The Fair of Fools / Carlos Varela ft. Sweet Lizzy Project
Carlos Varela knows perfectly how to turn a song into an anthem: he's done it before, and he knows how it works. After what can be said to have been his masterpiece (at least in terms of musical production), It is not the end, and the modest success of his latest album El Grito Mudo, the author of William Tell and Seven, brings us back to nostalgia with fools fair, a single that rescues the most rock side of the singer-songwriter, who is accompanied by, in effect, a rock band that has already had its run. Although Sweet Lizzy Project (SLP) has been in the alternative scene for much less years than Varela, they have a strength and a unique style that do not go unnoticed, mainly the talent of their vocalist. We are facing a duet between two apparently different proposals, a pair of experience and youth, magic and armor, as in RPG video games.
On Friday, December 3, they released the song on all platforms, and its acceptance is being noticed early. In it we see a return of Varela to his golden years of The Lumberjack and Robinson and SLP well… being the SLP that made the Cuban stages shake so much, firstly as a band of covers, although with features that differentiated them from the rest, and then with their own repertoire, although not as mediatic (on the island, at least, they have been based in the USA for a few years). Pure eighties nostalgia.
It is not the first time that an analogy between a circus and Cuban society has been heard, it is something that is in the imaginary - as Erdwin Fernández said "this country in a circus." It is about the idea of the fair, of what is sold, and of "the fools" or credulous, who are nothing more than the public that swallows the show, as a powerful metaphor to tell a social satire, an immediate story. who serves him the sayón and puts it on. "Come, come" invite the circus, where everything is not what it seems. Who are the visitors? are they tourists? I leave it to everyone's consideration, I'm only going to analyze a couple of musical aspects, I'll go by parts...
It is long by the standards of a commercial pop rock song, lasting 05:09 min. It's in Bb minor (B flat minor), and you might be wondering why in that key and not in a more conventional one. I speculate: the key of Bb minor in classical music has always been associated with death, hence the funeral march of Chopin, of his Piano Sonata No. 2, be in that tone; Whether or not it is a coincidence, I consider it a success that they have opted for that timbre color. The beat of the drums is constant in 4/4, the “kick-kick-snare” beat, (or two quarter notes and one half note) give the track a hip-hop-like beat; it is danceable, or at least "jumpable", and it is another success. The harmony has a sequence of chords that is also invariable, almost obstinate, with riff smooth with some moments of intensity, somewhat reminiscent of the style of the Dave Matthews Band (Varela has actually shared stages with Dave Matthews). Lizzy's voice is in the background for almost the entire song, except for a few notable moments. Perhaps it does not stand out too much, for my taste it could have participated more, however, it makes a pleasant harmonic cushion with the counterpoint it achieves on Varela's scratchy voice, with the melody at distances of 3rds.
As a preamble to the climax, the stanza «They are such liars (sib-fa-mib-reb-do-lab) playing at bullying (sib-fa-mib-reb-do-lab), but sadness (sib-fa-mib-reb-do-lab) is heard. mib-reb-do-lab) does not hide with beer (solb-sib-reb-sib-fa-la-do-fa)”; there the melody changes, it prepares you for what is to come, until it breaks (attention) at min 03:56: The Chorus. Yes, as you hear it, when you thought the song was going to end...
«You know that we were not, nor are we, cheaters. Just a little hippies, nothing dangerous, neither your fire eater nor your two lions are going to shut us up, bastards».
The swear word, the insult, the defense against the "put finger". It looks a bit like that cry of "Long live Mexico, bastards!", used in the Molotov song Gimme the power, and it is precisely that they even have a similar arrangement in terms of invoice. Whether it is a direct influence or not, the effect is the same, you are filled with the desire to sing it in a concert, to feel free; at that moment is that the song reaches the chest and you feel that it was worth it.
A friend told me that he thought it was a Homeland and Life for geeks. Without going into absurd comparisons, fools fair It may not reach the great Cuban public like the Latin Grammy winner, but it captures the essence of what it is to make an effective song within a market dominated by the urban, aimed at a country where rock has a small voice and a heart. great. I hope it's not the end.