Mermaid Sashimi, Juan Son


MERMAID SASHIMI, JUAN SON
Universal Music, México *****
Rating: 96
By Carlos Reyes

Mexico’s new most prolific vocalist is back, the Porter breakup hurt too many of us that counted them as the one act follow perversely. Whether it will leave a mark as defined as the one Zurdok holds is up to time, one thing is for sure, the one individual that made Porter so special is here to stay for while. Thing is, he is heading up to become Mexico’s most valuable solo musician as his popularity rises into mainstream but his art in his first solo production is the most contemplative yet. Mermaid Sashimi is Juan Son’s most beautiful creation; he finally reaches a point of musical freedom where pop is his biggest alia and he not only dress up the music but sharps the needle to create his costumes. While Donde Los Ponys Pastan (2005) was a baroque depiction of Mexico’s land, and Atemahawke (2007) felt like a subliminal inner trip to a horse’s dreams, Mermaid Sashimi is all about water and its encounter with a mermaid. It’s quite a challenge to break it apart; Juan Son has the sensibility of a story-teller but the thirst of a scientist. This is my personal approach to this piece of art, which to me is a linear tale but can be so many different things.

In somebody else’s hands this would most likely fall into a sea of pretentiousness, but Juan Son imposes his self-fulfillment before anything else, and that’s the most honest gift an aware audience would hope for. First track “The Remains” does a great job setting up the atmosphere, offering enough sounds and vocal scats to introduce us to the next piece. “Nada” is a smart catchy first single and a tale of the author’s encounter with its precious mermaid; it’s fearful as the unknown should be and blends a love story along. And luckily, this doesn’t turn into a sailor’s tale; the lyricism here humanizes creatures and keeps the relationships very intimate. Once “Mermaid Sashimi” arrives, the bonding allows for some humor with a friendly octopus, which doesn’t last too long as our guy assumes the creature has no feelings, his vocals start to explode to the highest places, but it’s all premeditated and once he points out the flaws of his new friend, he forgets his own health is at risk as he shouts “I need oxygen!”

When “Goldfish” arrives, a new confliction reveals itself, an identity contradiction surfaces as the music itself is more stable. He argues that “as a human I thirst” and asks why “nobody is wondering why a goldfish’s upside down.” Our character starts to understand and adapt to this new environment while discovering politics and economics as well, again, humanizing its circumstances to find the necessary relativity. The atmosphere gets even more compacted with “Captain Whirpool” (I swear I hear Bjork singing), the middle song which is a story of its own and prepares the second half, which is raw, cruel and brutal. It’s a big twist, but the title of the album had already suggested this transition. And so it goes from the love story of the mermaid to a sashimi, “a Japanese delicacy consisting of very fresh raw seafood sliced into thin pieces…” (Wikipedia). Talk about heartbroken.

“El Resplandor” is my favorite song; it’s the point where the sunlight starts to hurt his eyes, the transformation influenced by Kafka finally fulfills our guy’s deepest wishes and salivates his pain. But the tale doesn’t end, and it opens a whole new window, perhaps his last gift to prevent the listeners from drowning like the character most probably did in the instrumental piece before “Toma esta menta.” He opts for Jazz to depict a new beginning, constructs a time machine to leave it all behind, or travel back to his birth, it goes as far as suggesting he will stop his mother’s pregnancy by giving her “a mint”… when it’s actually the next-day pill. “Ana Paula” and its accordion is in charge to conclude a big illustrative heart-punching album like very few recently, and gotta love the last minutes of it as the unborn kid comments on the guy who came from the future to prevent his existence.

Mermaid Sashimi receives the highest score we’ve given here at Club Fonograma since Calle 13’s Residente o Visitante. Sadly, as of today, the album remains unreleased outside Mexico.


