Archive for the ‘Cruise’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: JUANES AND MON LAFERTE-Tiny Desk Concert #746 (May 23, 2018).

Juanes did a solo Tiny Desk Concert back in 2011.  Amusingly, seven years ago the blurb said: The blurb says that “he usually plays arenas and large venues, so it’s a treat to see him up close like this,” (see the third quoted paragraph below).

Colombian pop star Juanes and Chilean singer Mon Laferte recently wrapped up a sold-out tour of the United States, which (lucky for us) included a stop at the Tiny Desk.

Laferte began the concert solo with the torch song “Pa’ Dónde Se Fue” (Where Did You Go?). She sang the break-up story with a smirk that belied the heartache hiding in her poignant lyrics. Then… Juanes joined her to perform the duo’s sultry single, “Amárrame” (Tie Me Up).

It’s rare to see Juanes in such an intimate setting. After almost two decades of performing solo, the Latin pop star is more of a stadium and arena kind of guy. It’s a treat to hear his voice unencumbered by loud speakers or crowd noise, and to see his facial expressions as he sings lyrics that many of us know by heart. This marked a return to the intimacy that fueled his earliest days and that’s still present in the personal lyrics that have sold millions of records.

That intimacy was heightened by the presence of Laferte. The duo performed a PG-13 version of “Amárrame,” a passionate pop song with lyrics reminiscent of 50 Shades Of Grey. You can sense an obvious chemistry between the two during that song, as well as on the Juanes classic “Fotografia” (which originally featured Nelly Furtado).

Juanes closed out the concert solo with a stripped-down version of “Es Tarde” from his last album, Mis Planes Son AmarteThe performance demonstrates why Juanes and Laferte’s duet tour sold out across the U.S. this year. There is a magic here that makes for repeated viewing. It’s that much fun to watch.


  • “Pa’ Dónde Se Fue” (Where Did You Go?) by Mon Laferte. She sings and plays guitar and has a beautiful, powerful voice.
  • “Amárrame {Tie Me Up} [feat. Juanes]” by Mon Laferte.  An additional guitarist plays the cool funky riff while Mon Laferte sings (and rolls her r’s beautifully).  Juanes sings (and makes some asides, “Mon Dios!”) the (beautiful, soaring) chorus and alternating verses.  They sound fantastic together, with his voice being particularly sultry and steamy.
  • “Fotografía [feat. Mon Laferte]” by Juanes.  This is a sweet ballad, with again both singers playing off of each other and joking with each other (there’s a phone gag that is pretty funny).  It’s delightful.  And their voices meld perfectly once again.
  • “Es Tarde” by Juanes.  It’s just him singing on this one (with the guitarist on accompaniment).  His voice has a slight gravel to it but is mostly smooth and delightful.  The middle of the song has a kind of whispered spoken word.  It’s quite obvious why he is a megastar.

[READ: January 22, 2017] “The End of the End of the World”

This is an essay about birding in the Antarctic and the death of Franzen’s Uncle Walt.  Both of these stories were fascinating.

Two year earlier, Franzen’s Uncle Walt died and left hims $78,000.  Wow.  (My uncle left me a pitchfork and sheep shears).  He wasn’t expecting it, so he decided to do something special with it in honor of his Uncle.  He had been planning a big vacation with his longtime girlfriend, so this seemed like the thing to us it for.  When he suggested a deluxe cruise to Antarctica, she was puzzled but agreed.

After booking the cruise, he was filled with reservations, and so was she.  Her concerns were more serious–an ailing parent–and his were just nerves.

He intersperses this trip with memories of his Uncle.  Like in August of 1976 when he found out that Walt’s daughter had died in a car crash.  Walt and his wife Irma were his godparents, although his mother couldn’t stand Irma (Franzen’s father’s sister).  She said that Irma had been spoiled at the expense of his father.  Walt was far more likable anyhow. (more…)

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dispSOUNDTRACKTHE PRETTIOTS–Tiny Desk Concert #448 (June 15, 2015).

prettiotI hadn’t heard of the Prettiots before this set, but I loved them right from the bat.  The band plays super catchy, simple (funny) pop songs.  Kay Kasparhauser plays ukulele and lead vocals and bassist Lulu Prat sings great harmonies.  Kasparhauser is quite mobile, singing and bouncing around.  While Prat almost stares down the camera.  Meanwhile,  drummer Rachel Trachtenburg from the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players sits mostly stone faced as she thumps along on the drum.

Their songs are rather funny (even when they aren’t).  The first song “Boys (I Dated In High School)” names the boys she dated, whether they were good at sex and why she dumped them.  All with a call and response in the verses that’s fantastic.

“Stabler” is an ode to the guy From Law and Order, which I don’t watch, but I can still appreciate it.  It ups the musicianship a bit from the much simpler first song.

“Suicide Hotline” is a humorous look at a dark subject: The lyrics name check lots of famous suicides and starts with the lyric “On a scale of 1 to Plath I’m like a 4.”  Prat switches to guitar for this last song and it boosts the sound a bit.

I actually don’t know what the band really sounds like–I sort of picture them being bigger and more punk, and yet their lyrics work perfectly in this more acoustic style.  (They have two songs on Spotify and they are still quite acoustic in their sound).  I’m looking forward to hearing more from them.

[READ: July 15, 2015] Displacement

I enjoyed An Age of License, even if I didn’t always love Knisley’s attitude.  This book, which is sort of a companion to License (although not really, it’s more like another travelogue released around the same time as the first one), was something I wanted to read.

In a nutshell this book is another travelogue, but it is not anything like the previous one.  In this one, Lucy volunteers to go on a cruise with her 90 year old grandparents.  The grands wanted to go on the trip, but no one in the family felt that they should go alone.  Lucy thought it would be a good way to spend time with her grands and also to get a chance to enjoy a cruise (which she would never be able to afford).

Knisley ends each “chapter/day” of the cruise with a quote (and her own illustration) from a book that her grandfather wrote about being in the war.  A decade or so ago he decided to put down all of his memories about his time in the service.  He had them bound and gave a copy to each of his children.  And his stories are exciting and scary and thoughtful.  (I wouldn’t be surprised if Knisley had the whole book published with her illustrations–I’d certainly read it).  So, after a trying day with the grands, we get a perspective of the man she was looking after as a young man in a really serious situation. (more…)

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