While many of his famous Brazilian contemporaries are reissuing hits from their lengthy back catalogs, 64-year-old singer Caetano Veloso stubbornly continues to push himself forward as evidenced on his newest album, Cê. The simple, stripped-down instrumentation here (guitar, bass, drums) is also a nice change from some of his larger samba and tropicalia albums of the past. Most of the songs are painfully honest and reflect Veloso's melancholia during the recording process. "Não Me Arrependo" ("I Have No Regrets") refers to his recent marital breakup and begins with a drowsy, somber bass line that eerily follows the despair in Veloso's voice. The album's heaviest moment comes on the tune "Odeio" ("I Hate"), with its long electric guitar riffs and lyrics that culminate in the refrain, "I hate you, I hate you." There are some weaker moments on "Homem," for example, when even Veloso's clever words about his envy of women's multiple orgasms falls flat due to the tune's weak backbeat and unimaginative melody. The song "Porque" fails terribly as well; aside from the songwriting, the musicians sound uncomfortable with a jazz-fusion arrangement. That, however, does not mar the disc's overall quality, for the music surprises far more than it disappoints. The sheer beauty displayed on "Waly Salomão," a hastily written tribute to Veloso's longtime friend (who passed shortly before the recording sessions), is gripping enough to explain on its own why Cê is an important addition to the Veloso canon.
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