It occurred to me for the first time recently, going back to this elusive and fascinating cover songs album by Caetano Veloso, the great Brazilian singer and songwriter, that the title could well have been plucked out of the compelling word salad of one of the bravest and most audacious covers here (of many), Bob Dylan's "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)": "So don't fear if you hear / A foreign sound to your ear / It's alright, Ma," etc. At 22 tracks, this album is packed full, arms wide open, Walt Whitman style, I-am-large—I-contain-multitudes, with room for Fred Astaire, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Kurt Cobain, and Morris Alpert, which is the track order for the first five songs, so you know how fast it switches and what caps it reaches for: "The Carioca," "So in Love," "Always," "Come as You Are," and "Feelings." For every standard such as "Summertime" there's at least one mostly unexpected pick with an interesting history or twist: "Cry Me a River," which may or may not be associated with Barbra Streisand now but Julie London owned it first, "Nature Boy," a Nat King Cole song later covered by Big Star, "(Nothing But) Flowers," late Talking Heads, on and on it goes. In many ways it's a perfect freak show of references. But in case anyone was still wondering, Veloso proves over and over what a shrewd, insinuating, and overpowering performer he can be. As suggested by the songs already mentioned, there's a lot of extravagance in the choices, but after that it's strictly professional, with a variety of outfits assembled for the purposes of each song, some of which are just Veloso singing and playing guitar and others with big orchestras. But at the same time, from all these sessions, it also feels like an organic whole, more than arguably it has any right to. The bob and weave of these songs can be hypnotic, and there is much to be taken from close listening—the best touches are also the finest, sneaking up on you, often in Veloso's phrasings and scans. So many of these concept projects, such as tribute albums or a covers album such as this, often look better on paper but somehow don't translate, except the occasional inspired track. I admit I had my concerns seeing how wild A Foreign Sound can swing, from Nirvana to Elvis to DNA. It can go some pretty crazy places. But Veloso always seems to know where he is and what he is doing, so let it play, baby, I say let it play.