The results are in. I’ll get to them shortly. First, the standards of judging I’ve found myself applying as I’ve unexpectedly been immersed in large numbers of Águas de Março renditions.
- A bias in favor of duets. Male-female, female-female, human-piano, man-on-dog, whatever. They offer a playfulness, a punctuation, a drama that even the best solo versions can’t match.
- A bias against English-language versions. There are songs for which an English-language lyric adds to the wit, beauty, or power. Think: Cole Porter. This is not one of those songs. I think I’m not saying this just because I understand English and don’t understand Portuguese (or Slovenian). I can understand French and still think it works better than English for the mood of this song.
- A preference for musicians who play the song, rather than playing with the song. Cassandra Wilson has an elegant personalized presentation, but it ends up as a Cassandra Wilson song more than Jobim’s.
Read on for the results.