Chico Buarque

As Cidades

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AllMusic Review by

This album marked the first solo show by Chico Buarque after the Paratodos tour (1994). As always, Buarque played for full houses. Having almost only new songs (exceptions are "Chão de Esmeraldas," with Hermínio Bello de Carvalho, from Chico Buarque de Mangueira; "Assentamento," from Terra, companion for the homonymous photography book by Sebastião Salgado; and "A Ostra E O Vento"), explored with his somewhat sad voice, the album presents, nevertheless, a rich urban imagery landscape where humor and irony dwell. "Cecília," with its rich string arrangement, is an example of the latter, with the irony directed against himself -- where he expresses his envy of grandiloquent orchestral singers. Buarque's fans will charge him for almost non-existent political references, but he wisely accompanied the times, which are obviously less politicized. He even says "Hoje tem baile funk!" ("Today there is a funk party" in Carioca) The melodies in this album are the great news. Complex, hard to sing, rich, and sophisticated, they are the best evidence that Buarque knew how to adapt himself to the times, still making justice to his broad fan base. With partnerships with Hermínio Bello de Carvalho, Dominguinhos, and Guinga (this one has so strong a personal mark in his complex, dissonant melodies that one can undoubtedly point out his authorship through the sole audition of the song "Você, Você"), the samba as his main vehicle (even if in a subtle way), the violão in the forefront, and delicate orchestrations showing underneath, Chico Buarque remains Chico Buarque even when being contemporary.

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