Consumer Guide Album
Manu Chao: La Radiolina [Nacional/Because, 2007]
What Chao does seems so easy that it's hard to believe it took him seven years to follow up the sweetly relaxed, justly beloved Proxima Estación. Maybe he's just lazy--it's not like he's a work ethic guy. Or maybe he wanted to do something different and took a while settling into what that might be--namely, a new tempo. This is a speedier pop suite suitable for dancing or straightening up the flat. The guitars remind us that Chao launched his career from the Eurorock-en-Espanol Mano Negra, and the lyrics in French and Spanish seem as conscious as the English-language offerings "Politik Kills" and "Rainin in Paradize." These are rock moves, you could say. Yet the deepest accommodations are with glitzy, synthy, militantly shallow Europop. Seven years after 2001, what other populace can a radical internationalist such as Chao hope to enlighten? Not ours, I'm afraid.