Monday, May 07, 2007

REVISITING CALLE 13

I finally got the official release of Residente o Visitante (I had an advance CD-R for about a month before the disc streeted), and I like it better this way. There's an extra song, "Un Beso de Desayuno," which isn't great and doesn't feature any kind of super-special guest star, so it's hard to figure out why it wasn't on the advance. Plus, the sequencing is totally different from the advance.

"Tango del Pecado," the still somewhat disappointing first single, is still the first proper track, but "Sin Exagerar," the collaboration with Tego Calderon, has been moved up to the #4 spot, followed immediately by "Mala Suerta Con El 13," a sexually charged duet between Residente and La Mala Rodriguez (who sounds a lot like an earlier Calle collaborator, Nelly Furtado, here) and "Llégale a Mi Guarida," which features Vicentico formerly of Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. So it's more front-loaded now than it was, and all those tracks are really good, too (as is track #3, "La Fokin Moda"), starting the album off very strong before it drifts into a weird psych-pop romantic interlude with the aforementioned "Un Beso de Desayuno," which is an acoustic-guitar-and-piano-driven love song that makes "La Jirafa," from the last album, sound like Mystikal's "Pussy Crook" by comparison. That's followed by my absolute least favorite track on the whole damn disc, "Uigi Guaye," which features a chorus that literally features Residente grunting like some kind of fucking troll or something. What's really disappointing is that "Uigi" is built on a really cool electro groove, with dashes of theremin in there, too, and the verses are okay, but then the chorus just completely ruins it. Maybe they need an outside set of ears to veto ideas this shitty.

At least the album picks up steam again after that - every song from track #9 ("Algo Con-Sentido") through the closer, "La Era de la Copiaera," is solid or better, with the possible exception of the slightly too weird for its own good "El Avión Se Cae." I think it's gonna be a mistake to release "La Cumbia de los Aburridos" as the second single, though, as I've heard they're gonna do. Two songs in a row making a big deal out of incorporating regional sounds makes them seem too hippie/arty. They should put out the pimp-walking "La Crema" instead - it leaked months ago, so everyone knows it already, but it presents a great opportunity for a new video, which has always been one of their real strengths. (The "Tango del Pecado" video feels over-thought to me, though; they don't look like they're having nearly as much fun as they were in "Atrevete-te-te.") Anyway, other than the exact middle of the disc ("Un Beso de Desayuno" and "Uigi Guaye"), RoV is a very strong album, even better than it initially seemed. What do you mean, you haven't bought it yet?

1 comment:

mr.rdrm said...

"Two songs in a row making a big deal out of incorporating regional sounds makes them seem too hippie/arty."

I don't think it will make them seem too hippie/arty. It's clearly at least partly an attempt to appeal to a wider Latin American audience, and I don't think that audience is really going to mind being pandered to a little. Ivy Queen's cumbia-inflected "Dile" was apparently a massive hit with Colombians. Also, they've been pretty explicit in interviews about this CD being largely about their own travels in throughout Latin America. I think it's about expanding the reach of reggaeton &/or Puerto Rican culture (&/or Calle 13's career).

OTOH, when I heard the leaked "Cream," I assumed it would be one of the album's singles, so that seems like a reasonable suggestion.