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SpanishEnglishDial (2013) - Dial Track by Track
Tracks 1 & 2 Radio Reloj & Acompáñame
"Dial" begins with an introduction by Radio Reloj counting off the time in various cities and then “twelve songs and something more by Buena Fe in Havana Cuba…and now, the headliners”. The first song “Acompáñame”, is an open invitation to accompany them on this new musical journey, or, if viewed through the prism of radio, an invitation to listen to this media which is always present and just requires that we turn it on. It gets the album off to an energetic start with rock guitar overlaid on a reggaetonesque rhythm.
Si no puedes hoy, no pasa nada
Las puertas se abren cada semana
Y cuando tú quieras te acompañaré
Track 3 Buena hembra, mala sangre
From here things get serious with “Buena hembra, mala sangre” which is straight-up rock that will appeal to any rock fan, not just Latinos. The powerful arrangement is the perfect vehicle to deliver the strong lyrics:
Cuídate de la política
Tan emocionante, como laberíntica
Cuídate de la política
Lo mismo te eleva
Que te deja con la nalga afuera
Track 4 Pasa o parece
“Pasa o parece” is another upbeat pop-rock fusion track and begins with Rojas posing two questions to the listener and then pointing out that things aren’t always as they seem. The coro asks:
Quién me cuida los silencios cuando paso
Quién expone un argumento ya sin peso
Quién pondrá la zancadilla pa' que caiga en el pozo
Quién extenderá su mano pa' pararme del piso
Tracks 5 & 6 La Novela & Ojeo
“La Novela” is the second radio soundtrack and is a scene from a fictitious soap opera featuring Buena Fe’e electric guitarist, Dairon Rodríguez, and Ariana Álvarez. It consists of Rodríguez trying to coax Álvarez into letting him film her with his cell phone in an intimate moment. The dialogue makes me laugh just because it sounds so authentic. It is made funnier by the beginning of “Ojeo” where Rojas is telling the musicians that it’s time to start rehearsal and you hear Rodríguez say, “Damn, I lost my cell phone!”. “Ojeo” is a humorous look at the way video and photography are now at our fingertips at all times and the unintended consequences. The arrangement is also whimsical, switiching between a sort of big band swing hi hat, guitar and bass on the verses and soaring stadium rock on the coros with a beautiful electric guitar solo by Rodríguez at 2:09.
Track 7 Volar sin ti
After the first four hard-hitting songs of the album, “Volar sin ti” switches gears and the strains roll over your senses like the caress of gentle ocean waves on a hot day. The song is a glorious mix of the styles of Buena Fe and Andrés Suárez, who has become one of my favorite singers since I discovered him through his collaboration with Buena Fe. Rojas and Suárez alternate on lead vocals. At the time this article was written “Volar sin ti” was at number 1 on Máxima Escalada, the hit list for Cuban music, and is already poised to take its place beside other classic Buena Fe ballads such as “No juegues con mi soledad”, “Intimidad” and “Era mi aire”.
Volar sin ti, sabiendo que voy sin sustentación
Volar sin ti, surcar el cielo abierto de un error
Y volar sin ti, escapando a la ternura de tu rostro ante la luna
Y volar sin ti, destrozando una promesa, saboteando la belleza
Mientras yo naufrago en tu lágrima
Sidebar: I highly recommend that you check out Suárez work at his homepage.
Tracks 8 & 9 Complaciendo peticiones & Si yo fuera
The next radio soundtrack is “Complaciendo peticiones” with voices by Daniel Villasana and Isabela Cisneros. Cisneros calls the Radio Rebelde program “Música Viva” to ask them to make it rain the next day so she can skip kindergarten and so there will be a rainbow. This leads into “Si yo fuera”. Written by Rojas during his wife’s pregnancy both the music and lyrics are gorgeous, the hopes and aspirations of a father awaiting the arrival of a new life described in terms of painting the house. Rojas hits some lovely high notes during this song that are pure beauty to hear.
Quiero regalarte para el año nuevo
Otro mundo, otro sol
Si yo fuera Fabelo
Haría que el techo pareciera el cielo
Sidebar: Roberto Fabelo is an internationally reknowned Cuban painter and illustrator.
Track 10 Pablo
“Pablo” completes this trilogy of ballads. It was written for the movie of the same name, which is about the life of a child forced to live with an abusive father after the death of his mother. The arrangement by Yoel Martínez and Aldo López uses acoustic guitar, violin and cello to create a melancholy beauty to frame the lyrics.
