidad, intensidad etc, son discos inolvidables, no solo por la música sino también por las buenas letras.

Con el paso de los años me he dado cuenta que me gusta mucho lo antiguo. Lo mío es lo analógico, el sonido de antes, los vinilos. Discos grabados como se grababan antes, preparados para escuchar en vinilos. No estoy diciendo que sean mejor, sólo que a mi parecer, a mi gusto personal suenan distinto. El formato analógico es mucho mas complejo que el digital, aunque el formato digital arregle un poco mas la calidad del sonido grabado, en cambio el vinilo te ofrece un sonido mas orgánico, mas directo, con una calidad mas nítida para el oido humano. Pero bueno, en fin, mi propósito es que muy pronto en mi casa los cajones con vinilos ocupen más espacio, que los fucking CD’s, y seguiré utilizando a Spotify  y las demas plataformas de streaming como una herramienta para encontrar, escuchar y descubrir nuevas bandas y musicos del mundo rock en Español y del rock indie.