Legião Urbana

Legiao Urbana, Vol. 1

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Legião Urbana was arguably Brazil's most successful pop/rock group of the 1980s, but their eponymous first album is a rather tentative, audibly restrained affair. Like many young bands, early on they clearly lacked the confidence to assert their opinions over those of their record company, and the resulting compromises unfortunately dampened what could have been a far more potent album. With their aggressive and poetic lyrics, early classics like "Será," "Petróleo do Futuro," and "Baader-Meinhof Blues" already showed the word-playing guts that would make singer and lyricist Renato Russo the spokesman of choice for masses of disenchanted young Brazilians; but their revolutionary impact was also somewhat diffused by the album's rather tame production. Shoving cold, ascetic synths and drum machines into the likes of "A Dança" and "Por Enquanto" was, in retrospect, simply a stupid producer's idea, but the bandmembers have only themselves to blame for the half-hearted, white-boy ska that is The Police-inspired "O Reggae." On the flipside, the beautifully heartwrenching "Ainda é Cedo" is unquestionably the band's first unmitigated triumph. Although it, and to a lesser degree the nearly as perfect "Soldados," is 95 percent indebted to U2's "New Year's Day" for inspiration, that doesn't stop them from being stone-cold classics in their own right. And with its keen and humorous observations of the definitive break between Brazil's pre- and post-dictatorship generations, "Geração Coca-Cola" helped establish Legião Urbana as reigning champions of the latter. This budding relationship between band and audience would continue to escalate with every Legião Urbana release that followed.

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