by Tiana Feng
Release Date: February 4th, 2014
Label: Pheromone Recordings
Alejandra Ribera’s “I Want” topped the popularity charts here at RTT for many weeks and I was eager to get my hands on her album to review. Unlike the single, the album finds itself trilingual – in English, Spanish and French.
Beginning the album is title track “La Boca”, a soulful piano-accompanied tune that begins in English and transitions to Spanish so smoothly that it’s hard to pinpoint when it happened. It probably has something to do with her exotic French accent that gives her English vowels a distinct tone.
For this record Ribera recruited Jean Massicotte who has worked with acts such as Patrick Watson and Pierre Lapointe. Therefore, we can expect the same sort of enchanting arrangements. “Goodnight Persephone” employs a bagpipe of all things (and I hate bagpipes) but somehow it worked here. It switches gears in the following, “No Me Sigas” which has playful marimba and muffled Spanish vocals. What impresses about Ribera is her innate ability to improvise (or make it seem like she did) inflections that are emotional and believable (“Bad Again”).
The single “I Want” remains one of the album’s strongest tracks and some of the best lyrics, “I want the aching of a melody… I want to want just to want anything.” The song resonates to those who are a bit lost and unsure. Even in the songs I can’t understand (“Cien Lunas”, “Rejoles”), I can appreciate her musicality and their contrasting characters. My personal favourite is the English French duet with Arthur H. “Un Cygne La Nuit”. The opening line translates to, “my heartbeat falls asleep in the middle of the world” and later in English declares the song “the saddest serenade, these are the only notes left to play” before fading to a stunning conclusion.
Right behind is, “500 miles”, a slow and moody cover of the Proclaimers, not the high-levelled original you see Ted and Marshall going on a road trip to in How I Met Your Mother. This one would be a very long road trip. Things pick up in the album closer “Satellite” where Ribera sings of a significant other leaving town while she hopes to follow or watch over.
In La Boca, Alejandra Ribera gives us a reason to learn more languages and open ourselves to the array of multi-lingual music options Canada has to offer.