¿Quién te dijo Luna que te necesito?
Si me guardo un beso lleno de calor
Tengo la memoria, con ella regreso
Donde hay un remanso que parece amor
Below is the official video, including clips from the movie filmed on location in Camagüey, Cuba.
Tracks 11 & 12 Sandalio y Estelvina and Se bota a matar
To lift the listener after that somber theme is the final soundtrack of the album “Sandalio y Estelvina” from the program “Alegrías de sobremesa”. Cubans will recognize this comedic pair. “Se bota a matar” begins echoing the final phrase of Estelvina: Déjame tranquila y acaba de botar la basura! , “Leave me alone and just take the trash out!”. This is the central theme of the song: remove from your life that which is no good for you.
Sueño que se me haga pesadilla ¡Se va!
Vicio que me ponga de rodillas ¡Se va!
Arte que no me alimente ¡Se va!
Negocio que no sea de frente ¡Se va!
Estilo que me aleje de mi origen ¡Se va!
Ladrones del tiempo que me rige ¡Se va!
Quien quiera que le quiera porque asusta ¡Se va!
Y yo cuando soy quien no me gusta
Track 13 La culpa
“La culpa” is a brilliant fusion of guaguancó with rock; a hard core rock en español. The song begins with rumba overlaid by pizzicato strings with electric guitar entering shortly thereafter playing riffs that accent the clave, and Rodríguez gives us another guitar solo perfectly suited to the song. The vocals blend Spanish pop with the format of rumba verse-guía-coro and some trademark vocal harmonies between Rojas and Martínez. The song is full of beautiful quotes about how no one seems to take responsibility for things. You can enjoy the entire song in the video below.
Ni los escombros, de haber caído
Ni los relojes de cuanto se ha envejecido
Si corre el llanto, si no resulta
Me duele tanto cuando la culpa
¡Ay la culpa! la maldita culpa no la tiene nadie
“La culpa” was the first video released for the CD. Written and directed by filmmaker Ian Padrón, it includes dance by Havana Queens and has received rave reviews.
Track 14 De proa a popa
“De proa a popa” is the first of two arrangements for this album done by the DcoraSon duo of Vincente Trigo and Yibrán Rivero. They have created a sweet, almost dreamy acoustic arrangement with a touch of son in the coros and drummer Maikel Pérez on cajón rather than the drum kit. The song is an allegory of life and love, dedicated to Gerardo and Adriana “for love and hope”. It is full of eloquent imagery based on the idea of life being like a voyage on the sea. “De proa a popa” is undoubtedly another hit for Buena Fe.
Que la vida es como un viaje
Que comienza en la placenta
Y siempre de puerto a puerto
Te muerde alguna tormenta
Y que a pirata corazón cuando el amor ya lo pilla
Extraña de proa a popa y de la quilla hasta la perilla
Track 15 Papel en blanco
“Papel en blanco” is an introspective song where Rojas addresses the challenge of the artist from a very personal point of view, and includes references to aspects of his own life that fans will be able to recognize. Rather than post an excerpt of the lyrics here, I embed a video that has all the lyrics and let the song speak for itself.
Track 16 Dial
"Dial” is the last track on the album and begins with the a capella harmonies of Israel and Yoel and then explodes into furious electric guitar, moving between quiet verses that hint at progressive rock and harder coros. The lyrics are as formidable as the arrangement and leave me wondering what to use as an excerpt.
Hay un punto en la radio en que chocan las emisoras
Cual rabiosas por disputar todas las almas solas
Como quien hace un viaje del placer al priapismo
Viven cuerpos audifonados cerrando en sí mismos
Luego les parecerá la calle donde extraños ladran
They say that God is in the details and one of these details is when Rojas sings the line “Ah, look at all the lonely people” from Eleanor Rigby at about 3:00 which seamlessly fits, adding an extra shade of meaning. I am going to use a word here that has been overused in the vernacular but which I use in the literal sense, “Dial” is quite simply an awesome song.
Track 17 Corazón universidad
The furious guitar at the end of “Dial” leaves you with an adrenaline kick, and “Corazón universidad”, is the perfect treatment to ease you back down. Another brilliant arrangement by Trigo and Rivera, it takes the album back towards Cuban traditional dance music, albeit a pop fusion. It was written for the 90th anniversary of the University Student Federation (FEU) and Buena Fe decided it deserved to end up on an album so it was added as a bonus track, for which we are grateful.