Also known as Jorge González, Leonino is preparing to release on 15 September a new album titled Naked Tunes. Hailing from Chile, Leonino has been in the music industry for quite some time, and puts together his experience and love for music to bring to audiences a taste of the world as he sees it. While the album is filed under pop, I felt like it was more of a soft rock album with pop elements.
The first track, “I Think We Should be Friends (f/Pier Bucci)”, starts off as Pet Shop Boys-inspired, what with the quirky lyrics, the staccato singing, and the way the vocals have been engineered. Leonino differs from the Pet Shop Boys in the use of guitar in this song, which acts almost as backup vocals throughout. “Don’t Change Your mind” slows things down. It features spoken word, which conveys clearly Leonino’s belief that one should stick to one’s decisions. We clearly hear his accent come through because of the spoken word nature of the song. The delicate plucking of guitar strings adds a certain gentleness to it as well.
The hopeful “My Time Is Gonna Come” is just as slow, but the lyrics are sung instead of spoken, is piano-driven, and features a choir in the background, which doesn’t come as a surprise considering the song’s title. “My Love Will Set You Free” is a simple and cute guitar-driven affirmation of the romantic love between two people. Featuring at first only Leonino and his guitar, a tambourine soon joins in for small parts of the song, while gentle drums and a choir help finish it off.
“Not a Sound (f/Mariano Scopel)” is more upbeat and features some electronic elements. This would be a nice tune to play in a lounge; the beat would drive conversations that the simplicity of the song, featuring only a couple of layers, would not drown out. Perhaps conversations would somewhat falter around the middle section however, due to the rain sound effects. The keyboard-based “How Many Times Did You Save My Soul (f/Argenis Brito)” features clapping from the beginning to the end of the song, as well as a choir, which, combined with the name of the song and the lyrics, make it sound like a church hymn. Yet again, the track is simple in the fewness of layers it contains.
“It Wasn’t Meant to Be” starts just like a Boyz II Men song, with the softly spoken lyrics set against a gentle beat. The melancholic regret of efforts poured into a relationship that didn’t work out is well conveyed with the melody. The contrasting, guitar-driven “After the Big War” starts well, but I feel it is one of the weaker songs on the album. Simple arrangements worked for the album’s other songs, but made this one more fluid in its transitions between its softer and stronger aspects. The penultimate “Down by the River” is yet another Boyz II Men-type of song, while “There Is a Light” builds up from an a cappella beginning to a piano and vocal song, to one gently backed up with the help of a choir.
Leonino’s Naked Tunes is a collection of simple tracks that will no doubt appeal to lovers of a simpler soft rock style. There is a certain optimistic simplicity to the music that makes this album uniquely peaceful. The album can be streamed in full on SoundCloud.