on 25 July 2002
I still can't beleive how good this album is. After 13 consecutive months in my stereo, I am awestruck at how effortlessly compelling it remains. I simply can't think of a good reason to take it out of my stereo.
I never thought I would like such a cheesy (sometimes), lighthearted (sometimes) and fun POP album so much. For some reason UK record labels seem to think that pop is just a term for manufactured rubbish churned out by pubescent boybands with no apparent musical talent, and the only music forms that should use live instruments and authentic sounds is rock. But this is pop as it should be, inventive, interesting, individual, relaxing, different, authentic, and just plain good.
I don't know why the comparisons with "Clandestino" are so unfavourable, I guess its just an example of whichever you buy first you like most. But for me, "Proxima" wins every time. It's awesome. Take note UK record labels, and give Manu the exposure he deserves!!
on 7 August 2001
This is my first experience of Manu (I bravely took the plunge of buying the CD after hearing Me Gustas Tu on the radio in Spain)and I'm thrilled with it. As for some songs repeating themselves I think Manu is simply creating a motif that binds all of the songs together and is consistent with the tracks running into each other. The whole thing is witty (musically not lyrically) and uplifting (I even thought that the rhymes in English were funny). I'm going to buy Clandestino on the basis that if its half as good as Esperanza it'll be very, very good. Incidentally I'm a 42 year old bloke and my 16 and 12 years old sons find it acceptable although not as keen as me.
on 12 July 2003
A week ago today I was sitting with my family in a Mexican restaurant celebrating my son's birthday. This music came on that I couldn't help tapping/drumming/moving to -- I had to find out what it was -- the waiter mumbled something I didn't understand, so I asked to see the cover. By Thursday, those rhythms were still going through me, so I *had* to order it! The CD arrived 6 hours ago and has been on the player -- loud -- non-stop since then (will I ever dare to complain again at my teenagers for playing stuff incessantly?!?!).
How to describe it? A fantastic fusion of Latin, salsa, Caribbean, reggae, and a whole lot I haven't a clue about, but it works. It is alive, inventive, anarchic, addictive, amusing. Real "summer" music! I've been excited about "new" (to me) music for the first time for decades. And I've just ordered more of his stuff.
How have I managed not to hear this guy before?
on 11 October 2001
Best album of the year by several leagues, this deserves to be bought not only by world music worthies, but by all fans of intelligent, infectious pop music to laugh and cry to.
As others have said, those who own Clandestino will initially be disappointed; then we realise it was our own conservatism. After a few listens, the more vibey Proxima Estacion clearly wins out over the linear song-writing of Clandestino. There's an obvious Marley influence in parts, while standout track Me Gustas Tu could have been written by REM when they were good (if they spoke Spanish and French and had the rythmn, that is).
If you're unfamiliar with Manu Chao, it's "world" music in the positive, life affirming, accessible, sense. Yes, there are lots of five-star reviews around, but this guy's unique. Check it out.
on 4 July 2004
Why on earth does every record shop in the Anglophone world relegate this kind of genius to the dungeon of 'world music' while they promote derrivative cack like The Jets or Franz Ferdinand? Manu Chao is worth his weight in Inca gold for creating an album like this. And where does he languish? In a box in the cellar of an independant music shop filed behind a cardboard divider with 'Latin' scrawled on it. Such a travesty. Let those who have ears hear: This is your rich substance!
on 24 September 2001
No doubt about it.
This is a mix of all the travels and cultures Manu has visited. It's a CD for people who feel they don't belong in any culture but appreciate all in each.
It's an adult aproach to what life and the world should be about.
I really loved it and recomend it. Since it's a multi lingual CD, it's hillarious the mix of English/French/Spanish/Portuguese. It won't disapoint.
on 28 October 2002
When Manu toured the UK recently he was billed as 'an out of control office party in Cuba'. This just shows the ignorance of the PR team. Although Manu loves Cuban music its influence is not that obvious on this album. Far more evident is the influence of Mexican Rock. Listen to the radio samples and you can't help but think of the El Gran Silencio album 'Radio Poder'. Listen to the guitar rift on 'Me Gustas tu' and you are reminded of 'Pez' by Cafe Tacuba. The lyrics of 'Me Gustas Tu' made me think of the end of 'El Borrego' also by Cafe Tacuba. Of course, there are other influences too numerous to mention- reggae, jazz, etc. It seems Manu has drawn inspiration from all over the place. I'm prepared to bet that the song 'Le rendez-Vous' came into his head whilst he was watching the third part of Eric Rohmer's film 'Le Rendez-Vous a Paris' with English subtitles- on the subtitled English version of the film the words 'Stop it' as a translation for 'Ca suffit' strangely make their appearance on the screen before the French dialogue- a fact which clearly stuck in Manu's mind. This album is more up-tempo than Clandestino, more varied but seems less personal. I have given up trying to decide which album I prefer but please Manu: less songs in English (make the English learn your languages). My favorite songs on this album are 'Mi vida', 'Vaca loca' and 'Le rendez-vous'. The version of 'Denia' is a weaker version of a song he recorded with Algerian singer Idir which has a fantastic French lyric about women's rights in Algeria.
on 5 March 2009
This is the honest truth. I was rodding my drains last night. A grim task at the best of times, but seven houses' effluent pass the back of mine and I'm the one on the end who gets to clear the blockage. However I put on the ipod, picked out this album and the grisly proceedings began.
Not so grisly! The most horrendous task became an absolute joy. If you've never danced you're backside off whilst manipulating draining rods, you should give it a try. The drain cleared by the time Mr Bobby came on, but as the song goes, I could have danced all night.
A fabulously warm, happy, childish, fun, and infectious album. I've been exploring this chap's work for only a year now and happily there's a big back catalogue to have a go at.
Sod the credit crunch and buy it now. It comes with a guarantee to cheer you up. I should know.
on 5 September 2007
If like me you used to dismiss music that was not sung in English, then buy this now and change your view on the music out there in the wide world. I got into Manu Chao by chance when I spoke to a very knowing person who advised me to try him out. Not many people have heard of Manu Chao presumably because he is just not written about in the British music press. The music itself as described by others is a mix of world music, sung in several languages including English. The songs just bring joy and addiction. I haven't stopped listening to this album since buying it. It is hard to describe what the music brings to me, but a smile to my face. I know that you don't need to know what is being sung about as long as the music is good, the music is great. The only problem is now that there is a big back catalogue of music (including Mano Negra) that I am now going to have to purchase. Still that is a good thing, because though I'm 40 years old I still love discovering something new. I discover something new in this album every time I listen to it. I've ordered several more of the back catalogue and can't wait for the postman to deliver them. Thats it I've waffled enough, the album has now finished it's time to press the play button again.
on 6 June 2001
It's been almost three years since "Clandestino", and this album, "Proxima estacion: esperanza", was more than expected by Manu Chao's numerous fans. All the ingredients that made Manu Chao's music popular are in this CD: mixture of styles and languages, the "Latino Bob Marley", as they call him in South America, makes us see the world as a big village. 'Denia', sang in Arabic, is one of my favourites: the music itself isn't Arabic and yet it's sang in this language, mixing cultures and ideas in a brilliant way. 'Infinita tristeza', the last song of the album, is by far the more 'techno'. It mixes the story of a man going on a mission to the outer space, and the one of a kid who wants to know how to make babies. Manu Chao's world is baroque and inventive, multicultural and festive. "Clandestino" was first meant to be his swansong, as he didn't expect it to be so successful (more than 2.5 million CDs sold). Let's hope that with this one, he'll achieve international recognition. Buena suerte Manu!