Nearly five years after its last studio album, "Amar Es Combatir," Maná -- the mega Mexican rock quartet from Guadalajara, Mexico -- is ready to present its new material.
"Drama y Luz" (Drama and Light) was initially slated for a Fall release, then a December release, but the band deemed it wasn't ready for fans. Now, with a definite April 12 release in sight, Maná reveals an album that's both rock and beauty.
Billboard sat for an exclusive first listen with Maná -- singer Fher Olvera, drummer Alex Gonzalez, bassist Juan Diego Calleros and guitarist Sergio Vallín -- and they revealed the stories behind seven of the tracks from "Drama y Luz," in their own words.
1. "El Espejo" (The Mirror)
Fher Olvera: The mirror has a label that says, "Toledo, Spain, 1590, Time of the Inquisition." It's the story of a guy who looks at himself in the mirror and is seduced by it. He touches it with his fingertip and ends up in the other side, in Toledo in 1590. It's a surreal, crazy thing. He arrives at a monks' convent and is greeted by Father Aurelio, who tells him everything he sees can be his, but he can never leave. The guy runs away and he's chased down by a pack of dogs who could be a pack of monks. And in the end, he gets burned at the stake.
Alex Gonzalez: When Fher first played the song for us, he hadn't written the lyrics yet, but in the end it always said "Oh, my God." And I knew it wouldn't be pretty, because all bad things end with, "Oh, my God."
2. "Sor Maria" (Sister Mary)
Fher: A while ago I read a passage by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the Mexican nun and poet, who cut her hair and fell deeply in love. And I saw another movie where a nun and a priest fall in love and they're shot to death. Here, Father Aurelio [from "El Espejo"] falls in love with Sor María, and then he gets killed for that. But the most beautiful part is when it says: "A woman in love, decided, trumps air, universe and reason. If light enters the water, it forgets the sky."
Sergio Vallín: It talks about addictions. It can be an addiction to anything, even a person. And in this record we're playing with duality. The dragon and the dove, which is the most peaceful being in the heavens, and the dragon, which is the opposite
4. Vuela Libre Paloma
Fher: This song was written for my mother, who was a warrior, a short time after she died. My dad died when I was six, and my mother was also my dad. I wanted to tell people, that those who die don't leave us -- our friends, our parents -- they're flying around us, like our guardian angels, and you always carry that hope that you'll see them again. When my mother died, we had a ceremony where we all dressed in white. She was our fan and went to all our shows. So, we were all there, and we spoke about her, we ate what she liked and drank what she liked, and in the end, we set a couple of doves free, and one of them flew overhead for a long time. And that's where this song came from.
5. No Te Rindas:
Fher: Here the verses are darker, more in minor keys, and then when the chorus comes in, it's a vindication of music -- it signals the arrival of hope. So, here we're talking about a person who could be your daughter, your husband, your wife, someone in the mdist of a terrible crisis. In the end, she's vindicated and it's very epic.
6. "Amor Clandestino" (Clandestine Love)
Fher: It talks about these kinds of affairs, which have become so common now, particularly with the advent of online communications.
Sergio: There's a statistic around saying that since facebook arrived, the divorce rate has soared.
Alex: I spoke about this a lot with my buds. I saw a lot of discrimination against Latins here and in Europe. And It really upset me, because these are people who work hard, who've managed to forge ahead despite the crisis, we're here, and we have a lot to give. And because the topic is so important, I wanted Fher to sing with me. I thought having the two of us would have a greater impact.