#28 – Tom Zé – Parque Industrial

from Tropicália, or Panis et Circenses (Philips, 1968)

Original lyrics:

É somente requentar
E usar,
É somente requentar
E usar,
Porque é made, made, made, made in Brazil.
Porque é made, made, made, made in Brazil.

Retocai o céu de anil
Bandeirolas no cordão
Grande festa em toda a nação.
Despertai com orações
O avanço industrial
Vem trazer nossa redenção.

Tem garota-propaganda
Aeromoça e ternura no cartaz,
Basta olhar na parede,
Minha alegria
Num instante se refaz

Pois temos o sorriso engarrafadão
Já vem pronto e tabelado
É somente requentar
E usar,
É somente requentar
E usar,
Porque é made, made, made, made in Brazil.
Porque é made, made, made, made in Brazil.

Retocai o céu de anil, … … … etc.

A revista moralista
Traz uma lista dos pecados da vedete
E tem jornal popular que
Nunca se espreme
Porque pode derramar.

É um banco de sangue encadernado
Já vem pronto e tabelado,
É somente folhear e usar,
É somente folhear e usar.

Translated ones:

You just have to cook it over again
You just have to use, to cook it
Because it is made, made, made, made in Brazil
Because it is made, made, made, made in Brazil

Retouch the indigo, pennants on the wire
A big celebration throughout the country
Wake through prayers
The industrial progress
Will redeem our nation

Models, air comissioners, tenderness for sale
Just look at the wall
My whole happines in an instant just being remade

Because we have the bottled smile
It comes ready to use and with a price tag on it
You just have to cook it over again
You just have to use, to cook it
Because it is made, made, made, made in Brazil
Because it is made, made, made, made in Brazil

The conservative review
Brings a list of the show girls sins
And there’s tabloids
Which you can never squeeze
Because it can spill

It’s a bounded blood bank
It’s ready to use and it already has a price tag on it
You just have to flick through nd use it
Just have to flick through and use it

This is one of the standout tracks from the album and one I have so much thing to say about I don’t even know where to start. It was also re-recorded for Tom Zé’s debut album, Grande Liquidação, released the same year. As an historian, this song offers me once again a chance to talk at lenghts about Brazil’s modernization process, which is what this song most remind me of.

Up until the 50s, Brazilian industry was small and mass culture was virtually non-existent in Brazil, with the exception of some big movie or radio stars. Starting in this decade, especially with Juscelino Kubitschek’s administration (1955-1960), Brazilian industry got a big boost and Brazilian culture started to “surrender” more explicitely to North American culture. It was the years of rock and roll, the beginning of a car culture in Brazil and the great modernist project that was Brasília. It was also a decade in which the Brazilian government got really indebted to foreign investment agencies in order to keep the industry going. Needless to say, all this was made with small-to-none investment in infra-structure, so Kubitschek’s slogan that the country would fast-forward 50 years in 5 actually meant that it’s future would became shadowy and uncertain.

One of the banners of Brazil’s industrialization process was the concept of “substitution of imports”, through which what Brazil bought already made would be fabricated in Brazil, so it wouldn’t need to import the manufactured goods. I think that’s what Tom Zé is thinking when he speaks of “made in Brazil”.

In the sixties, the penetration of North American culture continued, as Tropicália shows it. One of its foremost symbols was Coca-Cola and the ready-to-use thing that you could buy at markets and supermarkets. I think the song also satirizes middle class dependency on buying things to distinguish itself from the others.

There’s a well-known poem by Décio Pignatari which jokes about all this. It’s part of the concretist movement in Brazilian culture, which I’ll talk more about when we come to “Bat-Macumba” in this album. The poem is as follows:

beba

The poet changes the words “beba coca cola “(drink Coke) to “cloaca”, which means asshole (as the animals have it) or sewage. Coke = Garbage, in other words.

That was only one reaction to all this, as Tropicália was another. That’s how Brazil got modern.

Another note: when Tom Zé says that the sky is “anil”, he references one of the slogans propagated by the dictatorship, the one in which the Brazilian heart is “verde, amarelo, branco, azul-anil”. It appeared on a Jovem Guarda propaganda track recorded by Os Incríveis titled “Eu te amo, Meu Brasil”, or “I love you, this Brazil of mine”. You can check this disgusting piece here.

In order to finish, I think the companion piece to this song is Luís Sérgio Person’s São Paulo S/A, one of the landmarks of the Cinema Novo movement, in which it shows the effects of modern society over the life of one man, Carlos. I guess that’s how paulistanos still live their lives.

#8 – Tom Zé – Correio da Estação do Brás

(the songs starts at 6:18 in the video above)

from Correio da Estação do Brás (Continental, 1978)

Original lyrics:

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana
quem quiser mandar recado
remeter pacote
uma carta cativante
a rua numerada
o nome maiusculoso
pra evitar engano
ou então que o destino
se destrave longe.
Meticuloso, meu prazer
não tem medida,
chegue aqui na quinta-feira
antes da partida.

