Thursday, November 5, 2015

Avenida Brasil Music- What Went Wrong

I only have three words to describe how I feel about the music/soundtracks on Avenida Brasil: I HATE IT!!!!!!

I have never felt so strongly (negatively) about music within a show, or a movie like I have in this case. I love this telenovela, and I love the characters, the relationships, the plots, etc. But from very early on, I was extremely put-off by the music! Now I am NO music-connoisseur, but I am a viewer, an audience member, and a fan. And I know how this makes, ME individually feel.

For this blog post, I will examine one of the songs I hate most, think is completely misplaced, and have felt distanced from the telenovela as a result of it- “Depois” By Marisa Monte. I will also mention other moments I think the music choice is spot on!

First, and most importantly, we have the theme song for Nina and Jorgito’s relationship… After looking up the lyrics and knowing what the song says, I relaxed a little more and understood the reasoning behind the song choice. Regardless, I think it is too much of an upbeat song, or too “sweet” of a song for some of the moments Nina and Jorgito have. In this scene (their first kiss) the beginning music- a simple yet dramatic instrumental- is perfect for the scene. I feel completely engaged and waiting for what is next. As soon as they kiss, the music changes abruptly to their “theme” song as a couple! This moment was COMPLETELY ruined for me, sadly. I did not see the need to change the piano accompanying the moment and feel that an instrumental piece with no words does the trick better then Marisa Monte’s “Depois”. Like the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”, I believe most of the moments between Nina and Jorgito are like words better left unsaid. It is more impactful to either have no music playing, or no words distracting from the moment.

 - first kiss

To expand more on my idea of a “wordless” song choice as a better accompaniment to certain scenes, I found a video from Bata and Rita’s childhood where the entire music choice was instrumental and how perfect I think it fit for the moment. I think there is a higher production quality when you use this kind of instrumental, orchestra, piano, etc. kind of music because it is dynamic. One song can be constantly changing to be perfectly accommodating to the scene.

 - good music

From Rita and Bata’s childhood is also this happy, good-feeling song that plays every time they’re on- which I also feel is PERFECT.


And lastly, this perfect song would play whenever there was a flashback to Nina and Jorgito’s childhood “en el tiradero”. (play at 1:39 minutes)


I do think it was a good idea for each couple, or certain individuals, to have their own song associated to them. After the consumption presentations, I remember Gabrielle mentioning how La Reina Del Sur does the same thing, and this was what would attract her attention if she were busy doing something else. If Santiago’s song came on, she knew it was a moment she wanted to watch and would direct her attention back to the screen. This is very intelligent of any telenovela or TV show to do! I understand it, but not at the expense of the specific scene or moment; and if that’s the case, then a better song choice.

Music is all about what you feel when you hear it. This matters to me as a viewer, because in the case of Avenida Brasil, it has gone far enough to make me loose interest in the novela, or even loose interest in the relatipnships throughout the novela. It is difficult to explain a feeling you just get sometimes while watching something. But much like when you watch a scary movie and they have a dramatic scene, the music must be perfect and cohesive in what the scene is trying to portray! You can’t possibly have the same song for Nina and Jorgito’s first, sweet, kiss compared to any other moment they are passionately in bed together, or maybe fighting, etc.

- carlito's song 


  1. Interesting! I actually felt the same way about the music in El Patron del Mal. It wasn't so much the theme song, but rather the music used to indicate specific emotions or foreshadowing of some sort. Every time it would play I cringed a little. I honestly found it interesting how much of an impact music had on my perception of the telenovela.

  2. I'm laughing reading this because I know exactly what you mean. I don't hate the main couple's theme song in Relaciones Peligrosas as much as you seem to hate yours (Hahaha! I don't know if anyone hates a theme song as much as you hate this one), but it still makes me roll my eyes sometimes. It's intensely dramatic, and it sometimes plays multiple times in an episode.

    I eventually got used to it and learned to embrace it. (Especially when I was watching an episode in the background - I heard the intro and knew I needed to look up at the screen and pay attention, just as you and Danielle both mentioned.) It reminds me of the telenovela genre in first I was like, "Wow, this song is so melodramatic. Really? 'Eres tu y soy yo. El rostro de un amor prohibido.'" It was just too literal. But then as I got into the show...I realized maybe it was fitting. The overdramatic music picked up, and it matched the too-passionate gazes of the characters on-screen.

    Side note: I'm surprised you didn't mention Adele. I haven't watched Avenida Brasil, but something that stood out tome from the clips shown in class was the use of Set Fire to the Rain. Now that would definitely throw me off. Relaciones Peligrosas takes place in a bilingual environment, and I still think it would feel weird to hear Top 40 during an important scene. It feels weird even in my once-a-week US T.V. shows.

  3. As a composer, I do agree that music is essential for giving telenovelas direction and that certain types of music need to match a given scene. After watching the first video several times, I was able to detect the abrupt change that you were talking about. I cringed because I thought the approach seemed very sloppy from a musical standpoint. Because of its "cut-and-paste" approach, I felt cheated because the quick transition did not give me enough time to react. The experience feels like listening to a record, when someone immediately scratches it by moving the needle to another, completely different spot.

  4. Valentina!

    I loved that you chose to talk about the music and how that affects your perception of a relationship/scene. This post made me laugh a little because of how passionate you are and I think that one of the reasons why you think that the words disrupt the scene is because as Americans we tend to see a lot of emotional scenes where the music is instrumental, this is very common in American productions.

    One of the best examples I can think of is the scene in Up where we see Ellie and Carl's relationship, the tune is light and upbeat when they are having happy times and it slows down becoming more melancholy when they have bad moments, and eventually when Ellie passes away.
    I have never felt so many emotions (and cried so hard) in 4 minutes, like I did watching that scene. The song became a theme song for them.

    I think that the choice to give Jorgito and Rita a theme song and that playing throughout their scenes was to keep the connect and let the audience know that the scene would be crucial to the overall relationship of Rita and Jorgito (and the accompany the actors). A thought that I had is that maybe the lyrics could work as almost the unspoken words between the characters.
    I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the music selection.

  5. I agree that Depois is a very poor choice to the main couple of the telenovela, especially because the lyrics are awful. For me, it is more like a break up song and I get depressed every time I listen to it. However, we also should take into consideration what Dina pointed out. Latin American audience is different from American audience. Instrumental music are not as popular in Brazil as they are here and, most importantly, we should consider the consumption aspects of the soundtrack. Telenovelas are comercial products, and they sell all kinds of productions you can imagine - clothes, hairstyles, food, and of course music is in the list. These songs are sold in albums and the most known is the singer, the better are the chances of the album being a hit. Marisa Monte is very famous in Brazil, she was not chosen by chance. ;)
    I'm not sure how they select the songs exactly, but I'm once I read the musical producer takes months to select the songs for each character.
    In the telenovela I'm watching now - A Regra do Jogo - I really, really hate the opening song. It sounds like the singer is dying (O sooool) and it doesn't match with the telenovela at all.