Cuckoo for Cuco

By Galilea Oregon

Are you a fan of soothing, mellow music similar to the likings of Mac Demarco and Kali Uchis? If so, you will definitely enjoy listening to 18 year-old Chicano solo artist and producer Cuco based in Hawthorne, California. In his Bandcamp profile, he describes himself as a “Los Angeles based artist making synth experimental music,” and there is no other way to describe his style.  I first discovered Cuco through the Kali Uchis station on Spotify, however it wasn’t until a few friends of mine went to see him open for one of Kali’s concerts that I became infatuated with the gentle and melancholic yet funky rhythm that is an excellent backdrop for delightful poetry as lyrics. The music itself is melodious, it feels like an early morning drive in the middle of nowhere, expertly juxtapositioning teenage love with stripped down music. However, it is Cuco’s sleepy voice and slurred words that steal the show, evoking a certain melancholy that you can’t quite put your finger on, and it is that very dreamy and surreal feeling that his music gives that enchants you and makes you want more, the same way you wish to fall asleep again after having an amazing dream.

Cuco has released two albums, “Wannabewithu” and “Songs4U,” which are both available on Spotify and Bandcamp. “Wannabewithu” harbors a more modern feel, with faster-paced and “boppy” songs with clever lyrics. My personal favorite song off of “Wannabewithu” is “Amor de Siempre”.  It’s sung completely in Spanish and dedicated to a lover. The innocence in his voice as he sings, “Cuando veo esos ojos/ Ahí es donde quiero vivir/ Si me besan eso labios/ Ay así quiero morir,” translated to “When I see those eyes/ That is where I want to live/ If you kiss me with those lips/ That’s how I want to die,” evokes teenage infatuation with a first love that is simply heartwarming and nostalgic. “Songs4U,” is composed of songs which feel more like romantic ballads, giving a completely different vibe than other music by Cuco. “One and Only” always stands out to me off of “Songs4U” as a pleasant surprise tucked in between more gentle songs about long time loves. “One and Only” captures the naivety in having a crush on someone and wanting to be more than friends: “I wanna be more than just a homie/ I hope that you wanna get to know me/ Baby hit me up if you get lonely.” The rhythm itself makes me smile and the lyrics cannot be more relatable, those teenage crush jitters are perfectly represented in his words. Both “Wannabewithu” and “Songs4U” are amazing and distinct productions. The expert versatility between both deserves a great amount of merit for someone who is so young and so talented, making Cuco’s music even more enjoyable.

So if you’re in love, or if you’re in love with love like me, listen to Cuco’s music. I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed. The romantic tunes and poetic lyrics are a perfect backdrop to any nostalgic and lovesick  teenager’s life. I listen to him almost daily whether I’m walking to class or at home studying.The gentle music is relaxing and absolutely beautiful. If you love thoughtful music, then you will love Cuco. So give it a chance and fall in love with the quiet romance in his music. Fall in love to “Amor de Siempre,” or cry along to “We Had to End It.” Whatever song it is, make it Cuco. Once you start listening you won’t be able to stop, and it’s just like falling through a dream. If you’re already as obsessed as I am you’ll be glad to know that I’ve provided a link to a Cuco concert at the Observatory in Santa Ana on Saturday April 15, here, as well as his SoundCloud, here, his Bandcamp here and his Instagram, here. Happy listening and stay cuckoo for Cuco.

 

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