Tom Zé

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There are no dates given in the liner notes (in fact there are no liner notes, even in Portuguese), but an educated guess would date the songs on this compilation to the 1960s, perhaps some stretching into the 1970s. Ze has a very hip reputation as an experimental Tropicalista, and perhaps this material entirely predates his experimental phase, but it's not very out there. Indeed it's pretty pop-based, with pleasant but not brilliant bossa nova melodies and arrangements that tap into various forms of pop and rock. The singing is often sentimental, and the phrasing and tunes sometimes sappy; the production is a bit thin on occasion as well. There are some hints of daring at moments, like the fuzzy guitars of the Caetano Veloso-penned "Irene" or the dense garage-psychedelic organ of "A Gravata," but these are the exception, not the rule. All this is not to say that the album is entirely without merit. There's a place for easygoing Brazilian pop; this just doesn't live up to the expectation engendered by some of Ze's media coverage in the U.S. Fans of the Brazilian cult rock group Os Mutantes should note that one cut, "Qualquer Bobagem," was co-written by them and Ze.

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