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Monday, January 20, 2014

21 of 1001 Songs: Lydia Mendoza's Mal Hombre

Probably most popularly featured on the Crazy Heart soundtrack, Lydia Mendoza's Mal Hombre's song has long been used, and the fact she is the first Hispanic singer female on the list it makes for a significant listen. Mal Hombre though was also a success when it hit in 1934, and she would long be a success with her music.

History: Lydia Mendoza played the guitar and she sung, and she would find success in 1934. Mendoza would also use a twelve string guitar for her performances giving her music an unique flare. Mendoza though would find that she would garner recognition for her Mexican heritage and spreading it through her music that was mostly recorded in Texas. Lydia would also have a long life before passing away in 2007.


Vocals: Mendoza has powerful vocals, and I like how when she sings she sounds as if she is charging forward with the lyrics. It adds power and sass to the lyrics even if you don't speak Spanish. The emotions are heard in the way she is just projecting her voicing so strongly. She knows how to balance the pacing and the vibe of her voice to match different elements of the tune to make the tone of the song cohesive in what it is attempting to achieve.

Instrumentals: The primary instrument you will hear used in the tune is the guitar, and it was notable talent of Mendoza's especially as she played the rarer twelve string guitar. For a woman this seems like a feat considering the width of the fret board, and the usually smaller design hand of a woman. I know that I have a hard time just adjusting my hand to a six string guitar. I love the way the Mexican heritage is captured in the chords though. It gives the song a lot of culture and talent that is present.

Lyrics: The emotions of the lyrics can be heard in Mendoza's vocals. She sounds like she is being aggressive, and once hearing the lyrics translated, if need be, then the tone makes a lot more sense. The lyrics are very grim in a lot of ways. The woman seems to have been abused by a man, and the abuse continues even to the end of the song, and what is sad is that the song never leads you to believe there is any change. The woman singing seems to be in a hopeless situation, and this made the song very dark. It was difficult to pick up on just how dark it was until hearing the actual lyrics.

Overall the song shows a lot of talent, but I wasn't particularly always interested. The lyrics also leave no room for hope. The woman seems to be in a tough spot, and most likely can't stand up for herself, but the hatred toward men, and the feelings it puts in you leaves you a bit too close to feelings you probably never want to feel. Filled with hate, but no way to get away from it.

Rating 6.5 of 10.


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