I’m continuing with more tropicalismo because it is one of the larger influences for many of the naturalismo artists. Tropicalismo isn’t so much a genre that you dabble with a few artists and move on, it swallows you whole and you regain consciousness several months later. I recall an old interview with Beck where he mentions that he listened to it exclusively for years, it’s entirely understandable. Caetano Veloso is not only one of the best songwriters to come out of the tropicalismo movement, he’s also one of the greatest songwriters of all time. His voice combines so strongly with his beautiful and colorful melodies that it’s enough to make you forget that you have no idea what he is singing about with his soft Portuguese vocals . I’ve never understood an artist better though, without knowing the culture and society he was surrounded with while writing, it’s still easy to understand precisely what was going on after listening to any of his music. I’ve selected three tracks that I feel showcase his best work, before his exile and melancholy clouded his hopeful inclinations for years.
The first two are from his self titled 1967 album:
The song that started it all… Caetano Veloso – Tropicália
Some background on the song:
“Tropicália,” the title track, was an unnamed song when its recording began. By suggestion of the then photographer Luís Carlos Barreto, Veloso used the same name of an installation by the visual artist Hélio Oiticica, which was composed by a labyrinth made with plants and birds conducing to a television set. ”
The last track is from his 1969 self-titled album: