Ana Carolina

N9ve

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A decade after Ana Carolina made her eponymous album debut in 1999, the MPB superstar released N9ve, a surprisingly modest album with only nine songs and less than 40 minutes of music. Relative to her previous studio album, the 24-track double-disc tour de force Dois Quartos, N9ve can't help but feel like a slight effort even though it boasts plenty of standout songs. The wide-ranging sprawl of Dois Quartos was often amazing, even if the material was uneven and at times excessive. In contrast, there's nothing superfluous or especially awe-inspiring about N9ve. It's a solid album on which a handful of collaborations stand out, above all the soulful lead single, "Entreolhares (The Way You're Looking at Me)," a bilingual duet with American R&B singer John Legend. Graced with a sweeping string arrangement, "Resta" is a tranquil duet with Italian singer/songwriter Chiara Civello, who is credited with co-writing four of the album's nine songs. The sleepy piano jazz number "Traição" is another collaboration, this one with both Esperanza Spalding and Daniel Jobim. On account of all the downtempo songs on N9ve -- practically every other track -- the livelier moments tend to be highlights, for instance the tango eletrônico of "10 Minutos (Dimmi Perché)," the electric guitar bursts of "Era," and the Gilberto Gil-penned "Torpedo." Every song counts on an album this brief, and "Tá Rindo, É" is perhaps the best of all, a light samba-funk song with horns and talk box that is perfectly sequenced just before "Entreolhares." Indeed, there are plenty of standout songs on N9ve, the entire album written by Carolina with co-writing credits for longtime collaborator Antônio Villeroy and others. Alê Siqueira produces three of the songs, and Mário Caldato and Kassin in tandem produce the six others. In spite of N9ve's considerable strengths, however, the modest ambitions of the album are a disappointment after the grandness of Dois Quartos, which found Carolina branching out in different directions and experimenting as never before with her music. With Dois Quartos, of course, critics grumbled that it would have been a better album if it had been parred down to one disc rather than two. This time, it's the fans who might find themselves grumbling about the slight offering of new material to devour, especially in the wake of all the tenth-anniversary fanfare leading up to the release of N9ve.

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