I work as a session musician, and over the years I have had to adapt to different genres and styles in order to deliver quality work for my clients; I have always seen that as an important part of my job as it helps me to have a wider offer and more potential costumers.
That said, I never thought about comparing my career with the last few years of my favourite team's own trajectory, until one day during the Barça vs. Atleti, the one and only, Mr. Ray Hudson said something along the lines of <<This isn't violins and perfect harmony anymore... this is rock and roll and I'm loving it>> and that tickled a bit, because without knowing it, I had known it all along. Barça in its recent years had always been compared with the Ballet, "El Ballet Blaugrana" they called it, and I had always agreed with that; it was beautiful, mesmerizing, even relaxing at one point.
A quick recap on what Barça had been during the last few years, starting with the 11/12 season, with an already tired Pep Guardiola, who had exhausted every trick in his music books, his Ballet started to have that impression of a show that's been around for a little too long and most people already knows what it sounds like. Guardiola didn't want to fall prey of an act that wasn't fresh anymore and stepped down. (many more reasons would surface but they're not pertinent anymore) Just like the baroque period, extremely rich in technical prowess, the harmonic limitations started to be obvious and soon after, a new composer with very similar influences took charge in order to add colour once again; in fact one of the best transitions the Ballet could've had.
Unfortunately, the 12/13 season saw more drama than it should have, with the ongoing drama of Tito's illness reappearing and playing more than half of the season with Jordi Roura, a talented director, but in no way an innovator, the ballet got enough from Vilanova's creativity to win a record league with 100 points, while at the same time giving the impression that the main cast was in dire need of a major renovation. The players were tired, their strings were rusty and their bows were loose.
After what seemed to be a calm start to the new season, 13/14 had probably some of the nastiest surprises the Blaugrana ballet would face in its existence. Just a month into the pre-season, Vilanova announced his retirement due to the need to re-gain control over his illness and a last-minute call appointed Gerardo Martino as the new composer. Martino is, without a doubt, one of the best there is at interpreting the score, but also, for the Ballet's disgrace, he wasn't a recognized name in the music scene of Barcelona, which raised every possible question; along that, he wasn't able to interact with media critics and after his very first attempt to revolutionize the musical pallete in his group, media and fans crucified him forcing him to do just enough to keep his job for the rest of the season.
Once he knew that he wasn't going to be allowed to do that what he had been brought to do, he stepped off the gas and worked towards having a harmonius time with the group of players he had to share activities with. Nothing new came out of this season, and in fact, the early departure of Vilanova helped to drown even more the already tired Ballet soul. Victor Valdés had announced earlier that he wasn't going to continue playing for this team and in a premature situation, abandoned his performances after falling prey to injury.
Broken strings, a not-so-clear evolution of a style that was predictible at best, with no alternative tacticts and a cast full of new faces; things weren't looking bright in the near future, and everyone had the feeling of that what once was a Broadway best-seller, was going to turn into a B-Venue and carnival act.
This brings me back to Today. OH BOY, were we wrong. We all were!
Not only did Luis Enrique manage to integrate all the new faces in to make them feel like they had been a part of the group for ages, but he also managed, through time, to convince the audience that the new cast was just as good as the original.
Lucho came with several changes in the tempo. The odd time signatures were ever present, but this time around they weren't the only thing around. There ws punch, lots of punch, screaming electric guitars replaced the violins, and the beaten and out-of-tune timpani in the back were replaced by kickass drumkits. An ultra strong rhythm foundation necessary to make every style of music sound good was now tuned to -almost- perfection. The once indispensable mid frequencies were reinforced, but instead of driving the entire orchestra, they were tasked with simple and quick transitions to the new stars: Leo Messi, the lead singer; Luisito and Neymar, the lead guitarists.
From the Baroque approach of perfect harmony and organized tempo changes, to the attempted cacophony of Tito and Tata. to the full on Rpgressive Rock outfit that Luis Enrique put together, this Barça's recent history spoke to me in terms that I never thought it would. Just like every piece of music, there are better songs than others; passages that different people will enjoy more, but in the end, a rich sound pallete that even though can be identified, can definitely not be predicted. Let's enjoy it while it lasts!
Visca el Barça!