Trying to define the work of Manu Chao who has finally followed up his 2001 disc Prxima Estacin: Esperanza
is certainly not easy. The Franco-Spanish musician challenges the listener by 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.