Ceci Bastida - Veo La Marea

Veo La Marea, Ceci Bastida
EMI Music, Mexico
Rating: 84 ****
by Carlos Reyes

Enter Veo La Marea and experience the aggressive mantra, the summation of militant songs made out of well-executed ideas and sonic venture. After providing a generation with a true classic as “Pobre de Ti” and making the best version of “Spanish Bombs” one can think of with Tijuana No!, Ceci Bastida’s solo career is at full throttle with Veo La Marea, her compelling and completely triumphant first solo album. While most female singers around chop their emotions through sympathetic corners, Ceci’s serves from aggressive styling, which can be beautiful too, and above all, very rhythmic. Veo La Marea is not an angry album; it just reveals actual warmth from social-political topics and relationships through unsuspected, captivating stern.

Veo La Marea can be considered a victorious comeback, but also a revelation. Without never really leaving ‘the scene’, Ceci’s path to her long-awaited LP had given us signals of a potential grandeur piece coming our way. Her 2007 release Front BC EP was impressive, but when “Controlar” showed up last year, then we knew we were in front of something special. “Controlar” is a mixture of fizzy bouncing beats making their way to independence, in pop idiom, it’s synth texture taking action. The song produced by Brooklyn madmen XXXChange has the spirit of a slow-burner, one that turns provocative, reflective and self-resolving. That dazzling force in “Controlar” is reflective of the album’s tone and eclecticism. First single “Como Soy” is a tricky accelerated jam in the best of Robyn, close to the heart and strangely adequate for the dance floor. While desperate, "Como Soy" is beautifully devastating, "que me puedas tu volver a ver a los ojos como lo hacias antes."

“Se que tu la necesitas y yo te la vendere,” Mexico’s state of narco violence finally gets a pop frame in “Have You Heard”, a sweltering cultural and political jam powerfully boosted by Diplo. Without trying to save the world or making a travelogue, Ceci gets down to the bone, “Narco, narco have you heard? Drugs and money gonna kill the world… why so many gotta end up dead?” The song gets truly emotional when she sings about youth growing to become part of the organized crime, “viendo lo que otros tenian creci, y yo prometi que algun dia seria a mi a quien verian asi.” Ceci parallels some very important time-framing songs with even more significant personal songs. Everything here sounds uncompromised, yet so honest at the same time; it’s Ceci pouring her heart out.

Much of Veo La Marea resonates from the brass instrument family, the ideal soundscape for Ceci’s delectable hyperbole to take full effect. Emotions rise high in the boiling “Cuando Vuelvas a Caer”, a feisty tune celebrating departure in a woman-on-top sassy way. In the same page, “No Te Digan Que No” and “No Me Conoceras” shout on inner confidence to deal with the obstacles in the path towards becoming the best you can be. Another higlight is Niña Dioz's collaboration in “Empieza a Amanecer”, one of the catchiest songs here and a true hip-hop jam. It’s refreshing to hear an album with this much instrumental complexity not falling into the wall-of-sound catharsis, but above all, it’s Ceci’s ownership of the medium what makes the album one of the year’s essentials.