Saturday, December 14th, 2013

AMNESTY 2013: Titica – Don’t Touch Me

…and that’s it, the last of our our picks. Join us on Monday for a week of readers’ choices!


Zach Lyon: Holy fuck.

Jonathan Bogart: Whenever somebody wants to tell you that Africa is more homophobic, more repressive towards a broad range of gender and sexual expressions than the Western world is, understand that they are lying to you, because they want you to believe, in order to consolidate their own power, that “enlightenment” is a statement about the color of people’s skin. Titica is one of the biggest kuduro stars in Angola right now, and she is a trans woman, and she does not attempt to hide it or to tone herself down for mass consumption. She is who she is, and her music and rapping and dancing bangs harder than anyone else’s — a challenge to the rest of kuduro to step up their game, to bang harder, to live freer, to imagine greater. But “Don’t Touch Me” is not kuduro; it is the slower and sexier kizomba, which is related to Franco-Caribbean zouk and to certain elements in African-American R&B. You can perhaps hear Prince in the lilting funk, but you can definitely see him in the video, all pinks and purples and unrepentant, cross-spectrum sexuality. Here too, though, Titica issues a challenge. “Hey boy,” she croons in the chorus, “a menina não quero.” (The girl doesn’t want it.) “Don’t touch me.” That consent, bodily self-determination, and even sexual refusal are centered in a sound this seductive, a video this steamy, matters; that it was released last December, and I only noticed it in March, doesn’t.

Anthony Easton: This is so delicate, and lovely. The talked out bits interweaving with gossamer woos, how she sings “ooh boy”, the flirting with negation, the self conscious power of a voice that is both heavily global (I could imagine a Ciara cover) and heavily local (she is the kuduro queen, though see her syncopated reworking of the best of bounce in “Chão Chão” for an example of kuduro borrowing recklessly from other places). In fact, this suggests a new way for American pop to operate, and an understanding of how liquid dance music could be. Her skills at both abstracted, minimal high dance, and concrete, maximal slow jams are a force to be reckoned with. 

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: It’s the last dance of the night at Paisley Park circa 1995, and the visiting Angolan guest is a little agitated that she’s not hooked up with anyone yet.

Iain Mew: The aspect of “Don’t Touch Me” that I appreciate most is the multitude of voices that pop up throughout it, the emotional range they offer and the sense of support that they lend. All of that potential doesn’t go anywhere though, because there’s not enough there for any of them to grab onto in the song’s hookless sway on the spot.

Alfred Soto: I can’t translate the verses and won’t because I’m wary of biographical criticism, but by swathing the chorus in those buoyant guitars the track avoids sentimentality or pleading. She saves the frustration for those clipped verses.

Brad Shoup: Dollhouse wah and clipped rhythm guitar: this is quite the delicate confection. Assuming the titular sentiment is to be read at face value, it’s poignant (and delivered not unlike a South Korean pop star would), and complicated by the breathy bit she stretches over one chorus. Soft rock with a spotlight, then.

Reader average: [7.16] (6 votes)

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One Response to “AMNESTY 2013: Titica – Don’t Touch Me”

  1. Argh! @ not getting to review these last couple of tracks, but for the record the finds of this year’s amnesty round were, for me, this, Ukendt Kunstner, and Direct Hit! Thanks, Jukeboxers!