Review Summary: The down to earth sounds of an international wanderer
Alongside many bands unknown to the western world, Manu Chao was selected to headline Mali's famed Festival in the Desert in the mysterious city of Timbuktu. In a land where Reggae reigns king and, aside from the country's elite, Rock n Roll, let alone 21st century electronica, is a rarity, the invitation to headline such a festival and the fortitude to brave the jouney are a dimension that these international rockstars have that set them apart from their peers. "Correr es mi destino por no llevar papel" (to run is my destiny for lacking documentation) laments the multi-lingual singer famously on their debut, demonstrating an empathy with the commoner rarely found amongst well known artists, and with this understanding, they are able to break down and relate to their listeners in a way that their peers simply cannot.
With Proxima Estacion: Esperanza
, they find a groove throughout. 'Merry blues', the album opener, seems like a microcosm of the album as a whole, harping on the theme of contentment amidst dire and oppresive situations. In an album highlight, 'Me Gustas Tu', confusion is mumbled as the artist is romantically lost in both French and Spanish ("que voy a hacer je ne sais pas / que voy a hacer, je suis perdu"). Hopelessly in like, a boyish like innocence is brought forth as the artist traps himself into a corner, and while all intentions seem good, though we are left with the impression that nothing will come of the crush, the intention is so pure that the song manages to shine gorgeously.
Stylistically, in spite of a backgroud in rock music, Manu Chao fuses this sound with perhaps the prototypical world music style, making beats that can be enjoyed by any and all. And though 'Infinita Tristeza' suggests a somber end, once peace is made with the reality of the music that's playing, all is ok and the sadness is not so sad anymore -- it becomes romantic.
denia, denia, denia, denia