It is often said (and accepted either willingly or tacitly, but accepted for good) that these works we love the most are the ones we feel we could have created ourselves. Any work of art strikes a true chord when the story that is narrated is one we feel we could have expressed ourselves, using the very same codes and nuances. It applies to books. It applies to movies. It applies to paintings. And it applies to music, the most direct art of them all. The saddest and the most uplifting conveyances are shaped there.
Still, some say that happiness doesn’t really lead to great works. And there is more than an inkling of truth to that. If anything, it explains the sheer number of albums available where the performer pours his despondency in every word and note. The fact remains that ever since singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell began articulating personal turmoil in a context that vanished all barriers separating a performer from its public, recording albums that bristled and crackled with disillusionment has become a truly common practice.
More than a few listeners might complain there is a superabundance of such albums. But that is tantamount to saying that there is a set limit of possible answers to the questions posed by sentimental relationships. That is why these albums keep on being produced and released. Some will speak more directly to specific listeners than others. Some answers will hold truer poignancy than others.
And I have just found one that says all I’d have liked to say just a couple of years ago, when I wrote my first book, “Once”. It is by Uruguayan musician Lucas Meyer, and it has been issued by independent label Esquizodelia Records. The name of the album is “Un Accidente Feliz” [A Happy Accident], and like every other record released by the label you can download it for free.
Simply put, it is an album that deals with a romantic rupture. Yet, the corresponding rapture is never far away from the singer’s cinematic focus. It’s as if at the edge of the screen something were happening just outside of the camera’s reach. We never get to see it. But we manage to intuit it, and fill in the major gaps ourselves.
The relationship is revised in retrospect through a voice that is equally capable of expressing “La próxima vez/Voy a involucrarme un poco más/Para tener/Algo para recordar” [Next time/I’ll try to get a little more involved/So that I’ll have/Something to remember] and “Con vos/Va a ser mejor/No hablar/De amor/Va a ser mejor/Demostrártelo” [With you/It’ll be preferable/Not to talk/About love/It’ll be better/Just to show it].
And songs like “Estrella Muerta” [Dead Star] and “Palabras De Desprecio” [Words Of Contempt] deal with the incendiary feelings of dismissal that go with any separation. There’s just no way to “Encontrar La Explicación” [Find The Explanation]. But that’s never a deterrent when the damage has already been done.
On a personal note, I really appreciate the album’s economy. It is obvious that Lucas had enough songs to fill 4 discs if he wanted. He decided to keep everything concise. More than a couple of songs clock at little more than one minute. When reviewing Mateo Moreno’s debut a couple of months ago I found myself remarking that less is often more. “Un Accidente Feliz” is a good example of that.
The conciseness of the record is also palpable in its arrangements. Instrumentation is kept intimate, prioritizing guitars and keeping drum flourishes to a bare minimum. Everything is played by Lucas Meyer and Pau O’Bianchi, who also produced the album. And the vocals are phased, rendering them more or less intelligibly according to the degree of acrimony (and even rancor) that needs to be conveyed. Sometimes, they are hard to be understood. That’s just fine. More than often, too much clarity can darken what is being shown.
The conclusion of the album is ineluctable. “Siempre aunque te olvide/Vas a estar en mí/Siempre aunque te odie/Vas a ser para mí/Lo único que me hace vivir” [Even I forget you/You’ll always be in me/Even if I hate you/You will always be/The only thing that makes me live].
Someone once said, “Growing up is learning to lose some things”. That’s quite accurate. But “Un Accidente Feliz” puts a finer point on it by reminding everybody that only what is lost is ours forever. Is that a “happy” conclusion? Is that a “sad” conclusion? No. It is a true conclusion. And when all is said and done, your enjoyment of the whole album will be determined by how much you are willing to let that truth sink in.