Pays : Argentina Label : Sony Argentina Genres et styles : Folk / Pop / pop Année : 2024 / 2024

Kevin Johansen – Quiero Mejor

· par Michel Labrecque

Kevin Johansen is bipolar, in the geographical sense of the term. His father is Alaskan American and his mother is Argentinian. In 2012, he also made a record called Bi, dedicated to his parents’ musical cultures. 

Quiero Mejor is Kevin Johansen’s ninth discographic offering. To this must be added three live albums and multiple collaborations with other Latin American artists. Kevin Johansen is an essential songwriter in 21st-century Latin America.

He was born in Alaska, raised in Argentina, then spent a good part of his twenties in New York, before settling back for good in Buenos Aires at the beginning of this century.

This disc, which Johansen also describes as a “Feng Shui Project”, named after the ancient Chinese art of harmonizing a home, is a long lullaby in eleven parts. We float on waves of reverberated guitars, with the singer’s deep and soothing voice. It’s refined folk-pop, through which we discover homeopathic traces of milonga, bossanova, and Argentine folklore. Occasional layers of piano, violin, accordion, percussion.

Quiero Mejor means “I want better”, in opposition to quiero mas, I want more. A hymn to voluntary simplicity, sung largely in Spanish. As always, Johansen sprinkles his records with a little English, his father’s language. This time, the album ends with “Bien Sur”, a song sung half in French. Kevin is a big fan of Gainsbourg, which he has already sung about. “Bien Sur” is a play on words, meaning south in Spanish. This is why there is no circumflex accent on the u. “The south is my north” declaims the author.

On “Puntos Equidistantes”, the formidable Mexican singer Natalia Lafourcade accompanies him. We also hear on “Quiero Mejor” the feminist flamenco quartet Las Migas. “Amada Amante” is the only non-original song on the album, it is a rereading of a piece by Brazilian authors Roberto Carlos and Erasmo Carlos.

After four listens, I discovered lots of subtleties in the arrangements. Kevin Johansen offers us a subtle oasis of calm in our highly hectic times. So, disfrute, enjoy!

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