Rio, Aterciopelados

Nacional Records, Colombia

By Carlos Reyes

How many times do we have to say it? Aterciopelados might just be the best Latin rock band of all time, but Café Tacvba is around, and so we find it impossible to decide between musical treasures. Andrea Echeverri and Hector Buitrago arrived at the right moment, with one of the most radical visions in the emerge of rock en español, and they keep delivering marvelous pieces into their transcendental discography. Ever since Gozo Poderoso (2001), the duo has taken on a search for bright themes for our earth, accentuating nature and a handful of benefits as a consequence of optimism and positivism. Andrea and Hector released solo albums a few years ago, only to comeback with the amazingly profound Oye! and now Rio, which could be read as an equally vibrant continuation.

Aterciopelados embraces social protestation with their most powerful weapons, their lyrics. Having something to say isn’t sufficient to make an artist socially conscious, but these two visionaries manifest their unconditional offerings through deep-felt beautiful poems that happen to be singed and instrumented. Many years of Guerilla resistance have imposed national and individual fear in Colombia, the music of Aterciopelados smoothens the political tension through an auditory war of its own, one of peaceful and cosmic directions. I usually don’t tolerate artists exposing their art at maximum zooming (like a photographer chasing a victim of war), even if they are well intentioned, but Aterciopelados has the sensibility to depict reality, contemplate it and provide options to form change.

First single “Rio” asks us to send our rivers some oxygen, to send prayers and hope for the fish to comeback. The song humanizes our rivers and seals a connection between nature and our bodies, both in need of clean waters. The backgrounds are particularly outstanding; Andrea Echeverri and Hector Buitrago are true mavericks of atmospheric sensibility. “Vienen las aguas del rio, corriendo, cantando! por la ciudad van soñando ser limpias, ser claras”, one of the great singles of the year. Also astonishing is “28” which shares a lot with “A Eme O” a single from Andrea Echeverri’s 2005 solo album. The title of the song refers to the menstrual cycle, “the blood didn’t arrive in the 28th day,” pregnancy had never been so poetically presented in any song before. For those complaining that their music doesn’t evolve just listen to a song like “Vals” or “Ataque de Risa”, there is no niche in their music or a comfort zone, just a direction.

They have released a video for “Hijos de Tigre”, a song for the film La Milagrosa (Rafa Lara, 2008) about the guerrilla and military repression in their country. “Bandera” is one of the great direct songs on immigration and a strong defensive song on those limiting our path towards our dream. Rio is fun and nostalgic, and in a way a sibling of another record this year, oddly not from a Latino band but from the Fleet Foxes self-titled album (one of the year’s ultimate best). Rio is charged with folk and traditional Iberoamerican lyricism that most international media would fail to fully appreciate, but their vision is so wide that the album is not only universally appealing but a charmingly persuasive document of action.

Numeric Rating: 89
♫♫♫ “Rio” (Via People en Español)
♫♫♫ “28” (Via Latina Magazine)
Buy it @ amazon


  1. I bought this one, and I like it, but not as much as I liked OYE!

    It's around a 77-85 rating for me.

  2. Yo tenía mucho miedo cuando anunciaron que el disco se llamaba
    "Río" y que iba a tener una tendencia ecologista (inspirados en la contaminación del Rio Bogota)

    Cuando los artistas dan esos giros temáticos pueden terminar convirtiendose en predicadores, y ya Andrea Echeverri había dado un giro importante al incluir a la maternidad en buena parte de sus temas, lo que generó rechazo en muy buena parte de su base de fans

    Por ahora quedo satisfecho con el resultado de este disco, que creo puede llegar a tener buen eco dentro del público a pesar de que a Aterciopelados no los suenan en radio hace mucho rato. Me gustó mucho que hayan acudido a beats latinos nuevamente y exploraciones con el rap, pero manteniendo el sonido de rock acustico al que regresaron con Oye luego de su tránsito por el Trip Hop y los sonidos electrónicos.

    Sin embargo sigo extrañando la fuerza de las letras e instrumentación de sus primeros trabajos. Es cierto, todos crecemos, todos cambiamos y Los Aterciopelados ya no son los jovenes del "Bolero Falaz" o "Cosita seria". Pero añoro esa época de la banda (sin desconocer que sus trabajos mas recientes son obras maestras).

    Eso si, No veo en "Hijos de Tigre" más que a una canción retórica. Que viene de una película como "La Milagrosa", bien producida pero muy light, incapaz de ser contundente en el rechazo a los terrositas de las FARC.

  3. Por cierto ya existen varios reviews de "Rio" en la red. Rolling Stone USA le da tres estrellas y media, y la revista virtual Paste le da 90/100.

    Parece que en general fue muy bien recibido !!!

  4. * "On 'Rio', they rock hard without losing that velvety touch. I can't remember when a CD offered so many melodies you just want to curl up with and caresss." - NPR "ALL THINGS CONSIDERED"

    * "Andrea Echeverri offers prayers for the polluted Bogotá River over the sultry, syncopated funk rock of "Río"... Girl's got flow, like Rio itself." - ROLLING STONE

    * "Aterciopelados bring a new and resonant maturity to its latest release... [they] audaciously and convincingly reinvent themselves like no one's business... [and] Andrea Echeverri's spunkiness is cool, contemplative, mature and poetic, as well as unabashedly confrontational." - THE WASHINGTON POST

    * "Polished-yet-punchy rock on their addictive seventh album... projecting unflappable confidence." - SPIN

    * "The miracle of Aterciopelados is that it backs up its message songs with beautiful, infectious music... 'Rio' is no exception." - BILLBOARD

  5. i love it! i still don't get my copy of this masterpiece because it's been hadr to find it in stores, but i actuallly think this is their best work so far, i miss the old times too, even if i were too young to understand what they meant, now i know they're the best act in latin america, they just ramain unique and authentic, by the way when you say atercios should be the best act in latinamerica, but cafetas are around, it's just accurate. it's quite hard to decide, they both have been working for more than 20 years, i have seen both acts live and i have to admit that i enjoyed more with aterciopelados! they're the best then ?????
    who cares this is music for everyone
    thnaks for such wonderful review, but it desewrved 5 stars