CD Review of Utopia by Belinda

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starstarno starno starno star Label: EMI
Released: 2006
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Dear Boss,

Some CD entitled Utopia by an artist named “Belinda” arrived in my mailbox. Since this wasn’t an “official assignment” handed down through the various Bullz-Eye channels, I figured I’d risk it all and give it a listen anyway. Belinda is apparently a famous popster from Mexico or Spain – I’m not sure which, but her website address does end in “.mx,” so we’ll go with Mexico for now. Anyway, I hope things are great up there in the corporate HQ. The heat is out again for the writers, but I’m sure we’ll manage, what with Larry bringing in a thermos filled with microwaved tap water to share, and all of us continuing to set fire to old stockpiles of Ringo the 5th on LP. The following are my first impressions of the Utopia CD:

  1. I can’t tell if the cover art is sexy or just morose. Belinda is featured with her body arched completely backward and resting on a big pile of books, as if she jumped from the fourth floor of the library and landed on a stack of remainders. Her breasts look nice in the shirt she’s wearing, but the overall pose makes me think twice, which is not “alright,” as Dylan once told me. The back cover photo reveals Belinda to look like a cross between Janice Dickinson and actress Jennifer Coolidge. Somewhat frightening. And as I lift the CD from its tray, a photo is revealed of Belinda pointing at me while standing in some traffic. I don’t know what the hell she wants.

  2. After looking through the rest of the packaging – featuring many more photos of Belinda looking cornered, distraught, and contemplative – I finally put the CD in my player. The first song is the title track. What the hell? I can’t understand a word. Is this some sort of planned snafu from the higher-ups, boss? I took two years of Latin in high school, not Spanish. The language “issue” would not be a problem were the music catchy, like Pizzicato Five’s, but this music is soft-on dance pop that could easily fit in on the 50-kajillion gigawatt stations in L.A.

  3. The song “Ni Freud ni tu Mama” has an intro that sounds like background music in a commercial featuring a new space-age vehicle decked out with the latest GPS, mp3 player-compatibility, cup holders, and DVD player. It then goes on for three more minutes. We all know that commercials work best when kept under a minute. Of course, in the old days (the ‘80s to me and you, boss), Sports Illustrated never learned this, and went on way too long in its efforts to give away crappy duffel bags and footballs with paid subscriptions.

  4. Belinda finally tries out her English-speaking skills on “See a Little Light.” Unfortunately, it’s a dull ballad, even though she definitely seems to be a bilingual master. She gets back to her “roots” on “Bella Traicion,” which sounds like another commercial colliding into a calculated “heavy” chorus in which all the processed guitars erupt into a sterile fury before calming back down at the verses.

  5. The more I listen, the more I’m distracted by the nagging feeling that the heat is not going to get fixed down here. Belinda tries on some different shoes for “Contigo o sin Ti,” sounding a bit like Jellyfish mixed with whatever Jared Leto’s doing nowadays with that wannabe band of his. Hang on; Larry’s cracking out that tap water now.

  6. Having now listened to the rest of Utopia, I can safely say it won’t sell in the U.S. We already have enough heavily processed “rock” featuring female lead vocals; another album full of things that probably sounded cool in 2001 isn’t going to stand out, even if Belinda does have the bilingual thing going for her. The closing song, “Never Enough,” actually features Belinda singing “cha-ching” as a cash register does the same thing in the background. She might get plenty “cha-ching” back home, but we all want more emo and Lady Sovereign over here. Anyway, it looks like Larry also brought along Hi-Ho Cherry-O, so we’re going to kill some time with that now. Bye bye.

~Jason Thompson