Zoé - MTV Unplugged: Música de Fondo

MTV Unplugged: Música de Fondo, Zoé
Capitol Records
Rating: 60

By Carlos Reyes

Analyzing a band’s profile can be a difficult chore sometimes, especially when you’re confronted with what could be the most lauded band of your generation. Everyone loves a success story, and they’ve earned such respect through the years. Zoé’s current status as the Mexican rock import band is understandable; we however, can’t help but to suggest such attribute is quite inflated. But before feeding into the band’s inevitable backlash, let’s put some things in perspective.

Like many people out there, a couple of years ago (during CF’s first months) I used to endorse the band’s triumphs with eyes closed. Well, I was a teenager back then, and as convenient as it may sound, I can only say I grew out of the Zoé bandwagon once I started to listen to more music. Claiming to be ‘out of the cave’ might seem like an extreme assertion, but that’s the best way I can fundament my change of judgment. MTV Unplugged is the ideal opportunity to mediate Zoé’s hyperbole with its actual merits. In this album, they find themselves among Latin-Rock royalty with guest performers Adrian Dargelos (Babasonicos) and the infamous Enrique Bunbury. Both numbers are appealing but forgettable, it’s the presence of Hello Seahorse!’s LoBlondo who saves the day and keeps things within the concept of the unplugged as an event.

They’re already an amphitheater band, Café Tacvba sees them as their most “obvious” successors, and there are several urban tribes ticketed to their name. But when it comes to the actual transcendence of the band, they come short from the idolization. As our very own Jean-Stephane Beriot once said, “Zoé is half as good as people make it up to be,” and if we’re looking for a measurement, that would be it. We can say is a good, skillful band with some great songs (“No Me Destruyas” is amazing), but far, far away from the true arsenal new great bands from Mexico (Hello Seahorse!, Piyama Party, Bam Bam).

Musica de Fondo is a recollection of their hits reworked into the folksy sound of the MTV Unplugged brand. Like all the previous Latin acts to be inducted into the format, Zoé expands its instrumental spectrum, sometimes refining the track like they do in “Sombras” and “Ultimos Dias”, and sometimes missing the mark completely (“Poli” & “Via Lactea”). As profound as many of the songs are, Zoé isn’t the most charming band in the world; something previous performers have had in abundance (Julieta, Shakira, and even Alejandro Sanz). I won’t go much in detail, but the one time I was able to catch the band live in concert, let’s just say that was like the time George Lopez met Erik Estrada (google it). Personality is rarely an aspect that concerns me, except under this kind of intimate conditions. At the end, Zoé’s chest of songs is actually pretty impressive, and these songs aren’t background music whatsoever, they’re simply lacking the warmth of the occasion, or the TV special.


  1. AMO a Zoe, y no comparto lo de que no es una GRAAAAN banda.

    Pero en fin, me decepciono algo este unplugged, como dice el review, esta como mal manufacturado, muy folky, como que Zoe tuvo que adoptar el formato de MTV, cuando todos esperabamos lo contrario. Bueno, no se, lo padre es que si suena diferente todo, y algunos tracks como "ULTIMOS DIAS" y "VIA LACTEA" quedaron hermosos.

    En cuanto al show, que supongo contaria como por la mitad de toda esta experiencia... pues BASTANTE ABURRIDO.

    Le daria un 7 de 10

  2. I've been been trying to find a download for Protistas' Nortinas War for weeks and I stumble upon this site. It's like digging for treasure and striking oil. I've spent the last hour just browsing. As long as you guys keep posting I'll keep returning.

  3. Ahora que lo mencionas, Shakira y Julieta hicieron un gran trabajo en la instrumentación, Shakira lo electrificó un poco y Julieta le dio mas alma a sus temas, aun no veo el de Zoé, pero por lo poco que he oído, esto se va mas del lado folky y no del contundente electricismo de su ultima entrega, el cual seguramente hubiera derivado en mejores resultados.
    Pasemos a algo mas emocionante!

  4. what do you think about gloria trevi new album?

  5. Appreciate your take as always, but I don't see Zoe as Cafeta's successor or as anything to do with newer bands such as Bam Bam or Hello Seahorse. The more music I hear, the more I fall back in love with Zoe with its rawness, and yes, repetitive use of the words luna, sol and universo. But what the heck, they still have soul after all these years, more than you can say of most bands. "Paula" in this Unplugged esta DESGARRADORA. and yes, Dargelos and Bunbury are lackluster, overshadowed by Leon's magnificent voice, which truly shows how he can roar (pun intended) over those superstars, 9 out of 10.
    (Chetes is amazing here!!)

  6. CF, you're worse than Pitchfork.

  7. aburridisimo el disco