SR. KUBRICK, ¿QUE HARIA USTED?,
Idependiente, Spain ***
By Juan Manuel Torreblanca
Some works of art are best understood as parts of a bigger whole. I believe “Sr. Kubrick…” sorta falls into this “means to an end” category. Such an album might feel weak or uneven on its own; say… if we were judging only its musical, performance or production merits, or if compared to similar (while probably better) albums; but if it’s one of these jigsaw-pieces, if it gets (and gets you) to where it’s meant to, it’ll stand proud and strong within its own world. So, before I go on, it’s time to issue a warning: if you can’t stand jotería (the queer) you will not enjoy La Prohibida’s latest release; because you probably wouldn’t enjoy her to start with. But if you do find fun in it, you’re going to dance and sing along to this album for as long as you can wait until your next chance to catch this Spanish travesti superstar onstage. And then it will fall into place: under the light of her charisma, her amazing Jem-like look, the gigantic blonde wig, the electro-pop dance, the sense of humor, and, above all, the flamboyant will to be spectacular (which succeeds as well in creating a fantasy world in which her devotees can daydream about being otherworldly like her). Now, I’m meant to write about the music, the record, not just her; but that’s my point: it was unfair (and impossible) to separate them. Having said that, I can finally focus on the album…
After a first hear-through, I was surprised by some really interesting melodies (a couple of them so complex that her voice lacked the clarity to deliver them flawlessly). The same ambition is found in the lyrics; there are some brains underneath that wig (and in her team of songwriters and producers). I really loved the chorus for the second song “cuando dos electrones chocan siempre hay uno que pierde y cede”; but her lyrics also sometimes cross the line from smart to naïve… to downright corny. Nevertheless, I seriously commend the achievement of a solid concept album: from the nod to the first woman to get on a spaceship in the opening track (“Terechkova”) until the last song, the whole album evokes constantly the cold, emptiness of space as a metaphor for the journey of the lonely and heartbroken back to self-empowering (making a couple stops in nightlife nostalgia). Moon metropolis, Saturn’s rings, countdowns to take off, Space-capsules, obvious nods to 2001 a space odyssey, and leaving an old planet for hopes of new love, etc. There’s nothing that will change the face of dance, electro or pop music here, it does not offer the freshest nor most exciting sounds you’ll hear this year, but why would we ask that of La Prohibida? What you can find, is a bunch of perfectly structured old-school pop songs; maybe a bit too simple (for my taste) at times, but mostly rather well done. And there’s an obviously huge amount of effort and heart and time invested in it (knowing it’s coming from the tough fields of independence), so… I tip my hat to her in admiration, maybe not so much for her music, but certainly for the creation of a whole brilliant indie-glamorous retro-futuristic (shamelessly pop) and fantastically queer universe.