Charly Garcia

At 50, Argentine rock legend Charly Garcia is back with Influencia, his best work in a decade. The album is based on the song "Influenza," originally included in Todd Rundgren's The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect. As odd as it may sound, the title of that album released in 1983 by the U.S. songwriter seems to reflect the current state of Garcia's camp. Out of the two versions of Rundgren's "Influenza" -- as a powerful sing-along pop song with its lyrics rewritten in Spanish, and as an acoustic piano cover in English -- Garcia's Spanish adaptation is superb. He appropriates the confessional tone of the original hit and assumes that everything is about him. And it really feels like it is. Especially when Charly grunts -- after 30 years of rock'n'roller coaster life his voice is still there -- that a part of his heart tells him he went too far, but the other part insists that it makes no sense to bother. The punchline: "This pain is a pleasure." Around "Influencia," Garcia put together a collage of mostly brand-new songs, playing all the instruments, producing, and writing some of his deepest lyrics in three decades. In "I'm Not in Love" --with guest guitar and vocals from Brit legend Tony Sheridan, who had the Beatles playing for him in 1961 -- Garcia sings, "I'd rather choose to suffer than to get bored." Later, in the accelerated rock piece "El Amor Espera" ("Love Awaits"), he confesses that sometimes he plays dead, just to see who cries for him.

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Javier Andrade