After a six-year absence from solo recording solo, 38-year-old Brazilian singer, songwriter and guitarist Badi Assad makes a welcome return to the scene with Verde. Despite the monotone album title, Assad cultivates a wildly variegated and exotically beautiful garden of tunes here: Bjork's "Bachelorette," U2's "One" and Adoniran Barbosa and Vinicius de Moraes' "Bom Dia, Tristeza (Good Morning, Sadness)" blossom next to Assad's own creations.
As on her previous albums, Assad proves that she has a sweet touch on the acoustic guitar; new listeners will make note that she's actually the younger sister of guitar-playing duo Sergio and Odair Assad. While this isn't a seamless album-"Nao Adianta (It's No Use)," written with ex-husband Jeff Young, veers dangerously close to soft rock-there are many songs that are imaginatively arranged and hypnotically alluring, like the stunning "Feminina (Feminine)," written by Assad and Simone Soul, which is a mesmerizing layering of closely harmonizing vocals, berimbau and percussion. Through it all, Assad's intimate voice bravely lays bare her emotions, inviting listeners in to gather a beautiful bouquet.