Los Lobos’ debut album from 1984 is beautiful and portentous. It doesn’t explicitly predict the boundaries the band would push and explore throughout their career, but it melds styles–American styles like Country & Western and Rhythm & Blues, along with Mexican styles with which I have no familiarity–in an effortless way; it sounds effortless to produce and it is effortless to fall into. It’s been said by numerous writers with more cred than me, and I’ve heard the band say it themselves, that this is a reflection of their Mexican-American upbringing in East L.A.
Upbeat. That’s what I come away with from this album every time. The first three songs with lyrics all deal with a theme of “don’t worry” and “it’ll be all right,” some more genuinely than others. The music’s light in an effervescent way, not in a bubble gum way. The band never gets in its own way. Take the lyrics of “I Got Loaded” for example: “Night before last/I got loaded/On a bottle of gin/And I feel all right.” Last night it was whiskey and tonight it will be wine. That’s it. Perhaps a commentary on alcoholism, but on its face a wonderful party tune, an ode to celebration for celebration’s sake.
– “A Matter Of Time,” “I Got Loaded,” “Evangeline,” “I Got To Let You Know”
– “Don’t Worry Baby,” “Corrido #1,” “Our Last Night,” “The Breakdown,” “Serenata Nortena,” “Lil’ King Of Everything,” “Will The Wolf Survive?”
Filed Between: Los Amigos Invisibles (Super Pop Venezuela) and Los Lobos’ By The Light Of The Moon
Song Notes: After the jump
- Don’t Worry Baby – Real hard rocker.
- A Matter Of Time – A man leaves his wife and kid to cross the border, find work, and start a “better life.” But not in a gritty, sad Springsteen way…in a super sweet, hopeful, beautiful way.
- Corrido #1 – One of the most Mexi-influenced ones on the disc to my ears.
- Our Last Night –
- The Breakdown – Fun, dancy.
- I Got Loaded – Great lyrics. So simple, yet so great.
- Serenata Nortena – Another Mexi-one.
- Evangeline – Along with “A Matter Of Time,” one of the two best songs on the disc. Like that one, a brilliant melding of lyrics, melody, rhythm…just perfect.
- I Got To Let You Know – Great.
- Lil’ King Of Everything – short instrumental. Weakest spot on album but I think they had to pull down from hard rocking of last track to next.
- Will The Wolf Survive? – Quite good. Always thought it was Native American metaphor. I guess it’s about wolves. Maybe even themselves.