Brazilian Singer/Songwriter, MOMO is reissuing his 2019 album, I Was Told To Be Quiet. For the first time ever, the record will be available on vinyl; an occurrence that’s actually generating a fair amount of anticipation. While the bulk of I Was Told To Be Quiet was written in Portugal, it was recorded in Los Angeles. MOMO worked with Tom Biller of Kanye West and Karen O fame, producing one of his most lauded and auspicious works to date. In fact, MOMO’S work has won him the admiration of iconic names such as David Byrne and Patti Smith.
Remarkably, MOMO sings in three, yes three different languages on I Was Told To Be Quiet. Some people may assume that Spanish is the official language of Brazil, but that is not the case. MOMO’S native tongue is Portuguese, and he sings in English, and French as well. The album opens with the adventurous and slightly caliginous “For I Am Just A Reckless Child.”
In many ways it’s the perfect introductory piece to MOMO as it showcases his fragile, but mellifluous vocal style. There’s also something of an accompanying music video, that is just a single shot of MOMO. It’s highly effective as the Singer gazes right through us in the most arresting way, imaginable. MOMO starts lip synching halfway through the lyrics, and hastily removes his shirt by song’s end, confirming his looming vulnerability.
“Diz A Verdade” is more standard MOMO, translating to “Tell Me The Truth,” in English. This one also features a video, but with much more story and depiction. We see what appears to be both MOMO as a man and as a child, interacting with one another in often humorous ways. MOMO sports a blonde or white dyed patch on his curly mane, which is hilariously mimicked by the child version of himself. I found that the video actually enhances the song, here, so it’s highly recommended to check out both.
I found “Serena Canto,” the album’s closer, to be both romantic and familiar. The title, which translates to serene song or song of serenity, seems to be intentionally ironic. MOMO infuses a rock style chorus, and continues to sing in his trademark contemporary style, making for a compelling sound. There’s an effect that’s quite similar to the one used on White Stripes’ “Icky Thump,” track. It could be bagpipes, or clavioline, but it’s quite possibly a guitar effect.
“Mon Neant,” or “My Nothingness,” has an almost tribal spirituality. It’s an effective addendum to an already sweltering record, adding extra depth to its collection of songs. I Was Told To Be Quiet is a work of astounding cultural diversity as well as being a deep excursion into the evolution of the human spirit. MOMO has created a work that can only be fully digested upon multiple revisits. It’s the type of record that grows with you, instead of being relegated to nostalgia on a long enough timeline. Even at this point, being three years removed from its original release date, it still sounds like the present and the future. I Was Told To Be Quiet is now available.
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