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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2004
Every so often - about two or three times a year, really - I buy a CD that is so absolutely near perfection that I always have it with me in my CD wallet so I can listen to it. This is one of those CDs. Frankly, this is the best CD that I have bought so far this year.

I first ran across Bebel Gilberto a few years ago after her Tanto Tempo CD. That CD was a mix of bossa nova and electronica a la Suba's Sao Paolo Confessions, due no doubt to his hand in the production of that CD. I was expecting more of the same with this CD - by no means a bad thing! - and really looked forward to buying it when it was released.

This CD, however, is not Tanto Tempo II. Rather, it has a very organic feel with acoustic guitars, strings and woodwinds; there are elements of electronica in the mix, but they are pushed considerably far into the background. Furthermore, Gilberto's vocals, which are really just...perfect, are far more front-and-center on this album.

The result is downright intoxicating. Every note is so perfectly placed, every rhythm so perfectly played and every vocal track so perfectly laid that it is impossible to find a flaw. Twelve tracks simply aren't enough for this listener; I love to play this CD over and over again for hours on end.

In the end, it is like a simple thing that adds so much. There is charm in this music; there is charm in Gilberto's voice. The album takes apart all of your defenses and leaves you open in the most wonderful way; it makes you smile while listening to it because it makes you feel that good.

If this is indicative of Gilberto's talent, world music - truly world music, not bad global dance concoctions! - has a bright, beautifully shining star in its orbit. Buy the album, get a little intoxicated on it and remember that simple things can be the most enjoyable.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Bebel Gilberto is the daughter of Brazilian bossa nova legend Joao Gilberto, and is a member of Brazil's pop music royalty. For several years in the 1980s and '90s she apprenticed as a musician while touring with her mother, the singer known as Miucha, as well as with her father and her uncle, songwriter Chico Buarque. Then, as the new century opened, Bebel became an international star in her own right with her (North American) debut album, the electronica-drenched Tanto Tempo, which knocked many folks back on their ears.

