Evocative, eclectic, intimate, and rhythmically complex, TRANSA contains everything that has made Caetano Veloso the most distinctive and, arguably, most important voice in modern Brazilian music. The album was recorded during Veloso's political exile in England but released in 1972 upon his return to his homeland. Though the songs are not overtly political, they seem allegorical, celebratory, and plaintive at once, and point to a tension between the artist's expressive impulse and the strictures of his native country. This tension is further heightened by the presence of lyrics in both English and Portuguese. The beautiful, desperate "You Don't Know Me" may be the world's first bilingual bossa nova/folk-punk anthem of identity. The jazzy "Nine Out of Ten" gives way to the gear-shifting "Triste Bahia," which features webs of accelerating Brazilian percussion. A spare treatment of the classic samba "Mora Na Filosofia," the cosmic ditty "Neolithic Man," and the 12-bar "Nostalgia" (ending with the wise line "That's what rock & roll is all about") close out the set. TRANSA is a jewel in Veloso's discography and a must for anyone interested in Brazilian pop--or brilliant, original pop in general.