Manu Chao

La Radiolina (Nacional)

Trying to define the work of Manu Chao — who has finally followed up on his 2001 disc, Próxima Estación: Esperanza — is certainly not easy. The Franco-Spanish musician challenges the listener using lyrics written in four languages and beats that reflect complete open-mindedness. The artist seems to expect no less from his audience. On La Radiolina, various sounds build on Chao's rock roots. In "A Cosa," Malian guitarist Amadou Bagayoko lends his talents on a laid-back tune that sounds as if the musicians were gathered at a Latin American sidewalk café. On "Politik Kills," Chao denounces political corruption with blunt words that leave nothing to interpretation: "Politik needs force, politik needs cries, politik needs lies." Listen also to "Amalucada Vida" ("Crazy Life"), a Portuguese-language ballad about a woman who twists the narrator's life to the point of obsession, leaving him devastated and unable to go on. Because of its sonic complexities, La Radiolina is a disc that needs time to sink in. But it is still a brilliant piece of work, a welcome return to the notion of rock as art.

 
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