Cuco recently released his debut album Para Mi via Interscope / Polydor Records, and gets your attention from the Intro. The highly-anticipated LP very much comes from Cuco’s personal life. For a debut it reeks of experience and maturity with moments of self reflection and an acknowledgment to the community that allowed him to grow to become the person he is.
The LA-based musician and multi-instrumentalist not only released this 12″, he was also honoured by Hawthorne’s Mayor Alex Vargas with the keys to the city, commemorating everything that native Chicano artist and multi-instrumentalist has brought to the community. Knowing little about him aside from his electronic synth, this alone intrigues me about the artist.
The album alone has much to keep your interest, aside from the “THIS IS A WARNING” Into, as you hit play. Keeping Tabs is a track about tabs as a coping mechanism, to synth-pop you’ll find impossible not to head nod to. Bossa No Se is a fusion of Bossa Nova and Urban MCing, veering into pop as the track continues. Panning across the genres, it’s a stand-out track on this pop album.
Feelings, on the other hand, is a pop ballad that pulls you into the allure that dream-pop is where it’s at. Combining synth, drums, guitar and dulcet reverb, Cuco has you feeling all fuzzy inside not even half-way through Para Mi. Ego Death in Thailand continues this dream-pop vibe, along with a piercing discord, to pull you away from feeling entirely at ease. However, those silky smooth vocals, like the substance “numb the pain.”
Hydrodocene is the track that showcases the talent of Cuco, peak Para Mi, that bass, those lyrics, that voice. If you’re not sold on the album by this point then I urge you to put it away, a key pop track on this LP of delights. Brokey the Pear is not only eccentrically-titled. there’s a surreal appeal to this short instrumental track, before we’re indulged by Best Friend, which screams Flight of the Conchords. In fact, the entirety of Para Mi is bewitching, the thirteen-track pop treat is wondrous to kick back to.
Para Mi is out now, via Interscope Records.