Does your record speak seven languages? Manu Chao, originally out of Paris, although born to Spanish parents is an international phenomenon throughout Latin America and Europe. It’s not that his presence hasn’t been known stateside for easily a decade, (More with his former band) but it’s just in the past few years that his name has begun to ring out among the masses. The man’s latest record, entitled La Radiolina is his first since 2001 and was highly anticipated. (98’s Clandestino is near perfect) One would obviously expect a diverse artist that vocalizes in seven tongues to have some worldly sounds. And the man does just that; funky Latin rhythms, flamenco like plucking, African percussion, sporadic brass elements, and the list goes on. Although, this one just didn’t have what it takes to bang its way on to a best of list for me. So much for my token Latin influenced album this year. Always next year, right?
Its problem is perhaps an odd one, especially for my usual interests, but this record almost rocks a tad too much. I got into him for his let’s chill on the beach sound. (Peep the video single below from his ’01 LP) For some reason, Manu likes to incorporate a wailing siren in a lot of his tracks, which for me, just becomes annoying. Also, why do some of these songs sound like Manu Chao stopped half way through recording them? We all know unfinished tracks don’t sit pretty with me on a record. All of a sudden you have 21 tracks and only some sound complete. Besides those blemishes though, there are many moments of brilliance on this album and two of them are below. One is in English; don’t dismiss these oh so quickly.