LA BIEN QUERIDA: Release “Fuego”, their fifth album
Every time we begin to listen to a new LA BIEN QUERIDA album, we are faced with the question of what we are going to find this time, because we know that it’s going to be something completely new and different from what we have heard up to now. The title of this new release is “Fuego” (fire, in Spanish), which corresponds to the south, to red, to summer, to the heart - the fire of passion, of love and hate, the fire of the spirit and intuition.
It was difficult to think about this album after the masterpiece that was “Premeditación, Nocturnidad Y Alevosía”. But the creative universe of LA BIEN QUERIDA is immense and is used to having to outdo itself, handling a wide range of references and enjoying the process of erasing musical and lyrical limits. And “Fuego” is a kind of self-reconfiguration, a rediscovery, because musically there is a bit of everything we already know, but transgressed: the purity and insolence of “Romancero”, the Latin and tropical fusion of “Fiesta”, the electronic force of “Ceremonia” and the mournful darkness of “Premeditación, Nocturnidad Y Alevosía”. This is all represented on the incredible album cover photo by Pablo Zamora,with the artistic direction of Pepe Leal and most of all an idea from Ana herself based on the “Things Organized Neatly” movement. The photo shows her surrounded by instruments, pencils, paintbrushes, albums, and everything that has led to the creation of her own universe.
Ana explains it so well: “The melancholy that seeps out of my songs always includes a positive side that has allowed me to rely heavily on life, and this album more than ever shows that positive side. I have tried to see the bright side, the glass half-full. This album talks about the desire that defends life, pleasure self-fulfillment, freedom. The process of living through our desires, which are not dark or confusing but light and clear”.
It is difficult to talk about this album without stopping to point out each song, and the countless collaborations. “Fuego” opens with “Dinamita”, putting all the cards on the table. Musically, the first thing we hear is Jordi Montero’s strings, maintaining a perfect balance between Mozarabic influences and the lyrical/dreamlike. “And I feel as if my whole life had been leading to this exact moment”. We dive in headfirst, take a deep breath and go under. This is the first of the four songs Laura Antolín (DOBLE PLETINA) plays bass on. Melancholy and something of the crooner spirit of Scott Walker and Dusty Springfield, elegance and emotions running high. “7 Días Juntos” closes the first of the four sides of this double vinyl. It tells the story of a brief, burning love that is star-crossed and pleasant, between cumbia and dub, to the beat of the synthesizer and the neon lights of a Chinese restaurant: pure Hot Latin Dub. The line “You wanted to have fun and I wanted to love you”, could perfectly describe the disappointment, the unease that leads to the end of the story. An ending, by the way, sung by Joan Miquel Oliver, with a translation of his song “Dins Un Avió De Paper”, which fits this song like a glove. This new assembly of pieces is done with surprising and exciting expertise by David Rodríguez.
“Lo Veo Posible” is a song based on the love affair between the poet Pedro Salinas and the American professor Katherine Whitmore. “Permanentemente” reminds us of those electronic pop groups we so deeply admired, like FAMILY, OMD, and ASTRUD. Accompanied by the backing vocals of Luciana Della Villa (SVPER), Ana and David take us to a precious song of pure pop, with one of those choruses that you can’t stop humming once you hear it. The first of the two vinyls on this Double-LP closes with “Peor Que Las Demás”, which takes DEPECHE MODE for a walk this time. The malice that was shown off before, on a song that is as turbulent and dark as the lyrics, “Sometimes we don’t do what we want, so that nobody knows what we want to do”.
“Recompensarte” holds a place of honor on this album. It’s a playful rumba, precious and moving, that includes no less than a duet with J (LOS PLANETAS), the flamenco cheers and clapping of Muchachito, the Spanish guitars of the master Alejandro Martínez (KLAUS & KINSKI), the electronic details of Sergio Pérez (SVPER), the bass of Ramón Vagué andof course the production of David Rodríguez. This is a unique piece that goes down directly in the annals of Spanish pop, somewhere between María Jiménez, Peret and LAS GRECAS, though Ana wrote it with inspiration from THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN song “Sometimes Always”, sung with Hope Sandoval (MAZZY STAR). “Si Me Quieres A Mí” is pure electronic pop, forceful and danceable, with a positive and ironic spirit along the lines of Franco Battiato and a bit of acid. “La Pieza Que Me Falta” turns the lights down again, with echoes of dub and evocations of Lana del Rey, and point-blank tosses out something that makes your hair stand on end – “You are a danger to me but I’m poison ivy and when you touch me I feel a powerful energy”. Solid proof of that fire that burns behind the songs on this album.
“El Lado Bueno” opens the final side of the album, raising the pop spirit to the highest levels again, but with a surprising break from a synthesizer that reminds us of STROMAE, and arrangements that would delight Peter Hook. Another fascinating, euphoric, slippery, stroke of genius. “Fuerza Mayor” is a small piece of confessional folk music led by the guitar of Manuel Cabezalí (HAVALINA) – sensitive and delicious. And if “Fuerza Mayor” was one of the first songs Ana let us hear, “Los Jardines De Marzo”, the song responsible for closing the album, is the most recently written song by LA BIEN QUERIDA; a mid-tempo with a universal calling, marked by the keyboards of Sebastian Litmanovich (CINEPLEXX) and more words to remember: “Everyone was looking for something once / And didn’t find it / And I who was always looking for flames with you / Now I’m burning for you like a pagan” and ends with a “And let’s see how we work this out since it’s about time to be by your side / And each day I’m more sure that we were born to find each other”. The sacred fire of guilty desires, incomprehensible feelings, of the irrational and the vital. The fire that burns in every note of this album, determined to never burn out. “Fuego” feels like a moment of reflection, of acceptance and reconfiguration, an infinite, limitless look ahead. This is a new step in a journey toward making Ana Fernández-Villaverde’s songs the journey of our lives, told through emotions and feelings.
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