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Sergio Mendes - Timeless

Sergio Mendes, Timeless

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

SERGIO Mendes is the most internationally successful Brazilian artist of all time and he’s decided to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Brasil 66 with a re-working of a selection of his finest songs.

Timeless is therefore a collection of samba and bossanova style classics that have been given a contemporary pop, dance and hip-hop edge by Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas fame.

World Cup fans will already have a pretty good idea of what to expect – given that one of the album’s biggest hits, Mas Que Nada has been adopted by the Brazilian football team for their Nike adverts.

The same track has also been released as a single featuring The Black Eyed Peas. Like much of the rest of the album, it takes Mendes’ sparkling piano and merges it seamlessly with the BEP’s own particular brand of hip-hop and rap to create one of the most unshamedly feel-good anthems of the summer.

The remainder of the album is similarly hot, featuring a stellar cast of guests that include Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake, John Legend, Jill Scott, Jurassic 5, Q-tip, Erykah Badu and many others.

The collaborations therefore provide an exciting juxtaposition of the young with the legendary, offsetting Latin and African polyrhythms with American urban music.

Highlights include That Heat, which combines some heady samba rhythms with a lazy hip-hop beat, some simple piano chords and the delicious vocals of Erykah Badu (which provide nice respite from Will.I.Am’s urban rapping style).

Q-Tip’s distinct vocals work well on The Frog while Jill Scott provides a performance to drool over on the flirtatious Let Me, which again changes pace several times throughout.

On the extremely infectious Fo’-Hop, the samba/bossanova comes to the fore in a delightful collaboration between Mendes, Guinga and Marcelo D2. It’ll have you shuffling and performing Brazilian party tricks just as effectively as Mas Que Nada.

Not everything works quite so seamlessly, however. The trademark sound of Mendes occasionally gets lost amid the signature sound of some of the performers – especially during Justin Timberlake’s effort, Loose Ends, which also features Pharoahe Monch and Will.I.Am.

While Yes, Yes Y’All featuring Black Thought of The Roots, Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 and Debi Nova and Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas struggles to maintain the right balance between urban hip-hop and Mendes’ sunshine samba style. It’s not a bad record, merely not so in keeping with the overall vibe.

That said, Mendes’ undoubted talent mostly shines through and provides a wonderfully different and eclectic album for fans of just about every musical genre to bask in. As its name suggests, it is Timeless.

Track listing:

  1. Mas Que Nada (Featuring The Black Eyed Peas)
  2. That Heat (Featuring Erykah Badu & Will.I.Am Of The Black Eyed Peas)
  3. Berimbau/Consolacao (Featuring Stevie Wonder & Gracinha Leporace)
  4. The Frog (Featuring Q-Tip)
  5. Let Me (Featuring Jill Scott & Will.I.Am Of The Black Eyed Peas)
  6. Bananeira (Banana Tree) (Featuring Mr. Vegas)
  7. Surfboard (Featuring Will.I.Am Of The Black Eyed Peas)
  8. Please Baby Don’t (Featuring John Legend)
  9. Samba Da Bencao (Samba Of The Blessing) (Featuring Marcelo D2)
  10. Timeless (Featuring India.Arie)
  11. Loose (Featuring Justin Timberlake, Pharoahe Monch & Will.I.Am Of The Black Eyed Peas)
  12. Fo’-Hop (Por Tras De Bras De Pina) (Featuring Guinga & Marcelo D2)
  13. Lamento (No Morro) (Featuring Maogani Quartet)
  14. E Menina (Hey Girl)
  15. Yes, Yes, Y’ All (Featuring Black Thought Of The Roots, Chali 2na Of Jurassic 5, Debi Nova & Will.I.Am Of The Black Eyed Peas)