Monday, May 11, 2015

Perfect Songs - Si Supieras

My Childhood Stereo
This was it. This is where it all started.
As powerful as music can be, sometimes it's the atmosphere of the song that carries all the power. That can be in the melody, but in many cases, it comes from the sound quality of the recording and sometimes down to the medium used to hear it. This is only one of the many reasons vinyl snobbery is a real thing and will always exist. For me, vinyl has always meant Sunday mornings. That's when I remember the most music would be played by my parents and the sound of that Zenith console is one I need to reproduce, because my turntable set up, while just fine, isn't really bringing me that warmth, that separation, that I-don't-know-what (using the French would have made this unbearably pretentious, while pointing this out is only slightly less so) that I remember. But one song from that time comes close, just because of the atmosphere of it. Although this version doesn't sound as good as the 45 I still have, which used to be my aunt's, I think the arrangement still comes through.

The melancholy longing of forbidden love comes through, whether or not you understand the lyrics, I think. This may, on the surface, appear to be a simple sweet love song, but it's not. There's a sighing tension in the orchestration, but beyond that, the lyrics talk about a misunderstood, maybe taboo and repressed love affair. More than likely it's a simple tale of a teenage girl who isn't allowed to go out to see her boyfriend, who may be older, and she lies to her parents to go see him. And that would be fine and could be disturbing on it's own, depending on the age of the boyfriend. Giving a teenage drama type song a lush orchestral treatment like this is not unheard of and it's a genre all it's own, really. But, maybe it's just me, I see more room for interpretation here. The video above not withstanding, the gender of her lover is never mentioned. What is mentioned, however, is the line "nadie en casa me comprende, todos censuran mi forma de ser" ("nobody at home understands me, they all censor my way of being"). I'm sure I read too much into this in the context of gay rights and all, but it fits that this song might be about a closeted gay teen in the 70s. And maybe it's not at all, but the fact that it could be, that it could be about so many things, lyrically, musically and emotionally,  that's the power of the song. 

Gloria Si Supieras
The B-Side is good too.
And yet, for me, these readings only come now. They only reveal themselves to me on rediscovery and exploration. I was too young and later dismissive back then. But my visceral reaction to hearing this, on vinyl, is the feeling of Sunday morning, hearing this music and feeling the nostalgia from my parents. It's the memory, coupled with a constant search for that sound. It's realizing that my tastes in music always go back to these things when I hear this and can't help but think of artist like The Last Shadow Puppets, who quite likely never heard this specific song. And I think of other artists I've discovered later in life like Scott Walker and Jacques Brel when I hear Gloria sing "pienso que soy muy pequeña para ser feliz" ("I think I'm too young to be happy") which gives this song, written by Manuel Alejandro, a dark punctuation. And as it turns out, this man wrote songs for most of the artists my parents would play back in the day, from Nino Bravo to Raphael to Rocio Jurado and many more. Either way, this one song, is damn perfect. And now, I think I have to start searching for a Zenith Allegro Wedge Stereo system. 

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