♫♫♫ "Nada"

23 comments :

amable said...

estoy casi seguro que el "donde los ponys pastan" data del 2005.

la verdad sí está bueno, yo la verdad extraño a porter, creo que las partes que menos me gustaban de porter son las más juan son, como sea muy buen disco.

saludossssssss

amable said...

creo que también se pudo haber hecho algo más por la portada jojo.

Carlos Reyes said...

a mi me incomodaba la batalla vocal con el baterista, el flaw mas fuerte para mi durante Porter

aqui Juan Son se engolosina, pero como digo, logra que cada ambicion (que es muuuuuy dramatico) de un paso adelante

Anonymous said...

I must say I can't really stand his personality, but it would be really stupid from me not to see his talent, and this guy has talent, I just wished he calmed down lol

Great review, you just sold it to me big time, I'm afraid all those 16 year old girls that he has in massive quantities are missing out on this kind of interpretation. I've only heard NADA and to me disgrace (lol) was my favorite single from last year. Maybe I'm a fan, gotta get out of the closet.

- Gus

Santiago Ulloa said...

bUENO, lo he escuchado 4 veces nada mas, pero se pinta a ser de lo mejor junto al Aquamosh de los Plastilina, el Hombre Sintetizador de Zurdok y el Wof de Quiero Club, como los discos favoritos nacionales para mi

Carlos Reyes said...

En cuanto a la de la portada, tengo entendido que no es esta, esta fue promocional... pero la mera es una blanca con perlas

antonio p. said...

NO!

no es la maravilla de la que hablan, pero bueno, la musica de Mexico apesta (y yo soy Mexicano por cierto)

me lo baje y seguro es el mejor disco mexicano del 2009, pero eso no dice mucho

hoy por hoy no hay ni un solo artista bueno en toda latinoamerica

Carlos Reyes said...

desde ahi empiezas mal, al dar una gneralizacion tan absurda y mal sostenida

JOSE LUIS said...

leo el comentario del compa anterior y justo.. lo que escribi en tu caja, ¿México estará preparado para este disco? Y lo digo, porque un disco de este calibre por la misma delicadeza que cubre su concepto en un terreno desubicado puede ser muy bombardeado de todos lados. Esperemos que no lo maltrate la exposición que podría (y reitero podría) tener el disco durante el año. Completamente de acuerdo con Gus.

Saludos, y Carlos revisa el top.

Carlos Reyes said...

Tienes mucha razon y no lo he contemplado, ya se empiezan a escuchar las quejas de algunos y seguro vendran muchos mas. Por lo pronto la gente en que mas confio musicalmente solo hablan bien de el. No se si Universal sepa que hacer, lo ideal seria ofrecerlo a algun indie de por aca, lo que si, es que parece que le han dado total libertad al chavo, lo cual nos alegra.

Anonymous said...

Pues por lo pronto, es el segundo disco mas vendido en las tiendas MixUp despues del Reptilectric de Zoe.

Carlos Reyes said...

found this review from joselo rangel (cafe tacvba), ... we know he doesn't like latin bands singing in english, but he likes the album and doubts Juan Son is human!

Anonymous said...

Primero que nada, dejeme felicitarlo por tan buen blog, hay muchos adjetivos que funcionarian para referirme a el, pero pues esta bien Chingon.

Segundo, me puse a buscar sobre el disco y solo encontraba docenas de blogs ofreciendolo para descarga y por fin me tope con un analysis tan profundo y sublime como el propio disco.

Tercero, lo unico que sumaria, es que a pesar de todas sus influencias, el disco se siente muy mexicano, aun en las canciones en ingles. Ese mezcla de folk mexicano con historias de Disney pues nos presentan nuestro plato con mucho sabor a nosotros.

DECIREVES said...

Es un disco soberbio de principio a fin, ingenuo a la vez, encantadoramente pop y muy bien trabajado y producido con sensibilidad...no cualquiera en estos tiempos para elaborar una coleccion de canciones etereas, complejas, experimentales etc...

