From the first chord to the last word of Rua dos Amores, Djavan’s new album is an exciting collection of songs from the artist known for his unique style within the Brazilian music scene.
Djavan has written the lyrics and melodies of all 13 new songs on the album and in addition, he is also responsible for all the final arrangements and production. This new album comes after a four years absence from personal lyrical creativity during which time Djavan was recording his previous album, Aria, which by contrast was entirely comprised of songs by other artists.
Being such a compelling and prolific composer, the break from writing his own material for so long has had a dramatic impact on the recording of Rua dos Amores, resulting in a powerful and eloquent collection of new songs. Significantly, Djavan has reunited to work on this album a number of his original band members from 15 years ago.
The opening song to Rua dos Amores: "Já não somos dois”, a typical Djavan song, brings together a range of influences from jazz to pop, marked strongly by its prominent melodical features. Unusually for the artist, rather than talking about love, the song acknowledges the end of love and the process of separation between couples.
Starting with the title, love is the predominate subject of this album, a poetic view on this otherwise ordinary subject: Onde a luz/Do iluminado amor/Se escondeu?/Me azoou/Depois desapareceu/Meio do nada/Minha doce amada/Expôs que ela eu eu/Já não somos dois.
Reaffirming, but at the same time renewing his own poetic music style, Djavan’s new album differs from previous work and is even highlighted by the artist’s own words:
"What I set out to achieve was to get away from the ordinary, and pursue a diverse but distinctive way of talking about love in all its different forms.”
Rua dos Amores it’s an album of love songs, fact! Nevertheless, these songs are composed in a most diverse and distinctive way. Listening to Rua dos Amores is a journey through this diversity without losing a sense of Djavan’s unique musical style.
“Anjo de vitro” for instance, talks about a platonic love that ends up becoming something more. A sophisticated and elegant melody (with a great piano solo performed by musician Glauton Campello), and lyrics distinctive of Djavan’s writing where the power of his words are as important as their meaning: “Mas era só a chuva que caía/Com suas setas transpassando o dia/Tecendo a noite azul".
"Triste é o cara", inspired by Latin musical influences, talks about one man’s struggle with love ("Triste é o cara/Que de amor não morreu/Como nada perdeu/Até hoje não se achou").
In “Acerto de contas”, a samba in line with Djavan’s previous hits “Flor-de-lis” and “Fato consumado”, highlights the age old story of a cheating man seeking a woman’s forgiveness, after realizing she is the one he truly loves. According to Djavan, this samba was conceived after revisiting Cartola’s work when recording one of his songs "Disfarça e chora" for his previous album "Ária".
Another samba in the album, "Reverberou", is a little milder, more bossa nova, reflecting on feelings of teenage love; when a boy feels “butterflies in his stomach” before asking a girl to a dance.
"Quinze anos", reflects on another aspect of love: its endurance, the emotions of a love that lasts. (Quinze eras:/Base de cada primavera/De duas vidas enredadas/De bem querer"). It is a very original and mysterious song in its format, with an unusual harmony attached to it.
"Bangalô”, a ballad echoing the blues, debates, in a very original way, the mundane subject of lost love. While, "Pecado", the catchiest song on the album, has a more funky sound to it and tells the story of a couple who don’t seem to be able to connect.
As a counterpoint, "Ares sutis" lives up to its name, a subtle choro with a modern woodwind arrangement. The lyrics are written from the female point of view, a departure from Djavan’s usual writing style: "Me consumi/Pra ter um pouco de ti/Clamei por atenção!/Jamais usei/Sapatos tão peculiares/Andei vestida por colares mis/Violentei até meus ares sutis".
If "Ares sutis" is Djavan’s take on choro, then "Quase perdida", as defined by the composer himself, would be “his jazz", a prominent contender to become one of Djavan’s classics. Again, this love song reflects on the theme of reconciliation, and it was inspired by another song recorded in “Aria”, Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes “Brigas nunca mais”: "Viverei declamando:/Discórdia, nunca mais/Agora é só/Amor e paz".
“Vive” is the only track previously recorded by another artist, Maria Bethania. Although Djavan did all arrangements for Bethania’s version, on his, the melody is more geared towards the piano. The lyrics explore a woman’s struggle with the challenges everyday life: "Desencana, meu amor/Tudo seu é muita dor/Vive/Deixa o tempo resolver/O que tem que acontecer/Livre".
“Pode esquecer” is a political satire, the only non-love song on the album. “Without losing a sense of humour, or trying to push any type of moral lesson.” Laughs Djavan. With harmonies solidly based on acoustic guitar, the track is a good example of a current MPB song, and reflects upon Brazil’s politician abuse of power and corruption: "E tudo se liquefaz/Num mar de candura/Se alguém tiver que arbitrar/Só vai poder contar/Com o delírio de um cantor:/O que se passou, passou/Prescreveu!”
A diverse album infused with unusual ideas, Djavan concludes his recent work with the song title to the album “Rua dos amores”, a short but current track talking about love in a very poetic and antagonistic way. Hugo Sukman