Thursday, September 15, 2011

This Sergent Garcia album is NOT Worth It.

Bluffin' with his -muffin?

O Sergent Garcia, why you disappoint me so? Here's my review of his/their new album, Una y Otra Vez, at PopMatters. And here is a tantalizing tidbit:

The rest of the songs, though, are basically well-executed genre exercises with exactly zero surprises. The exceptionally detailed CD booklet lists 12 regular members of the band, all of whom sound like they’ve planned their music to within an inch of its life. Whether playing reggae, salsa, bolero, rap, or one of their invented offshoot genres, they are chivalrous, polite, and well-heeled. Solos and fills fall neatly between cracks in the melodies, most of which sound like uninspired first drafts. Even the rhythms, which you’d figure would kick, tend to simply pick one thing and do it over and over.

This is disappointing, because Garcia the lyricist obviously sees himself as anything but polite. He’s an outsider, a rebel. In fact, he is… salsamuffin. This is helpfully explained in the song “Yo Soy Salsamuffin”, where Spanish toaster Supa Bassie sums up the salsamuffin genre: “CUMbia, RAGga, DANCEHALL con SON!” And since he is salsamuffin, Garcia continues, he lives on the corner, he is Tomorrow, and he is Culture. In the French rock song “Chacun Son Combat” (“Everybody Has Their Battles”), he’s a freedom-fighter, hunting “Nazis nostalgiques” and railing against the multinationales that confuse art and money. In other songs he dreams of better tomorrows, where everyone loves and sees beyond the horizon and dances like it’s their last dance. Imagine if Theodor Adorno wrote Disney princess songs.

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