Monday, June 29th, 2009

Natalia Lafourcade – Ella Es Bonita

Cos Mexican girls can quirk too, y’know…


Chuck Eddy: As with many of her fellow Mexican art-songstresses teenaged and otherwise (Ely Guerra, Julieta Venegas, Ximena Sarinana), I’ve always appreciated the idea of Natalia Lafourcade more than I appreciate her actual music. Here, I appreciate the oompahs behind her more than I appreciate the disjointed melody and singing. Maybe I just don’t get art-songstresses, period.

Martin Kavka: Typical little-girl wouldn’t-ever-want-to-threaten-male-hegemony yuckiness, with an even thinner voice than usual.

Andrew Casillas: At first listen, this seems like a nice, dainty little pop song. Over time, though, it reveals very intricate, beautiful colors. Whether it’s Lafourcade’s masterful arrangement, her delightful phrasing, the fact that the opening horns sound like the bassline of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” etc. Not to mention the delightful juxtaposition between the lyrics and the precocious melody. It’s hard to pinpoint EXACTLY what makes “Ella es Bonita” work so well. But the entire piece is simply charming. This girl is a remarkable talent.

Michaelangelo Matos: I will admit that her singing in Spanish helps; I don’t have translations and will presume that what she’s singing about isn’t going to make me cringe. But the tune is sturdy and the horns, attention-getting and circus-like as they may be, don’t get in the way at all. My sister Brittany, whom you may recall from “La Perla,” sez: “Right away I thought it sounded like Motown Christmas music. Then I thought it sounded like the kind of music Dell or some other technology company would want as background music in a commerical. Then at parts I thought it sounded like Asian pop. The song was pretty bubbly. I like bubbly music sometimes, but this was a little too bubbly. She has an okay voice, but the lyrics were too repetitive. The chick is pretty. Okay, I get it. NEXT! I would give this a 3.”

Martin Skidmore: This is annoying — the simpleminded piano, the fairground oompah of much of it, and the mostly girlish vocal (she occasionally gets more ambitious, and has a strong voice). She’s big in Mexico, but I can’t see this irritating nonsense gaining a great deal of wider attention.

Matt Cibula: I love Natalia so much (especially now that she’s de-mobbed her backing band La Forquetina) and I love this song so much and I love the video and I love ambitious Mexican indie pop and it’s beautiful outside.

Jonathan Bradley: Natalia Lafourcade, whether intentionally or — more likely — not, conjures up quite a Christmassy feel for “Ella Es Bonita,” and it’s not just the liberal amount of bells adorning the track. Her playful vocal and the near-comical seriousness of the plodding horns behind it create a festive air, and there is even, dare I say, a slight hint of magic in the melody. A decorative and gaudy sonic palette, a tune stuffed with sugar, and an overall sense of whimsy that manages not to be cloying? Sounds like the most wonderful time of the year to me.

Iain Mew: The brassy/twinkly intro put me in a positive mood towards this right away, with just a lingering doubt that it could turn too twee. It doesn’t quite, and once the looping chorus eventually hits it’s laidback bliss. The only problem for Natalia, then, is how to get from A to B, which in this case is via C where C is a slightly too hesitant stop-start piano section.

Anthony Miccio: Swoony and playful enough that I don’t spend the whole track wishing Regina Spektor or Nellie McKay was putting it over in English. Hell, maybe Lafourcade will do it herself.

One Response to “Natalia Lafourcade – Ella Es Bonita”

  1. I’d have given her higher marks had I seen that headgear.