by Blanca Méndez
Listening to Linda Mirada is like traveling back in time and hanging out with Fleetwood Mac and Mecano, which is enough of a selling point without saying that Con Mi Tiempo Y El Progreso is a beautifully executed pop album that doesn’t try to be anything that it’s not. Though certainly more youthful than the other two, Con Mi Tiempo Y El Progreso would be perfectly comfortable in your record collection between Tango in the Night and Entre el cielo y el suelo. It’s like a time capsule of the late ‘80s, an anachronism that somehow makes sense in 2012, though there’s really nothing new about it.
The album wastes no time on introductions or small talk, immediately drawing the listener in with the charming ode to the beach that is “La Costa.” The airy, echoey vocals, like a siren’s call floating over ocean waves, are soothing and seductive, almost hypnotic. By the end of the song Linda Mirada has you in the palm of her hand. Then she shoves you right into full-on ‘80s mode with “Mientras La Música No Pare.” The videogamey, bordering on cheesy, percussion paired with the swelling saxophone makes no effort at subtlety, and the increasingly precise and pronounced enunciation and the sax trills at the end really drive home the point: Linda Mirada is not fucking around.
Still one of the best songs of the year, “Secundario” features a springy melody and spacey synths that make it feel distant in a really attractive way, as if the space between the song and the listener adds to the appeal. There’s also something comfortably, almost routinely dark about this album that is not entirely revealed in its first single. It’s in the way “Las Cosas Nunca Salen Como Las Planeas” seems resigned before it even begins or how “Lío En Río,” with its strategically monotonous guitar and bursts of something that sounds halfway between a shriek and a cackle, talks about how summer days are the longest in a way that wishes summer would never end and at the same time is already bored. In “Aire” there are so many cacophonous elements—eerie vocals, ominous percussion, spirited strings, playful bass, a nimble flute—that it shouldn’t make sense together. Yet, it is one of the album’s most captivating tracks.
Con Mi Tiempo Y El Progreso’s brilliance lies in its convictions. The commitment to a sound that to many will register as outdated and unfashionable is the kind of commitment it takes to rock a garish, older-than-you sweater that has been collecting dust at a thrift store. Whereas someone like Javiera Mena takes a fondness for the ‘80s and makes it into something new, for Linda Mirada there’s no pretense of updating a sound or putting a fresh spin on it. Con Mi Tiempo Y El Progreso is unabashedly ‘80s, unapologetically Tango in the Night-era Fleetwood Mac. And there’s a lot to admire in someone who sticks to her guns like that. It makes the album title particularly apt. El progreso is a larger sense of change over time, but mi tiempo is more of an individual measurement, one that’s not calibrated to any one clock or calendar but moves at the pace of whoever is keeping time. Linda Mirada’s tiempo is the ‘80s, which is why it would be a mistake to call this album nostalgic. You can’t long for an era if you’re still living in it.