Helado Negro’s New Songs

Hua Hsu at The New Yorker:

In June, 2015, Roberto Carlos Lange, who records as Helado Negro, released a single titled “Young, Latin and Proud.” Despite the bold title, the song sounded more like a flicker than like a flame. It was tranquil and soothing, with Lange singing gently, almost timidly, over a swaying synth line. His lyrics were addressed to a younger version of himself—someone searching for the language to make sense of his own story: “And you can only view you / With what you got / You don’t have to pretend / That you got to know more / ’Cause you are young, Latin, and proud.”

That “Young, Latin and Proud” was released within days of Donald Trump’s announcement of his Presidential candidacy made it seem like a timely anthem for immigrant America. But Lange’s song was actually part of an ongoing conversation with himself. Before then, Lange had released four albums of quirky, folky electronic pop, often sung in Spanish. Songs such as “Young, Latin and Proud” and the shivery, dreamlike “It’s My Brown Skin,” both of which appeared on his album “Private Energy” (2016), anchored the playful, searching quality of his music in questions of personal intimacy.

more here.