Manero

Vicentico Raises the Curtain

By: Marcelo Báez

I’ve never met him, but Vicentico, the once-revered Fabulosos Cadillacs singer, seems like a fun guy to get drunk with. Mostly because he’s the type of person who’s okay with posting really weird videos. But wait, do people hate him now? Well, I say “once-revered” because I can’t possibly imagine all the hardcore Fabulosos fans being happy with the Xuxa, Juan Gabriel or ABBA covers he’s been peddling in recent years (another reason to get drunk with him: Vicentico probably comes with great playlists).

But Gabriel Julio Fernández Capello (Vicentico’s real name) has been acting strange since he released 2010’s Solo Un Momento, an album without—take a deep breath, purists—any brass. Was Vicentico just going through a phase? Judging by his new record, Último Acto, it’s hard to say because the 18-track LP throws everything but the kitchen sink at its listeners. Probably because it’s a quasi best-of, one that is mostly comprised of rerecorded material, a few new songs and covers.

Country (“Sólo Un Momento,” featuring Willie Nelson), ’70s soul (“Esclavo de Tu Amor”), norteñas (“Cobarde,” featuring Intocable), boleros (“Algo Contigo”), salsa (“Culpable”)—Último Acto comes off as an overzealous attempt to please everyone, but it’s not awful. And really, considering that Vicentico made use of glamorous studios in places like New York, Los Angeles, Nashville and Jamaica (not to mention top-notch session players), how could it be awful? Oddly, Gabriel downplays his work: “I wasn’t planning to do it. In fact, I was already working on something new, but someone told me to put together my best [music] and I think we hit the nail on the head.”

But although it’s expertly recorded, mixed and mastered, and Vicentico’s voice sounds exactly the same as always (depending on your disposition, you may or may not dig his gypsy, Andalusian twang) there’s no real razzle-dazzle here. During a last act, an artist generally goes all out in order to “wow” the crowd. However the remakes in Último Acto are redundant at worst (“Los Caminos de la Vida”), and curious at best (“Viento,” featuring Intocable).

The problem here is that Vicentico’s solo catalog doesn’t have any real hits—listenable, amusing songs, yes, but no real Cadillac-grade hits. And without hits, how can someone justify a best-of? Or is that why Vicentico second-guessed his first intuition, and is now telling journalists “someone” told him to release Último Acto?

It’s cool. I still want him to come over so we can do whippets together while he plays music from his iPod for me. I’ll wear my sister’s old Xuxandalias just for him.

LOGISTICS: Vicentico’s Último Acto, available here

Marcelo Baéz is a writer, DJ, and musician based in NYC. When he's not producing "Rico Suave" parties, he releases music under P3CULIAR.