Gustavo Cerati goes from rangy to mellow in Fuerza Natural, the follow up to his terrific and career-best Ahi Vamos (2006). First, I must mention that I’m one of those people out there that admire Cerati as a solo institution far more than with his work with Soda Estereo. His transition as a one-man act polished his authorship; not only is his music more individualized, his composition finally strikes for inner expression. Ahi Vamos is wonderfully unstable and scattered across rock’s most precious legs, exploration and raw aesthetics. Fuerza Natural doesn’t lack effort, but it does lack charm and attitude; it has nothing to do with it being a softer down-tuned record, it’s just that while the sound reaches a zone of mature stability, the songs are pleading to move elsewhere. Cerati is skillfully still in command, hearing “Magia” solves much of my concerns with the album, “todo me sirve, nada se pierde, yo lo transformo… el universo esta a mi favor.”
Some have mistakenly found Fuerza Natural to be Cerati’s first pop album when it isn’t; it’s just unbalanced, that accessibility many have praised it’s more of an uneven gap waiting to be patched. Let’s not confuse ourselves thinking of it as Cerati’s Magic (Bruce Springsteen), it is a proper set for a stadium-scale audience but put it on mainstream radio and more than a few will cry. While the music doesn’t travel much, Cerati does expands his topics; he steps away from superstition and devotee forgo, instead, he devotes more earthly words, perhaps too hipsy for him. In this way, the title makes sense, musically, the album is a bit too flat to brag about force; that is unless Cerati’s search for a more electronic sound is seen as a pure strength. Listen to “Déjà vu” and it clearly substitutes the grasp guitars for hearty electro sequences.
The leading track is uninspired as a single, but is well founded in the album. “Amor Sin Rodeos” is a road trip chant, at the same time, a national piece on defiance, despite its upbeat spirit is one of the album’s most obscure pieces. “Traccion a Sangre” is one of those great songs where Cerati reaffirms his mastery as a lyricist; this is a precious mid-life insight, specifically for musicians, those that live following a melody. Part of the album is too gray to function, the songs aren’t particularly boring, they just feel awkwardly programmable; especially those tricky Beatlesque tunes (“He Visto a Lucy”), I have better things to say about the folky side of the album (“Cactus”, “Convoy”). As with any Gustavo Cerati album, repeated spins are a must, not a problem when you’re introduced to this trip with the wonderful opener “Fuerza Natural”, now that’s magic. Fuerza Natural is uneven, but the great songs are GREAT songs, keep galloping mysterious man!