Even in the most brilliant of pop songs, lyrics can only do so much for so long. The best songcraft centers on the empowerment created by the delivery of verses in a consistently stimulating manner, and for a good example of what I’m talking about, “Tears of Blood” fits the bill. “Tears of Blood” is a single written by Michael Castillo and performed by himself, Descemer Bueno and Isabella Castillo, and rather than using its politically savvy words to give us the whole truth in melodic packaging, it uses its foundations and the familiar cosmetic details of the music to make a full-bodied story that listeners and artists can connect with, and all without feeling like we’re experiencing something extremely over the top intellectually.
The instruments in this single are an extension of culture rather than of the verse, but this doesn’t result in “Tears of Blood” sounding predictable or a little one-note. There’s some physicality to the strings that initially threw me off given how stripped-down some of the other parts in the music are, but then again, I think this might have been necessary to structure the balance in the arrangement and, thus, the verses riding the rhythm here. These are musicians who are thinking through every detail of the writing and recording process, and you can’t argue against that when listening to a piece that has been defined by surgical precision to the degree that this song has been (in my view, at the very least).
The bedrock of the emotionality in “Tears of Blood” is the rhythm of the music and the looseness with which the players are able to make it their own, even at varying speeds. Nothing ever sounds cloudy nor abrasively patched into the flow of the other parts in the song – these are musicians who know how to read a room, and they’re painting a picture of moderate musicianship that could inspire a lot of experimental players to get better at what they’re already doing this August. This is, after all, pretty blue-collar songwriting, and it’s coming from musicians who have yet to try and utilize the message they’re telling in this song as a vehicle for making as much money as possible before the other shoe drops.
Collaborations that are driven by passion are instantly distinguishable from what this trio’s rivals are capable of pumping out in or outside of a recording studio, and to me, “Tears of Blood” is just too real and rightfully empowered performance to go unmentioned by the biggest names in music critiquing this late summer. There’s more for the Castillos and Bueno to get into than this, and while Michael Castillo remains locked away in a Cuban prison, he’s going to find a job behind the microphone waiting for him at this rate. His heart and the harmonies he’s leading us to in this piece are transcendent of his circumstances, and I would definitely like to see how much they could yield him in the years to come.
The music of Isabella Castillo has been heard all over the world in partnership with the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Radio Promotions Division. Learn more https://musikandfilm.com