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Top Customer Reviews
In the case of Manu Chao, it means something far warmer and more enjoyable, full of driving catchy Eurorock rhythms, funky edges, a crazy Spanish flavour, and vaguely political sensibilities. It's been six years since his last internationally-released album, but "La Radiolina" (translation: the little radio) was an event worth waiting for.
It kicks off with the "13 D¡as," a racing blur of folky-rocky-guitar and lots of mumbling. But that's only the warm-up into the melodious, brass-band-edged rocker "Tristeza Maleza," which sounds like Spoon got invaded by Andalusian musicians, and the hypnotic guitar-rap of "Politik Kills ("Politik needs your mind/politik needs human beings/politik needs lies...")
And with the driving, blurring, siren-laden "Rainin In Paradize," the album really blossoms into all it can be -- colourful bouncy folkpop, sensual ballads, meditative little tunes, driving little rockers flavoured with odd sounds and fiery tight guitars, and a long stretch of swirling Spanish-inspired music.
It finishes up with a wicked trio of songs -- a kinetic, high-speed electrorocker with a sly smile woven into all the buzzing, a meditative little instrumental on acoustic guitar, and finally the driving "Y Ahora Qu_" with its blazing bass and ringing riffs.
It's a suitably energetic finale to an album that is uptempo and intense, but without being oppressive about it. Instead, Mano Chao gives his music a relaxed feel -- it's like being at a colourful nighttime party with plenty of food, drink and dancing, but in a city full of turmoil during the day.Read more ›
An ignoramus would say that all the songs sound the same, but here the discerning listener will find that many of them really ARE the same. Five different songs contain the exact same backing tracks with minimally different melodies on top, and even more songs than that contain the same irritating four-note ascending guitar line. Other basic melodies are also recycled (not reprised, mind you) throughout the album. The initially lovely ballad "A Cosa" also reuses a backing track that Manu contributed to an album by African popsters Amadou & Mariam two years ago. Reprising themes throughout an album can be an effective artistic device, but here it's just widespread replication of undeveloped ideas.Read more ›
Manu is a 40+ year old world musician, who primarily sings in French and Spanish, but uses Catalan, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern tunes & rhythms in his music.
This album, "La Radiolina" is currently a huge sensation in Europe, primarily because it pays homage to so many varied European styles all on one album. Its great that he's slowly catching on within the United States, because this is another world musician (alongside Susheela Raman) who is huge in Europe but virtually unknown here. In France, this CD played tug of war for the No. 1 spot on the charts (it finally lost to Vanessa Paradis' incredible new CD "Divinidylle").
There are a few tracks worthy of mention. Prime amongst them are : "Panik Panik", "Otro Mundo", and "Piccola Radiolina" (which is more of an interlude, but what an amazing one it is!). I especially liked "Y Ahora Que?" and "Siberia". Manu's strength is fusion music, and he does it seamlessly over here. Some tracks just have a tune and rhythm but no vocal. Again, this works to his advantage. For years, Manu Chao used to cruise on his good looks to sell his albums - although he was talented. Its great to see that as he gets older, he's investing more thought and preparation into his music. This CD is his best yet.
Heres the thing - this album is severely underrated and unknown within the US. If you're a true lover of world fusion music, get this now. Its unlikely to be topped this year.
Also, if you liked this, do check out "33 1/3" by Susheela Raman, "Vol 2 : Release" by Afro Celt Sound System, and "Gold" by Noa. All three are essential world music albums you need to have in your collection.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is within my TOP 10 albuns inside the 60GB arsenal of portable music ......Published 12 months ago by AL
But not the best christmas gift for your girlfriend if this is all you're gonna get her. Girlfriend no more. :-)Published on January 2, 2014 by J. Smith
far warmer and more enjoyable, full of driving catchy Eurorock rhythms, funky edges, a crazy Spanish flavour, and vaguely political sensibilitiesPublished on November 18, 2013 by Kathleen B. Olivera
Although not quite up to Manu's own standard, this is still a 4-star album. However, I can't for the life of me get to the music tracks on my Windows XP computer, even using the... Read morePublished on August 2, 2013 by Harry Browne
Thanks to discovering him on Pandora, Manu is fast becoming one of my favorite artists. The mix of musical styles and languages is awesome and pretty unique (though it does remind... Read morePublished on July 30, 2010 by Michael J. Cuneo