Review Ana Tijoux – La Bala
It was 2010 when I first discovered 1977. No that’s not the opening line from a young adult, time-travel novel; its when a good friend sat me down and showed me Ana Tijoux’s breakout album, 1977. I was instantly enthralled with this strong female voice spitting Spanish stanzas over hard-hitting beats, becoming hooked as this French Chilean rapera started to gain traction as an international artist.
Skip a beat to 2012 and Ana Tijoux has a new album. La Bala, or “The Bullet” is Ana’s shot at the power-hungry leaders of an inequitable society. Whereas her first album was a poetic journey that showed off her talents as an MC, La Bala is a political statement that combines tones of marching anthems and reflective poems.
The album commences with the title track, set to a military-style snare drum beat. I picture myself painting “La Educación es una Derecha” on my Chilean flag as I prepare for a world-famous Chilean student protest. As I awake the next morning, and round up my group of young social activists, the song, “Shock” is played on repeat, hanging on every word, for today is the day Ana, myself, and the thousands of teenage students will change political and social structures.
The emotion and anger that consumes Tijoux as she begins this album is a testament to her passion for her music as a means for social change. This continues on “Desclasificado”, a comment on the classist stereotypes that harm society and gaps in economic levels that plague a rapidly growing country.
However, the entire album is not political. In fact, the second half of the album shines a light on Tijoux’s brighter side. Jazz, soul and R&B offer downtempo melodies for her unwinding, feminine side. “Sacar la Voz” featuring Jorge Drexler presents a refreshing, singing voice to complement Ana’s smooth rhymes. “Quizas” featuring Mónica Blaire flows into poetry about an unsure path where our futures will take us, and the relationships we hold important to one another.
Ana Tijoux does a great job in showcasing as many different styles in one album as some lyricists realise in a career. La Bala continues to bounce from hardcore rap with scratches and rips to soft verses draped over piano, guitar, and psychedelic riffs. Themes of love, struggle, outrage, and voice unite the album as Ana Tijoux has created a work of art that unifies a country and a local movement.
Though singing in Spanish, her ideas are portrayed through raw emotion and the flow of the tracks, giving the music international appeal. In a period of great social uprising and clash, Ana’s hits will be played from the streets of Santiago de Chile to Cairo, Egypt and even possibly Occupy Wall Street NY.
La Bala has been available in Chile and South America since last year but is released in the US and UK on January 31st 2012.
Download “La Bala”, the lead track from the album below:
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