In the four years since then, Bebel has become an iconic figure in the clubby electro-bossa scene, but as remix disc piled on top of remix disc, many fans became impatient for new material. For those hoping Gilberto would delve deeper into her Brazilian roots and explore the elegance of the music that made her father a legend, this disc has exceeded all expectations. The album opens with an English-language version of Caetano Veloso's ironically bilingual lullaby-anthem, Baby, one of the standards of the early '70s tropicalia scene, and Gilberto ably teases out the song's gentle ironies, which were aimed not at this country or that, but at the very notion of cultural barriers. Gilberto's gentle version may actually prove to be the song's definitive interpretation, surpassing the Veloso original and the well-known versions by Gal Costa. From there, the album glides from one soft, stately song to another, a delicious, well measured bossa nova outing, with modulated, textured electronic ambience bringing a surprising warmth to the sound. Dance music fans will doubtless call foul, yearning for more beats and mixing -- folks who better appreciate the history of the style and the restraint that the original bossa nova pioneers brought to their art will recognize that Bebel has finally arrived as one of the fold, a master musician who can make her way in the world as she pleases. Am I gushing? Well, golly, I guess I am. That's because this is an absolutely lovely record, and the awkward moments of her last album are nowhere to be found on this one. It's a good'un... highly recommended!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Bebel Gilberto is the daughter of Brazilian bossa nova legend Joao Gilberto, and is a member of Brazil's pop music royalty. For several years in the 1980s and '90s she apprenticed as a musician while touring with her mother, the singer known as Miucha, as well as with her father and her uncle, songwriter Chico Buarque, then, as the new century opened, Bebel became an international star in her own right with her (North American) debut album, the electronica-drenched "Tanto Tempo," which knocked many folks back on their ears.
In the four years since then, Bebel has become an iconic figure in the clubby electro-bossa scene, but as remix disc piled on remix disc, many fans became impatient for new material. For those hoping Gilberto would delve deeper into her Brazilian roots and explore the elegance of the music that made her father a legend, this disc has exceeded all our expectations. The album opens with an English-language version of Caetano Veloso's ironically bilingual "Baby," one of the standards of the early '70s tropicalia scene, and Gilberto ably teases out the song's gentle ironies, which were aimed not at this country or that, but at the very notion of cultural barriers. Gilberto's version may actually prove to be the song's definitive interpretation, surpassing the Veloso original and the well-known versions by Gal Costa. From there, the album glides from one soft, stately song to another, a delicious, well measured bossa nova outing, with modulated, textured electronic ambience bringing a surprising warmth to the sound. Dance music fans will doubtless call "foul," yearning for more beats and mixing -- folks who better appreciate the history of the style and the restraint that the original bossa nova pioneers brought to their art will recognize that Bebel has finally arrived and is one of the fold, an master musician who can make her way in the world as she pleases. Am I gushing? Well, golly, I guess I am. That's because this is an absolutely lovely record, and the awkward moments of her last album are nowhere to be found on this one. It's a good'un... highly recommended!
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79 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2004
If "Tanto Tempo" arrived like a cool, summer breeze, Bebel Gilberto's current CD arrives more like an uncomfortably humid summer day. This is a recording with a lot of problems not evident in her debut:
1) Many of the songs are overproduced, with strings being added to several numbers. True, the wall of sound approach has its seductive moments, especially in "Aganju" and "Simplesmente", but too often what was spare, light, fresh, and understated in the earlier work gives way to a kind of sonic sludge.
2) As well, Gilberto's choice of songs to cover leaves a lot to be desired this time around. "Baby", a sappy, throwaway Caetano Veloso pop song that only Gal Costa seems able to sing effectively, gets the album off to a less than positive start, and "Every Day You've Been Away" by Pedro Baby and Daniel Jobim marks the low point with the most vapid English language lyrics imaginable (a problem throughout). Thank goodness for the Carlinhos Brown number and collaborations.
3) Too many of the songs have the same basic medium tempo that when combined with the aural wallpaper background treatment creates a kind of monotonous sameness to much of the material. Perhaps after listening to the CD several more times, the songs will take on distinct personalities, but that is a more hopeful thought than a realistic one.
4) Too many breathy vocals make some of the numbers sound like they are an homage to Astrud Gilberto and her kittenish delivery, an approach Bebel Gilberto should never dream of resorting to.
In short, while this recording is not without some lovely moments, it nonetheless suffers from a pattern of odd choices and poor judgements. Hopefully, it merely represents a slight bump in the road for a very talented singer.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Alternating between a sexy English accent and Brazilian Portuguese, with seductive bossa-rooted rhythms that make up for a hypnotizing performance, Bebel Gilberto came back from her successful 2000 debut with another smash album. This time, Marius DeVries works with her and tracks such as the more lounge-based "Cada Beijo" (Each Kiss), and "Winter" stand up as testimonials of his influences. However, my hands down favorite is "River Song".
All in all, the album flows quite softly from one track to the next, as if you were riding on top of the ripples of a pond, hearing them splash against a not-so-distant shore. It turns out to be a fabulous stress killer, great for a ride back from work or to chill out to in the background, while you work away at your keyboard. Just get it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2004
First and foremost, if you are expecting Tanto Tempo II, you're in for a surprise. This record is much more stripped down, without the electronica fluorishes and production of the late Suba that embody Tanto Tempo. The new record is beautifully produced and Bebel wrote most of the songs. The four years in between albums has been a painful stretch of time for fans, but so obviously well spent by Bebel and crew.
Bebel, if you happen to read this, thank you for sharing your gift again. See you in the States on tour soon?
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 10, 2004
It must be in the genes. There is a great swing and summertime glide to this music that I find totally enchanting. As mystifyingly seductive as "The Girl From Ipanema," this CD finds daughter Bebel crafting an incredibly strong follow up to TANTO TEMPO. No sophomore jinx here. The musicians are terrific throughout, and while the lyrics are of no real substance, it is the mood they conjure, be it in Portugese or Bebel's take on English. I'd cut off my arm to have a woman sing to me like that.
The summer heat and the humid waves of a sultry tropical night undulate through this music. This is the stuff for very little clothing and lots of romance. The ballads are uncomplicated paeans to a lover, the sambas are just so swinging as to inspire you to walk in time with the music. This is just a lot of fun.
Gilberto's voice is perfect for all of it. She has assembled such a brilliant cast of musicians that they collectively honour her father's legacy and advance the bossa nova seduction well into the Twenty-first Century. The recording is pristine. You can virtually here fingers touch the nylon strings of the guitars and the percussion percolates as though you were surrounded by the players. Quite an impressive recording! Many's the ostensible chanteuse, particularly the blonde ones, who ought to woodshed with this CD until they get it right (and lose their self absorbed English husbands). In any case, this is what seductive jazz singing sounds like, and I suspect I shall be listening to this through the summers on PEI and well into the frosts of winter. It has a passionately warming effect.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2004
I have waited so impatiently for Bebel's next recording, wondering if it would be as good as Tanto Tempo, worrying the second would not be as good as the first due to the untimely, tragic death of Suba (production is everything!). But my prayers were answered in her second self-titled cd. This collection of songs is every bit as good, if not even better, than Tanto Tempo. And I wore that one out, even had to buy two more. It has a lighter, more playful feel, and I really like the frequent use of flute (my instrument as well). But it can still evoke sexy, warm, smooth, dreamy, even melancholy feelings in even the most stoic of listeners. Bebel does not always have the perfect voice,especially when it comes to pitch, which I happen to like. I think it adds authenticity and emotion to her songs. I am still in that infatuation stage with the new cd, trying to find my favorite tune. I hear one and firmly decide that its my favorite, but then I hear the next and change my mind that it is indeed my favorite...until I hear the next one. I simply love them all right now!
I wonder if anyone knows of more music along these lines. I stumbled upon Bebel by accident (actually, I heard an interview with her on NPR and thought I might like her music given her familial ties)
I grew up on Sergio Mendes and Brazil, and Charlie Byrd Trio Bossa Nova,Antonio Carlos Jobim, and lots of Astrid as well. But I find too much techno a little off-putting to a degree. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
In conclusion, this cd will take you where ever you want to go. A white sand beach, a yacth in the Atlantic, a smokey low lit jazz club, a private picnic in the shade, whatever your pleasure. It is a wonderful piece to add to any fine music connoisseur's collection.
Enjoy!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
There is no doubt that Bebel Gilberto does a lot for Bossa Nova by adding new sounds to the good old MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira). The addition of electronic sounds and new contemporary sounds adds a breeze of fresh air to the great Bossa Nova tradition.

