This is the kind of album that, were it to have come from a pop singer "exploring new musical territory" or "injecting a Latin sound into electronica," might be considered a technical success. It might even get points for daring. Instead, it's the latest from someone claiming to be Daniela Mercury, but bearing little resemblance to the Queen of Axé -- and not just because of the over-airbrushed booklet photos that look disconcertingly like J-Lo. This very slick, overproduced effort (the work of her son, Gabriel Povoas, so maybe it's a generational thing) hides just about everything that Daniela is loved for. Her extraordinarily rich voice, with its wide range, is kept within a very narrow focus. Her born-with-it skill of interpretation, working the contours of each word and note, is kept in check by the talky/rappy/clipped style that most of these tracks require. There's simply no time in these songs for interpretation. This is electronica with a few nods to Brazil. The intent seems to be to show off the sound, not the singer, which is a crime when the singer you've got is Daniela. These tracks could have been recorded by just about anyone, with the same result. Can you say that about O Canto da Cidade? The alegria -- joy -- seems almost entirely gone in the rush to get through the numbers. You'd be hard-pressed to prove that this is the same woman of Feijão com Arroz, the tour-de-force that's generally acknowledged as Daniela's masterpiece. It's understandable that one of the biggest stars in Latin America would want to go for the US market, but this is not the way to go about it. Instead of introducing a broader audience to real, true Daniela Mercury -- how about Elétrica or Eletrodoméstico -- she comes off as a lightweight singer trying desperately to be noticed in the crowded echo chamber of American Top 40 radio. Can you imagine?
Come back, Daniela!