Let me preface this review by saying that I did not understand a single word of this album.
Actually, that’s a lie. I understood about every twentieth word – those that have similar Spanish or English counterparts as well as one song, a cover of Lieber & Stoller’s “Don’t,” that is performed entirely in English.
This, however, did not prevent me from thoroughly enjoying Cru, the second album from the samba/funk/pop Brazilian singer/actor named Seu Jorge who, for the most part, sings in Portuguese. Cru is Jorge’s follow-up to his amazing 2001 release, Samba Esporte Fino (released outside Brazil as Carolina), a seamless blend of samba and funk that was ridiculously catchy. Jorge heads in a completely different direction with Cru, adopting an acoustic bossa style that’s more similar to his work for the soundtrack to Wes Anderson’s 2004 film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
Leading off are a couple of funky cuts, “Tive Razao” and “Mania de Peitao,” the latter of which is a commentary on the rising popularity of breast implants and the image-obsessed culture surrounding it. It has the samba style of his previous work, with the acoustic sound that prevents it from sounding out of place. Jorge’s ability to sing with such emotion complements the song’s driving rhythms and makes it the best on the album. Over the course of Cru, a decidedly smoother sound takes over, and Jorge turns into a crooner. “Sao Gonca” is perfect to listen to in a mellow setting, and “Bem Querer” infuses elements of trip-hop that add yet another dimension to the album.
Including the beautifully done cover of “Don’t,” a song that was originally made famous by Elvis, the album has two covers. Jorge adds his brand of soul to “Don’t” and sings it better than most American artists would. But his version of Serge Gainsbourgh’s “Chatterton” is the album’s only real slip-up. It sounds nothing like the rest of Cru and seems incomplete.
Still, Cru is a reaffirmation of Jorge’s immense talent, and it also shows his depth and growth as a musician. This album is a success in every aspect.
“Don’t” MP3 sample