CSS – La Liberación review

The patio’s lone table sports a pyramid of crushed beer cans. Smoke from cigarettes and weed hangs in the nighttime air. While you and a handful of friends wait for everybody to show, you listen to great electropop. The stereo’s owner tells you it’s this band out of São Paulo called CSS (Cansei de Ser Sexy), a band so cool they once did an EP called CSS Suxxx. What’s playing is their third and newest album, La Liberación.

An hour later, the patio’s packed. CSS is on loop, and you find yourself talking to a beautiful, strangely sincere Brazilian girl. Your conversation starts predictably, but quickly moves into personal waters. She compares her recent series of brief relationships to the flow of traffic, moving through her endlessly green light. “How can it happened just like this?” she asks with charmingly imperfect English. “A knock on my door, and love can find me.”

You learn she can never seem to connect with a guy. She always creates a buffer zone out of little stuff, like a song that makes her nostalgic for an old boyfriend. But she knows enough to enjoy a relationship while it lasts.

Next she outlines her past. She comes from a small, rural town, where she dreamed of moving to New York. She wanted gay friends and one-night stands, the life of a movie star. But she talks wistfully about a small-town hippie, who she often thinks of now when she smokes a joint.

And just when you think you’re getting to know her, she’s up and dancing with everyone, smiling deviously at you. This abrupt change in personality is surprising, but alluring. La Liberación is infectious and hooky, and you jump up to dance with her, making stupid, goofy faces. It’s not till after she’s left with her friends you realize she never gave you her number.

You long to know this captivating, beautiful girl. But what you’ll remember is her unknowability. It’s the language barrier, the galvanizing energy of the music–but more than that, it’s her willful mysteriousness; she’s told you all she wants you to know. A few days later you’re listening to La Liberación, hoping to find some trace of her there.

By Nathan Caldwell

"Fabulous in Flannel" I am a working class butch who keeps it all barely together by making movies.

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