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Bebel Gilberto – Tanto Tempo (2000)

September 25, 2016

south-americaSuper Awesome South America logo by Sarca @ caughtmegaming

Made in South America Artist #1: Astrud Gilberto
Made in South America Artist #2: Bebel Gilberto


[Album 473/1001]

My esteemed colleague, that illustrious Glaswegian HMO, introduced me to an interesting theory recently: if an artist is trying to ‘hide’ a weak track, it will likely be placed as the penultimate track in the running order.

The idea being, if a sub-par track is buried in this second-from-last position, any song shortcomings are more likely to be forgiven than if the track were placed more prominently elsewhere.

As the second-from-last position could be considered a burial site for such filler, it is unceremoniously referred to as the Boneyard.



Well, on Tanto Tempo, Samba e Amor finds itself in the aforementioned boneyard position.

And if Samba e Amor is a ‘boneyard’ track, sign me up for, (to borrow an Alice in Chains line) a big ole pile of them bones!

Beyond this track, the rest of the record is also worthy of acknowledgement. Perhaps predictably, the rhythms are delightful throughout. Bebel’s lower vocal register, perhaps in an equitably predictable manner, is never less than music to my ears.

She’s equally effective regardless of the tempo, whether it’s fast & fun (Bananeira) or slow & smooth (Samba e Amor).

The latter, as you’ll see in the video, is a lovely tune, with the sparsest of arrangements: one vocal + one acoustic guitar. One of my core beliefs is that the best bebel_gilberto_-_tanto_temposongs still work in that minimalist structure; that Samba e Amor’s impact might be lessened by adding more layers only confirms its existing strength.

So while I think the ‘Boneyard’ theory has all kinds of merit, Tanto Tempo will have to be filed under the “exceptions to the rule” fine print.

Also, through my exceptionally limited Portuguese vocabulary, I’ve been able to deduce that Samba = Samba, e = and, and Amor = Love.

And while my exposure to this exceptional genre is almost as limited, I’m quickly learning that I love, or should I say amo, Samba.

From → 2000s

  1. Great Post! Good call on the album postioning of an track! Thats why I always dig albums when you discover some Sonic Gold at the end of them as I call them “Gems!” Case in point The Hips Wherewithinal smack dab as the last track on Fully Completely! On the other hand some bands will top end there album with lesser known tracks that are hard to listen too so you give up by say track 6 or 7 on a song album….Case in point Poison the last 3 tracks from eh debut…..

    • I’m certainly glad the hip didn’t get out before dropping the wherewithal in the tracklist 😀
      Cheers Deke – and cheers to those late album gems!

  2. Esteemed AND illustrious! Well now I’ve got a big head. So, would you say this album was totally filler free? I guess the boneyard theory relies on there being a weak track to begin with?

    Interestingly, almost immediately after doing the boneyard post I listened to an Inquisition album I had just bought and the penultimate track was not only the best thing on it but also the best black metal song I’ve heard all year! So yay for exceptions!

    • Steamed and illustrated?

    • Esteemed & Illustrious, what’s the old Sinatra line, you can’t have one without the other!
      Thanks for the post inspiration HMO, it was interesting here, nothing I’d call filler per se, but it really started to pick up towards the end.
      So if one were to graph the album momentum (and I can’t see how that wouldn’t be time well spent!), there wouldn’t be any sharp drops mid-set, but a steady incline throughout, getting steeper towards approaching the final track.
      And that’s great news about the inquisition record!

  3. We’re dangerously close to the Easy Listening section here for my tastes.

    • It’s funny how when something is so ‘inoffensive’ – so safe, so smooth – that ironically, it can offend ears by having so little edge!

  4. I have Tanto Tempo, and LOVE IT! There’s another of hers too, Momento, that’s also greatness.

    NB: Our HMO is indeed illustrious, but you forgot “nefarious.” Important to include that… 😉

  5. I know this one, Geoff. I file this with the smooth early millennium sounds of the likes of Norah Jones and David Gray. A little too smooth, but no doubt pretty well crafted and, I dare say, ideal dinner party music. Not that I’ve ever indulged in such things.

    • One could indulge in much worse than a Babel Gilberto-soundtracked Dinner party!

      • Especially if it’s some South American food!

  6. HMO is most wise.

  7. Sounds like you’re having some fun on this South American tour!

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