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Top 10 World Music CDs

Calle 13
February , 2008

By Phil Freeman

Residente O Visitante
Sony Latin

Calle 13’s hotly anticipated second disc fulfilled audience expectations, and then some. Hints of their art-student past had peeked out here and there on their smirking, party-rocking debut, but on ROV, the pair truly embraced sonic eclecticism and cultural consciousness. Rhythms from all over South America, absorbed during their extensive touring, propelled tracks in all sorts of directions, from the straight-up tango of “Tango Del Pecado” (“Tango Of Sin”) to the near-blaxploit funk of “La Crema” and the cumbia of “La Cumbia De Los Aburridos” (“Cumbia Of The Bored”). Lyricist Residente was more forthright in his politics, too, tackling immigration on “Pa’l Norte” (accompanied by the Cuban-born hip-hop crew Orishas) and his group’s own scandalous image in their native Puerto Rico on “Tango Del Pecado.” From beginning to end, it’s still an exhilarating and ambitious sonic journey with only a few cuts that disappoint.