During the span of his successful music career, Uruguayan singer/song writer Jorge Drexler has maintained top position in the Latin pop genre. Jorge Drexler is well known not only for his interpretation, but also for his t... more »alent in writing great songs. The success of his album Eco (which was released in the 90's throughout Spain, Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina), catapulted this artist to superstar status.« less
During the span of his successful music career, Uruguayan singer/song writer Jorge Drexler has maintained top position in the Latin pop genre. Jorge Drexler is well known not only for his interpretation, but also for his talent in writing great songs. The success of his album Eco (which was released in the 90's throughout Spain, Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina), catapulted this artist to superstar status.
"A fellow David Byrne fan from Uruguay first posted some comments on DB's bulletin board about Drexler getting snubbed from the Academy Awards because he wasn't "...famous enough..." to sing his own song (reminder to self: just one more reason to never watch that crap). Drexler told Nic Harcourt of KCRW recently he wrote a letter of protest to the Academy Awards, and wasn't happy about it. Even Antonio Banderas didn't feel right about singing it, but relented in the end. Drexler turned out to be the one to laugh last, as he sang a few lines from his song in lieu of an acceptance speech at the Academy Awards. He reminds most immediately of Caetano Veloso's London exile years ("Joia", "Muito", and "Bicho"), and has the seemingly effortless intellectual range of Caetano and David Byrne. Very gentle, intelligent, and intense. His lyrics are nothing short of sublime. It helps if you understand some Spanish, but this is music that can be appreciated for its own sake. Unbelievably talented singer songwriter, who may soon become much more known in the U.S."
Poetry in Motion
A reader | New York City | 05/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The comparisons I've read here to Caetano Veloso are apt, since they're both tenors and Drexler has that Brazilian vocal style: no vibrato and a soft delivery. And like much of Brazilian music (Veloso is Brazilian -- Drexler is from Uruguay), Drexler's songs are lyric-driven. He has a lot to say, and says it beautifully. I often listen to music in foreign languages and find that it's no impediment if the music and rhythms are compelling enough. The songs on this disk have that special quality. But fortunately, I understand Spanish and therefore can thoroughly enjoy the philosophical musings, quirky insights, and breathtakingly sensual and romantic poetry that accompany these infectious arrangements.
Like most North Americans, I first learned of Drexler through his Academy Award-winning song, written for the wonderful film, The Motorcycle Diaries. The movie is a true account of a cross-continent motorcycle trip taken by a young Che Guevara as a bourgeois medical student. It depicts how his eyes are opened to the injustices suffered by poor people in his native South America. If you find a good translation of the lyrics to Al Otro Lado Del Rio you may be impressed, as I am, by the understated, subtle way in which Drexler speaks for the idealistic young Che, on the verge of becoming a revolutionary.
Drexler is a thoughtful and original composer and lyricist and a very good singer. Eco is worth owning and it gets better with repeated hearings. I recommend it."
nollaig | United States | 04/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I do not understand a word of what this man is singing but frankly, it doesn't matter. This has to be one of the best crafted albums that I have ever heard! From the music to the musicianship to the production values, this is flawless. I will leave it up to those you with an understanding of his lyrics to attest to their merit - all I can say is that this is a very lyrical album. I mean this in the sense that the music of the words is as striking as the playing. I can't help but think that this album would be huge in the US if it were sung in English - but would it sound the same? I tend to think that Drexler's talent would overcome any perceived obstacle. Oddly enough, my least favorite track is the one that won the Oscar - Al Otro Lado Del Rio. No hooks you see...but there are so many highlights on this album that it is difficult to single them out. I have seen comparisons to Caetano Veluso whom I like but Drexler is altogether more musical and more pleasing to the ear IMO."
Motorcycle Diaries Brings Uruguayan Talent to the Fore
Ed Uyeshima | San Francisco, CA USA | 04/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Uruguayan singer/composer Jorge Drexler wrapped his delicately warm voice around a gently strummed guitar on "Al Otro Lado del Rio", the yearning song that accompanied the closing credits of Walter Salles' wondrous road movie, "The Motorcycle Diaries". It was a fitting ending to a beatific film, and he won a surprise Oscar for Best Song. It seems inevitable that a solo recording would be released in conjunction with that celebratory moment, although ironically Drexler was denied the opportunity to sing it on the actual Oscar telecast in favor of famed non-singer Antonio Banderas.
Produced by Drexler, along with Juan Campodónico, and Carlos Casacuberta, this disc is certainly good enough to attract new fans to Drexler, whose voice reminds me of a Latin-tinged blend of James Taylor and Michael Franks. Leisurely paced but impeccably produced, the Spanish-language songs are genuinely melodic if a bit monotonous at times. The title track and "Todo Se Tranforma" are nice slices of pop music, the first with a sweeping rhythmic feel and the latter punctuated by electronic percussion and echoing backing vocals. Both seem rather trivial compared to the mostly spoken word anthem, "Guitarra y Vos", a surprisingly affecting song. "Transporte" picks up the pace, and nice syncopated backbeats make "Milonga Del Moro Judío" and "Polvo De Estellas" percolate with calculated abandon. "Se Va, Se Va, Se Fue" has an oddly retro feel with its tick-tock backbeat and overly dramatic string arrangements. "Salvapantallas" is a lovely song performed very sweetly, and "Al Otro Lado del Rio" provides an appropriate closer. The overall effect is alternately tranquil and percussive with an insinuating rhythm that is downright irresistible. Highly recommended."