Novos Baianos

Novos Baianos

A great Brazilian album – the best, according to Rolling Stone

Say what you will about Rolling Stone Magazine lists, when a group is on the top spot they are probably there for a reason. The usual suspects compete for the top places on lists like best song, best rock band and best album: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan. But what about the 100 Greatest Albums of Brazilian Music?

The album Acabou Chorare by Novos Baianos claimed this position in 2007. This 10-track album was released back in 1972. It’s mostly acoustic, a mix of samba, bossa nova and rock. It’s one of the best introductions to the large body of popular Brazilian music from the late '60s and '70s when samba musicians got into rock groups like the Beatles and created the tropicalia movement, also known as MBP (Brazilian popular music). Another forerunner was Os Mutates, who are still active today.

Acabou Chorare is Novos Baianos’ most famous album and it features two of the group’s most loved songs, "Brasil Pandeiro" and Preta, Pretinha,” great sing-alongs if you only understood the words. Like the rest of the songs on the album, these two hits have a tight groove and a nice loud/soft dynamic, changing gears from gentle singing and acoustic guitar to the full-on band, including electric bass and waves of percussion.

It reminds me a lot of the Violent Femmes’ first album: acoustic, super tight and full of fast-tempos, melodies and hooks. The similarity isn’t only musical; both albums capture the feeling of adolescence at a specific time – for the Femmes it was angst, and for Novos Baianos it was saudade, a Portuguese word meaning longing, or sadness.

The specific time was back in the eighties or seventies, respectively, but the music remains timeless. Both albums will be listened to by many generations to come.