Ozomatli

Don't Mess With the Dragon (Concord)

Ozomatli's latest effort, Don't Mess With the Dragon, is a fusion of Spanish rock, hip-hop, reggaeton, and funk, the perfect crossover release. The nine-man Ozomatli has put together a dozen tunes for its fourth full-length CD, most of them happy dance tracks. The opening song, "Can't Stop," is polished and infectious. If you think you hear echoes of Ricky Martin's "Maria" or "Shake Your Bon-Bon," you're right. Martin's producer, K.C. Porter, had a hand in Dragon. The ballad "Violeta," with its rough rap chorus, is especially nice. "Creo," a bilingual hip-hop/reggaeton creation, and "After Party" both demand dancing. There are some missteps on Dragon. Track two, "City of Angels," is too similar to "Can't Stop" to follow it (at best, it's just more of the same; at worst, it's poor production), but listeners with their iPods stuck on permanent "shuffle" won't notice. "Magnolia Soul" is just trying too hard to be cool; it comes off forced and dated. And then there's that Ricky Martin echo...

 
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