Cássia Eller comes from a humble past as a cook and mason's assistant. She became a success in pop music, selling about 200,000 copies of each of her albums with a strong appeal among legions of outcasts -- she struggles for respectability, as she is openly lesbian. This album, the seventh in her career, and the best to date (having been nominated in several categories for a Latin Grammy), proposes a new Cássia Eller. With her aggressive singing smoothed out in an album dedicated to love, more elaborated and sophisticated arrangements, sensual, nude photos of her in the inlay, the presence of a string section, arrangers, producers, musicians and composers from the first team of MPB, everything here suggests a wish to transform herself into the new muse of the first team of MPB. But not everything is lost. This approach may have some advantages. Sometimes, playing innocent Brazilian grooves can be more revolutionary a deed than repeating the indignation of London punk rockers. And the album enacts an approximation with the Brazilian universe.
"O Segundo Sol," the opening track, is a good pop song by Nando Reis (former husband of Marisa Monte, co-producer of this album), "Mapa do Meu Nada" by Carlinhos Brown follows, with his usual weak lyrics. "Gatas Extraordinárias" is quite recognizable as a Caetano Veloso tune, reinforcing the strong Brazilian character. "Um Vranco, um Xis, um Zero," a pop song by Marisa Monte/Arnaldo Antunes/Pepeu Gomes, talks about a former lover whose smell one doesn't forget. Pretty conventional. The "rebellious" touch can be found in the form of a a fuzzed-out guitar solo, inspired by Cássia's adoration of Kurt Cobain's sound. "O Meu Mundo Ficaria Completo" is another pop love song with disposable lyrics, but there are congas there. "Palavras ao Vento" is a pop ballad. Then there's a big surprise. "Aprendiz de Feiticeiro" (Itamar Assumpção) is a funk groove topped with an embolada-like melody, substituted by a baião melody at the bridge; Chiquinho Chagas plays an irresistible accordion, mixing the Northeastern Brazilian sonorities with American musical idioms, finishing with an unmistakable baião with comme il faut zabumbas. "Pedra Gigante" (Gilberto Gil/Bené Fonteles) brings more MPB sounds together with the crude, metallic, nasal singing of Cássia's mother (a former professional singer), Nanci Ribeiro. "Maluca" has tango overtones, keeping an eye out for Mercosul, but at the same time recalling our latinidad. Given its soft lyrics, one can't infer that it was written by Luis Capucho, an AIDS victim who didn't live long enough to make his own first album. . Not by accident, the best track of the album is by Luiz Melodia (with Renato Piau), a samba played as jazz, with brass/reed/wood/rhythm sections: "Esse Filme eu Já Vi." For the first time, Eller feels secure enough to vocally improviese along with a sax solo. If this album points to something better, it's to the trend began in the '90s in Brazilian music: a recuperation of the melodic/harmonic and improvising qualities of MPB.