Fernando Tarango – October 31, 2009 Album Review

Fernando Tarango is a singer-songwriter with a bit of a hilarious history which he strangely isn’t scared to reveal. To quote: “After three months performing on Holland America Cruise Lines, concerts with the Grammy Award Winning Pacific Boychoir in California, and bar shows in Wyoming…”

Essentially, this says a lot about his character. Tarango is probably a pretty interesting chap. October 31, 2009 blasts off with “All About You”, a track on which Ted Leo and Jerry Lee Lewis seem to shake musical hands; Tarango’s brilliantly playful vocals shine above it all. His energy is infectious, and it continues through the following track, “Oh, Michelle”. If the album keeps down this pop-oriented indie rock path, it could be borderline annoying, but it would remain mostly positive.

By the third track, though, the album begins to slow down with an almost adult contemporary “Push On”. Pop is still the name of the game, but it becomes blended with genres such as jazz and adult contemporary. I’m confused. What happened? Beyond the first two songs, October 31, 2009 feels like a different beast altogether. There are some straight-up jazzy lounge numbers and some which Jason Mraz might have penned before he reached super-songwriter status. Halfway through the album, as one is vibing on the sexy but strangely named “Farming”, it begins to be apparent that Tarango’s personality is just about the only factor giving the tracks the oomph they need. Were it not for that, the instrumentals are generally pleasing, but pretty generic. And by the time the last three tracks roll around, I’m already done with this album. It starts off really strong and remains entertaining for the most part, but there’s definitely some material that the album would be better off without.

 

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Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/she) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

In 2017, Vee released the narrative short film, Searching Skies — which touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States — and co-organized The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. 2022 sees the release of their next short film, Reckless Spirits, which is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature film.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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