In this installment of “Underground,” we’ll take a look at an unlooked song from the Brazilian singer Roberto Carlos: O Astronauta from his yearbook album in 1970.
Roberto Carlos Braga (not to be confused with the Brazilian football star Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha) is not called “The King of Latin Music” for nothing: he has been active with a singing career since 1959. He made a tradition of producing self-titled albums annually while performing big hits every time. Some of his biggest hits include Ana, Jesus Cristo, Amigo, Detalhes, Amada Amante to name a few. He rose to international fame as he also sang in Italian, English, French, Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish.
O Astronauta, translated in English as The Astronaut, is an existential song that was progressive for its time. Written by Edson Ribeiro and Helena dos Santos, O Astronauta can be perceived as an anti-war song due to its lyrical content. In the song, Roberto sings about how the world was turning into a disaster with jets dropping bombs and people dumbstruck by a sky full of smoke. The solution: wanting to become an astronaut so that he could leave Earth on his spaceship, turning off the controls and never coming back.
Even though Roberto Carlos 1970 mostly contains songs in the genre of Musica Romantica, O Astronauta stands out concerning existentialism, content and musical complexity. It was a song ahead of its time.