The “Hear Music” project in conjunction with Starbucks continues to be an innovative and powerful source of music. In the typical Starbucks fashion, Hear Music productions are often large-scale and commercialized yet the creations are unique, hip, memorable and creative.
I must admit that, as a music fan, I am a bit embarrassed that until recently obtaining Sergio Mendes’ compilation album, “Timeless,” I didn’t really know much about him. As the album describes it, “Sergio was the doorway into samba and bossa nova music.” Here, with this compilation, he teamed up with Will.I.Am from the “Black Eyed Peas” to create a modernized, progressive and stylistic version of his music.
If you haven’t checked out this album yet, I highly encourage doing so. There are 15 songs total which mix the sounds of Sergio Mendes with accomplished modern day artists including the Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake, Jill Scott, India.Arie, John Legend, Erykah Badu, Q-Tip (from the ever-classic “Tribe Called Quest”) and others. Most of the songs are upbeat and edgy, mixing fresh hip-hop style sound with the Sergio flavor. Others are slightly mellower. Virtually all of them are smooth as humus and sexy as Fergie. Will.I.Am is featured on many of the songs, teaming up with Erykah Badu and others in some cases, to create his own hot, smooth and sexy blends.
One of the keys to a great album, or playlist, for me is the versatility of that collection. In the case of “Timeless,” a diversified flavor is clearly on display such that this album works well for many situations. Its great in the gym, on a plane flight, as ambience tunes for a house party and certainly for jamming out or dancing. Clearly, the name of the album is a reference to Sergio Mendes and the influence he’s had on Brazil and latin-style music for nearly 50 years. Yet, at the same time, I would also say Hear Music and Will.I.Am have produced an album strong and unique enough here to achieve its own “timeless” impact.