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Marisa Monte - Portas makes popmatters: 10 Best Brazilian Pop Albums of 2021

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These 10 Best Brazilian Pop Albums of 2021 showcase women, LGBTQ+, Northern, and independent artists. It's like 1920s Modernism, but with more diverse faces.
 
popmatters: Ana Clara Ribeiro /writes.....Brazilian music, just like the Brazilian people, is a wide spectrum. It's full of different sounds, accents, and intersections. It's inevitably influenced, and sometimes deliberately fused with, international genres as well. But at its core, Brazilian music has its own unique colours, displayed in a vast array of locally crafted genres. Música popular brasileira (MPB), funk carioca, sertanejo, samba, pagode, forró, bossa nova, chorinho, tecnobrega, vanerão, axé, lambada, brega funk, are just a few of these genres.
 
Right now, the state of pop music in Brazil resembles the artistic movement of Brazilian Modernism in the 1920s. Foreign influences are neither completely rejected nor overly extolled. Paraphrasing the poet Oswald de Andrade (exponent of Brazilian Modernism), it is a time to "swallow" foreign trends and re-craft them in our terms. Artists like Anitta and Rodrigo Amarante are taking Brazilian music out and beyond, forcing locals and foreigners to re-think ideas of what it means to be Latin or to be Brazilian. Inside Brazil, musicians are looking to their own identities and local cultures as their muses. To be unapologetically Brazilian is not just a means to an end for these artists. 
 
As an outcome, 2021 was a year of beautiful, provoking, irresistibly fun Brazilian pop music. It was the year of the brega psychedelia, and the year when you'd hear a forró beat over visuals that resemble a surrealist horror film. But it was also the year of the glamourization of ghetto genres such as pisadinha, coexisting with the rawer versions of it.
 
Trans and non-binary artists have once again shown that LGBTQ+ art is one of the most powerful forces of pop and MPB. The North and Northeast regions, which for decades were subject to elitist tropes (which President Jair Bolsonaro continues to insist on), shone in the embracement of their pop culture. Women and Black artists continue to be a fundamental pillar of Brazilian culture. Independent music exists, resists, and gifts us with new stars. 
 
Unfortunately, this year ends on a sad note for Brazilian music, due to the loss of names like the sertanejo songwriting powerhouse Marília Mendonça. Still, as we listen to albums like those on this list, we know that there's also a lot to look forward to. These Brazilian artists are teaching us to be passionate about how passionate we are, in all our weirdness and flamboyance. Mostly, they're teaching us that none of these qualities is mutually exclusive with creative and intellectual brilliance.
 
Among the 10 best pop albums released by Brazilian artists in 2021 is Marisa Monte's latest
 
Monte almost didn't make this list, as her music is mostly considered MPB rather than pop. But we can't ignore the fact that she is one of the greatest pop songsmiths in Brazil.
 
Portas proves, once again, her gift for creating songs that can be "loved by intellectuals as much as mainstream pop lovers" (as we said in our review). Some of these songs are the gentle and catchy "Calma", the homonym track, and "Você não liga".
 
On the other hand, the album also features samba and jazzy arrangements. Even in these elaborated moments, Portas is easy to the ear. That's because of her' smooth voice, and the songwriting style that makes sophistication sound simple. 
 
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