El pedo es que aqui en Mexico mucha gente tiene la idea erronea y estupida de que todo lo que es indie (y Juan Son no es indie puesto que esta con una major) apesta pero bueno, creo que a fin de cuentas entre tanto dime y direte la verdad saldra a relucir en lo que finaliza el año...mientras si les gusta la musica escuchenla, no salgan con prejuicios tontos de que "la musica de Mexico apesta" etc...por que eso no es critica constructiva, es destructiva y punto...a fin de cuentas ¿de que murieron los quemados?

saludos
gracias por el comentario...
te tengo una propuesta pasame tu correo y nos ponemos en contacto.

saludos desde Monterrey, tierra de Mr Racoon, Bam Bam, Album, 60 tigres y Plastilina Mosh...

amable said...

anotonio p sabe como echar el trabajo de otros a la basura jaja.

y, méxico no está preparado para juan son? existe la internet, cualquier país con usuarios activos está preparado para cualquier cosa, desde porno y filias de toda indole y en desarrollo, hasta discos de juan son.

somos pocos los que sostenemos que atemahawke sea un clásico, para otros es just shit, cómo siempre los gustos son colores, pero debe existir el respeto al trabajo.

CHENN said...

Juan Son demostro en este disco que es bueno hacer experimentos y hacer lo que en verdad te gusta hacer musicalmente.

Talves funcione, talvez no

El chiste es tener la libertad de hacer lo que en verdad quieres..ahy esta la escencia del rock n roll en general..

Conforme a los comentarios absurdos..Mexico es y sera siempre el experimento social en cuestion de generos,musica etc. Decir que no existen musicos que en verdad valgan la pena, es algo generalizado.

El musico tiene que ser como un Chef..se tiene que alimentar de todo para obterner un resultado creativo y experimental.

Sashimi anyone?

Liz said...

i'm not really sure if you speak Enlgish or Spanish, or both lol, but oh well, thank you so much for your review. most critics come from a objective point of view, but as i'm reading your previous entries about juan son, i realise your comments and ideas come from a partially subjective view, why? you saw something in juan son previously his debut album, so that makes me happy, because you understand the anxiousness and the anticipation we went through before we could listen the cd. and i love your review, not because it's supportive, it's because you undestood it and "tasted" it.
ok, so, the only "but" everyone's talking about is the english part of it, and regarding that, i wish you could post the lyrics since you are one of the few that understood the stories and the lyrics. you'd do us a favor since there are parts that are, for the life of me lol, get clearly. just a suggestion (or a favor). ;) anyways, thanks for writing such a moving review

Liz said...

oops, i meant:
"you'd do us a favor since there are parts that, for the life of me, i can't figure out what he says. just a suggestion (or a favor). ;)

Carlos Reyes said...

Hola LIz, no pues es como muy complicado, y yo tampoco le entiendo a algunas cosas, pero bueno, como digo, es mi interpretacion del disco... que segun lei por ahi no es linear como yo lo veo.. pero pues es lo bueno de las grandes obras

Anonymous said...

I don't get the spanish songs, and some of his english is a bit confusing, but this is some great stuff, very catchy, very exciting stuff.

BLanCa inFiniTe PlaYLisT said...

OOh My GoD Juan SOn iS So DaMn HOt in JanuaRy 30 i saW Him in COnCErT =D

karen T. said...

Well, I don't know, it was actually hard for me to digest it, even more than the merriweather post pavillion, this one is more complex and furious.

I would expect a lot of attention for it, it's some high quality stuff we're talking about. Very impressed.

Karen. Carlitos I don't know if you have my new email, I think u do, but just in case.

karenthompsongalindo@hotmail.com

Edugui said...

Muy buena reseña, aunque yo le daría 6 décimas menos al disco, por tantos espacios muertos que tiene. Me gustaría que reseñaran a Maná, Café TAcvba o Panda.

Otra cosa: les faltó hablar de Unicorn's Puberty, una de las grandes canciones del disco.

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