However, there are a couple of areas in which the album falls short. First, the music, while a nice mix of contemporary sounds and Bossa Nova lacks some of the energy and passion of the traditional Bossa Nova. I believe some added passion is in order to take this album from good to great.

Second, Bebel's portuguese comes across a bit forced in some of the songs. To put it simply, she sounds a bit like a foreigner (as a foreigner who gets to speak portuguese a lot I found on the same situation myself so many times, stressing my words to make it sound like the locals -- she just doesn't sound as smooth as the locals). You can hear a bit of her accent in the portuguese portion of Simplesmente.

The album has wonderful moments. I really love Baby. Her voice does not only come across as smooth as silk, but she also has this playful and joyful energy to it (almost like Norma Bengell in the 60's classic Você).

All in all a great album, which seems to be the prelude to future greatness.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2004
I'm always worried to hear the follow-up album from artists with a smash debut. Was the first one just luck or just very well produced? Or are they a true emerging talent? In the case of Bebel Gilberto, there is no doubt that it is the latter. After being intoduced to her first album (Tanto Tempo, but you knew that, right?) by a Portuguese friend when it was originally released, I have been waiting for her follow-up for years and I'm happy to say it has lived up to my expectations. After listening to it over and over, my only question is whether it is even better than Tanto Tempo. Right now, I'm thinking they are about equal with this album being a bit more smooth and "produced" (but not in a bad way) and maybe even a bit less bossa nova, but again, not worse, just different.

I was just listening to this album again after it got lost in my "World" iTunes claasification for a while. It's like a siren's song. Intoxicating. If you are reading this and you don't own it, buy it. I'v never heard a smoother sounding album. It's happy, too, brings a smile to your face.
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