Friday, February 7th, 2020

Barbi Recanati – ¿Qué le ves?

Former Utopian finds favour…


Juana Giaimo: I was lucky I could interview Barbi Recanati last year to talk about being a mother and a rock star. She told me many things about gender inequality but also how being a mother changed the way she writes music: taking care of a child leaves you with a lot less time to spend writing and recording — you just can’t be all day in the studio. So instead of writing a song in one day as she used to, now the process lasts three months, during which the song can rest and grow. When I now listen to her new songs, I can’t avoid listening to this change in her writing process. In “¿Qué le ves?”, the first guitar chords are left alone for a few seconds until the rest of the instruments appear one by one. Her voice is spaced out and the guitars and keyboards fill in those spaces like waves that come and go, while the changes in the beat make it really dynamic. The lyrics are simple and brief, and I like to think of them as all the thoughts she has about a female friend’s boyfriend she can’t stand. Her tone is pensive and angry at the same time, and she even adds some irony in her words: “I hope you don’t take it personally: I truly hate you”. A few lines later, she sings, “Seriously, girl, what do you see in him?” I definitely know many of my friends wanted to say this to me and sometimes I wished they had. 

Alfred Soto: With a guitar plucking windswept chords as if The War on Drugs didn’t exist, this Argentine singer hides her anger behind her instrument and those threatening synth clouds. Then she says fuck it and confronts her lover. Beautifully arranged.

Nortey Dowuona: A swooning guitar drifts past moth-eaten hi-hats, and synth chords are laid over the smoothed-over bass as Barbi Recanati surfs through, the guitar and synths swinging to each side of the the walls of the mix and then slopping over each other. The guitar freezes as the drums smash through, the bass leaping around on the surf; the guitar flies overhead. Barbi leans back on her surfboard as the zigzagging synth lead swallows them, leaving the song to crash upon the beach, with only a rusty hi-hat remaining.

Will Adams: I will never not love uptempo, synth-blasted rock that sounds a second away from busting out the “Dancing In the Dark” riff, even if the mixing dips in strange ways from section to section.

Brad Shoup: I love three-minute songs but adore three-minute songs that could go for 10 more. The guitar sheets pitch up at the end, forming the illusion of a souped-up tempo, when really it’s just the frame shaking off the jet. Recanati’s guitar and vocal tone are steely and dreamy at once: they make The National seem even more enervated than they are.

Kylo Nocom: A song that reintroduces a certain vigor into tried-and-true rock that makes every sound seem like it’s unfolding for the first time.

Ian Mathers: Personally, when a song in a language I’m not fluent in [err, so any language except English? – eds.] starts sticking with me, I like to look up what the lyrics mean. Here, Recanati so successfully puts across the justly resentful, prickly ache summed up by those lyrics, I almost didn’t need to. A great song for any Fuck Off Fridays, if you follow that tradition.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: It eventually took a Spanish-speaking friend to translate the complicated three-party “Call Your Girlfriend”-esque situation going on here, but even on my first listen, I understood this as a torch song dripping with pain and anger. I’ve listened to a million recent pop songs exploring the themes of longing and regret, so what initially stunned me about “¿Que Le Ves?” was how it’s able to communicate the same depth of emotion while trading in the sparkling synths for smeared guitars. As a kid from the country suburbs, my musical foundation was built on stuff like the Kings of Leon, The Killers, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but since coming to terms with queerness and having left my town, pop has come to feel like authenticity, while rock has come to sound like childhood trauma. It’s been so long since I’ve enjoyed rock music; Barbi Recanati has made it easy to reconnect with something so rich in texture, gorgeous in tone, and devastating in delivery. 

Reader average: [6.16] (6 votes)

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