SODA STEREO – Canción Animal (1990)

Review by: Nina A
Album assigned by: Charly Saenz

Soda Stereo, I like you. I like your hooks and your steady rhythms and songs that take just the right time to unravel and build momentum. I like the solid bass playing and the fuzzyish guitar sound and the earnest drumming and occasional horns, just nice, nice production.
Now, I regrettably do not speak Spanish so I don’t know the hidden meaning behind the lions mating on the album cover. Or maybe I do, Canción Animal probably means Animal Song and what is more animal than mating? Maybe eating and sleeping but come on, the title track sounds sexy. And did he mention “amor”?
But yeah, despite not speaking Spanish, I can imagine that this powerful, steady almost arena-like music tackles some important issues of the human condition that are just as important now as they were in 1990. In fact, maybe they were even more important in 1990. Music was important back in this pre-mass Internet access age and this album sounds very big and important – there is even a song that refers to year of 1990 and I am sure it has something insightful to say of the zeitgeist of the era. Or take this other song – Un Millón de años Luz – in which the protagonist urges you not to return without a reason because he’ll be a million light years away from home? When was that not relevant? I am not being ironic, I totally trust these guys and the quality of their work.
Truth be told, the big, steady drumming, the steady bass and the overall production values remind me of another power trio on the cusp of the 90s – Crowded House – but the similarities probably end there because Soda Stereo seem to be much more new wave inspired and much more straightforward with their big sound and to-the-point songwriting. And if I have conjured the image of some U2-style arena rockers into your head, rest assured that there is something quite different, very unique and possibly quite Ibero-American about Soda Stereo’s sound on this album. In fact, do play it, and see if you are not tempted to join Gustavo Cerati in singing “Es igual, es igual”, whatever that might mean, on the opening track already.