As certain social norms in this country are being eradicated and new ones form, artists like Grammy award-winning band La Santa Cecilia have taken a creative approach to the phenomenon of the 'new normal' when it comes to social media. On the brink of releasing new music — and after the debut of its visual album, the bolero and ranchera heavy Amar y Vivir — the Los Angeles-based band premieres its rocking new single, "Winning," premiered on World Cafe. The song and video is a tongue-in-cheek look at how we live and express our digital lives on social media.
Produced by Sebastian Krys, the band's new self-titled album, slated for release on Oct. 11, is bursting at the seams with sounds new to the band who are well known for unearthing traditional Mexican and Latin American music and creating new versions. In an e-mail from the band about "Winning," the members say they wrote the song after "realizing how disconnected and uninspired we felt because of social media. It's so distracting when it comes to being creative. Also it puts you in a position of constantly comparing yourself to other people which isn't healthy for anyone."
On "Winning," La Santa Cecilia vigorously play around with '80s pop-rock, arcade sounds, and even bachata, with spoken word elements as Marisoul vocalizes the seemingly never-ending string of feelings, statements and moods manifested on social media as hashtags. From #lapinchevanidad to #thoughtsandprayers or even #newyearsameme, the song and its visuals humorously portray the vacuousness of something we are constantly immersed in but which may have minimal value. "We wanted to show how ridiculous it can all become," the band writes.
Although the band's music has always encompassed a vast range of styles, this new album allows them to dig into other genres like the early blues and Creole sounds like that of Bessie Smith's Nobody Knows You When You Are Down and Out or the disco fusion of Always Together, reminiscent of Donna Summer with a Giorgio Moroder-style intro, or the Americana, norteño and reggaeton-cumbia backbeat of A Thousand Times.
Between its last album and the upcoming release, La Santa Cecilia was also affected by the tragedy of three of the band members losing their fathers. Those devastating emotions are echoed in I've Been Thinking an impassioned song delving into sadness, the feelings surrounding losing someone you love and the memories they leave behind. "Love, hold me tight, don't let me go," sings Marisoul in her most devastatingly poignant voice.
La Santa Cecilia's upcoming album seems to be a turning point in the band's musical career: The members pave the way with a genuine, personal and ingenious approach to making music, despite life wreaking havoc. The band writes, "We want to make sure that our art and music is seen through the lens of art and music first. We aren't trying to be political. We are trying to be honest. We are reflecting what we see in our world."