Song You Need to Know: Natalia Lafourcade and Jorge Drexler, 'Para Qué Sufrir'

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Natalia Lafourcade’s original version of “Para Qué Sufrir,” released in 2015, was already a gem; a spare, aching meditation on a failed relationship. She rejuvenates the track with help from Jorge Drexler on her brand new album, Un Canto por Mexico, Vol. 1.

Lafourcade makes two important updates to her track. First she spruces up the production, filling “Para Qué Sufrir” with shimmering strings and pretty horns that reach back to the gleaming sophistipop of the Sixties — the days of bossa nova, Burt Bacharach, and bossa nova-inflected versions of Burt Bacharach songs. The strings are as heavy-handed as the guitar is gentle, billowing in during the hook to cause maximum emotional devastation. The brass is more restrained, embellishing the primary melody at don’t-wake-the-baby volume. 

The other important addition to “Para Qué Sufrir” is, of course, Drexler. Songs about couple troubles often benefit from a second voice, and Drexler is at home here — the guitar skeleton of “Para Qué Sufrir” would not be out of place on one of his albums. His voice tracks closely behind Lafourcade’s, so the singers remain tightly knit even as the lovers in the song splinter apart.

Un Canto por Mexico, Vol. 1. raises money for El Centro de Documentacion del Son Jarocho, a cultural center that suffered damage during a 2017 earthquake.

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