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana (2x)

Me dê seu nome pra no
caso de o destinatário
ter morrido ou se mudado
eu não ficar avexado
e possa trazer de volta
o que lá fica sem dono.
nem chegando nem voltando
ficando sem ter pousada
como uma alma penada.

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana (2x)

De forma que não achando
o seu prezado parente
eu volto em cima do rastro
na semana reticente
devolvo seu envelope
intacto, certo e fechado.
odeio disse-me-disse
condeno a bisbilhotice.

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana (2x)

Se se der o sucedido
me aguarde aqui no piso
pois voltando com a resposta,
notícia, carta ou pacote
— ou até lhe devolvendo
o desencontro choroso
da missão desincumprida
estarei aqui na certa
sete domingos seguidos
a partir do mês em frente.
Palavra de homem racha
mas não volta diferente.

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana (2x)

Um carta cativante
O nome maiusculoso
pra evitar engano
O seu presado parente
na semana reticente
Notícia, carta ou pacote
— ou até lhe devolvendo
o desencontro choroso
da missão desincumprida
estarei aqui na certa
sete domingos seguidos
a partir do mês em frente.
Palavra de homem racha
mas não volta diferente.

Eu viajo quinta-feira
Feira de Santana (varias vezes)

The translation:

I travel Thursday
Feira de Santana
Whoever wants to leave a message
Send a package
A cheering letter
[State] the address number
The name in capital letters
To avoid confusion
Or then leave destiny
Do its way
Meticulous,
My pleasure is unbounded,
Arrive here on thursday
Before I leave

Give me your name in case
The addressee is dead
Or have left
I don’t get embarrassed
And I can bring back
This thing which has no owner
Neither leaving nor coming
Without a place to stay
Like an unreaped soul

So that if I don’t find
Your beloved relative
I come back his trail
In this diffident week
I give back your envelope
Intact, sure and closed
I hate rumour
I abhorr snooping

If that happens,
Wait for me here,
Because if I come back with the answer,
News, Letter or parcel
– or even if I return it to you
The lacrimous misencounter
of the unaccomplished mission
I’ll be here certainly
Seven sundays in a row
Beginning the next month
A man’s word can break
But it doesn’t becomes another.

One captivating letter
The name in capitals
To avoid mistakes
Your beloved relative
In this diffident week
News, letter or parcel
– or even If i return it to you
the weeping misencounter
of the unaccomplished mission
I’ll be here certainly
Seven Sundays in a row
Beginning the next month
A man’s word can break
But it doesn’t becomes another.

Sorry, my internet just didn’t worked yesterday after I’ve posted the other lyrics. So TODAY is the two lyrics day.

I must say sometimes I don’t quite get the criteria behind Souljazz selections for the Brazil 70 compilation. Why not selecting a cut from Estudando o Samba, Tom Zé’s classical work from this period and the one who got the attention of David Byrne leading to his rediscovery? Or any other album before it? This 1978 is one of the most “normal” sounding from Tom Zé, much like those two 1974 LP’s by Captain Beefheart which he later dismissed. This song, though, I have to say, is great.

The whole album is related to it in its lyrics. Brás is a neighborhood in São Paulo, one of the most traditional ones. Nowadays, it is inhabited mostly by Nordestinos (like Tom Zé) and it is most famous for its clothing factories and stores. The song relates to those who went South to São Paulo looking for work and their relatives, who stayed in Northeastern Brazil (as Feira de Santana is a town in Bahia). The next song, “Carta”, letter, embodies the same feeling of saudade between the ones who went and those who stayed and that is lost in between.

There are two cool things to look down in the translation. The first two verses have a great rhyme established between “I travel Thurday/Feira de Santana”. Thursday, in Portuguese, is Quinta-Feira. The day’s names in Portuguese have lost their original words relating to the pagan gods (just like Spanish still have) and received instead an ordinal numbered sequence related to something religious which an overzealous Portuguese monarch once felt was right. Anyway, the week starts on Sunday (Domingo), goes through Monday (which is, I dare you guess, segunda-feira and not primeira-feira) and so on. To travel Thursday it means the narrator will spend the weekend with his relatives in Northeastern Brazil, a thing he does not do often neither the person who he’s speaking with. The rhyme goes on the end of the first verse and the middle of the second, just like this:

Eu viajo quinta-FEIRA/FEIRA de Santana

I just love this.

The second cool thing to look down is that I’ve translated alma penada as “unreaped soul”. In Portuguese folklore, a soul which is still haunting the living ones is called alma penada, because it was condemned – for any number of reasons – to stay down here and not going to heaven or anywhere else. I’ve translated it as unreaped as to indicate that the soul has not been met by the Grim Reaper, which has a duty to take it to the other side. To be like an alma penada means to hang around without knowing what to do, waiting for something which may never come.

I hope I haven’t depressed you all after uncovering the song’s meaning!