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Clandestino

Manu Chao

1998

Buy At Rough Trade
Clandestino
Album Summary

Clandestino is the first full-length solo album by Manu Chao, released in 1998. The album contains many soundbites throughout, two of which are bits of a speech by Subcomandante Marcos and, like Chao's subsequent albums, was mostly recorded by the musician himself in various locations around the world, using a small laptop—which is referred to in the liner notes as Estudio Clandestino. The French edition of Rolling Stone magazine named this album the 67th greatest French rock album (out of 100). The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. The album was ranked number 469 in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2020.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.21

Votes

11901

Genres

  • World

Reviews

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Tue Aug 03 2021
3

When you're in Mexico, and you go downstairs at whatever dive backpacker hostel you're staying in after a huge night drinking the shitty local imitation Corona, this is exactly what the seedy cunt who owns the hostel will be playing as he has a ciggie and hoses the vomit off the floor. He somehow won't be hungover, but you'll want to die. You'll also remember, through the haze, getting knocked back by that cute fair-weather hippie chick who is staying in one of the other rooms. You thought her flowing skirt, flirty behaviour and see-through top were a come-on, didn't you? lol. Just drink your breakfast beer and hang your head in shame, loser. Maybe you should give googol bordello a go if you're serious about trying to root chix who are pretending to be free spirits for the duration of this one holiday. Throw your standards out the door; just do it. Snarky disses aside, this was pretty catchy. 3/5.

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Fri Jul 30 2021
4

Well, that was a delightful surprise. This album was just fun. It was energetic without being frantic, proud of its roots while staying accessible, complex without being too complicated. I really enjoyed it.

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Tue Sep 29 2020
4

I expected to say "I respect this, but it's not for me" and call it a day, but it was way more listenable than I expected. Plus, who can resist a lyric like "Welcome to Tijuana / Tequila, sexo, y marijuana"? Best track: Welcome to Tijuana.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
5

Es difícil hablar chido sobre un wey que creó un personaje con este disco y que luego se lo creyó hasta que que el Manuel Chao, ciudadano francés, desapareció por completo. Un wey que seguro tiene un pinche castillo en Francia o algo así por el estilo pero que en algún momento representó cierta posición política altermundista, de izquierdas pues, que era interesante. Para empezar, puedo decir que el wey nunca superó este disco. Ni lo hará. Creo que en Clandestino volcó todo lo que tenía que decir. Y ya no hay más que agregar. O mucho que agregar. Y está bien, no pasa nada. Eso que tenía que decir es esa idea de mestizaje desde el primer mundo, Barcelona mestiza. Yo siempre le olí un poco de turismo de clase a ese pedo. Digo, al final muy vivan los zapatistas y no sé qué pero vives en Europa, carnal. No es lo mismo. No es lo mismo tomar esa posición en México o en Chile que en la España del capital. Pero al menos lo intentó, hizo algo con eso, me caga la palabra privilegio, eso. Pero fuera de esa disonancia que siempre estará presente en lo que haga Manu. Igual les platico el ciclo con Manu Chao (que me ha pasado con muchas bandas): Lo amé, me formó. Me cansó, me hartó y luego me cagó. Odio, mucho odio. Escuchando el disco hoy, enero de 2020. Creo que tiene más sentido que antes. O al menos lo entiendo mucho mejor. Ritmos cubanos, ska, reggae, trompetas de esas que los españoles llaman fronterizas, flamenco. Me da esperanza, me da orgullo (¿?). La fuerza de nuestra región, la riqueza de nuestras expresiones. Creo que lo más chido es que es un disco profundamente melancólico. Celebrando la mentira, la muerte, lo ilegal, lo que se oculta. Una melancolía vital. Una que alienta la esperanza porque hay que estar vivos para sentir esa melancolía. La malegría. Trisfeliz dice un gran amigo. Mención aparte tiene Welcome to Tijuana. Es raro verme representado en el rock o como quieres llamar a esto. Está lleno de bangers este trip. 14 rolas, 14 likes. Bye.

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Wed Jun 23 2021
5

Love the vibes of this one. Something that will definitely make my rotation since I'm always looking for good world music to vibe to.

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Tue Aug 02 2022
3

3.3 - This album immediately transports me to a hostel lobby circa 2001. There are tapestries of Ché Guevara and Bob Marley hanging on the wall. I'm sipping on a lukewarm cup of Nescafé waiting to use the communal computer so I can book my next train ticket. Some Belgian chick who I just met is sitting across from me explaining why George W Bush sucks. I nod my head politely, mostly tuning her out and listening to this music bumping in the background. "Did the singer just rhyme 'Tijuana' and 'marijuana'?" I think. This scene which may have excited me when I was 20 just seems tiresome now that I'm older. And that's exactly how I feel listening to this record. There's a chill vibe throughout but it's overall uninspiring.

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Thu Feb 02 2023
2

The sound of white dreadlocks.

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Sat Feb 27 2021
5

So far I like this one. I think the soundbites add some interest to the songs, and I like the sound of Spanish music. I liked this one a lot. I would consider downloading this one.

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Sat Jan 23 2021
1

Was not in english so not for me

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Tue Feb 23 2021
1

Spanish shite. Like the stuff you hear when you're hungover, eating breakfast in a bar in Benidorm

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Thu Feb 11 2021
5

Habe dieses Album auf dem Weg zum Splash 2011 gehört, obwohl das LineUp weiter weg von Manu Chao nich sein könnte. Aber so bringt man sich halt in Stimmung. Irgendwas zwischen 4 und 5 würde ich als Bewertung da lassen, aber Rationale Zahlen sind ja nicht möglich. Danke Entwickler.

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Tue Jun 15 2021
5

This is one of my favorites ever. Manu Chao is an absolute party - incredible talent, catchy, great melodies, spectacular use of language. And a damn good concert.

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Thu May 27 2021
5

this just rules. I don't know anything about this genre of music, and I'd never heard of Chao, but this was such an enjoyable experience. it's sort of beneficial that I feel like I don't know what's going on (due to both language and genre), because I can get very lost in the music!

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Sun Dec 19 2021
5

I'm not always on board with the mood Manu channels, but the craft of that channeling is immaculate as far as I'm concerned. The mixing of vocals into the rest of the sounds is especially perfect. The dash between "French" and "Spanish" on Chao's Wikipedia is audible. Feels good to really love an album on the site again. No single track leaped out at me, which gives me more confidence in the score.

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Tue Apr 05 2022
5

An old favorite from way back. I mean, he's the king of Bongo Bong, what more is there to say?

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Tue Jul 13 2021
4

Really fun! A nice variety of moods and feels, but they all make me want to dance.

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Thu Aug 26 2021
4

Manu's grasp on languages and genres is impressive. You never really know what you're going to get on each song. I feel like a lot of the record is influenced by early hip-hop (including the two rapped tracks earlier in the track list). A solid 3.5 from me. Favorite tracks: "Luna y Sol", "Mentira"

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Sat Oct 23 2021
4

An absolutely fascinating. So many styles and really interesting sounds. Each song seems to have something compelling about it. I like the switch from Spanish to French and back again. I have no clue how to classify the music on this album but I do know I am very much looking forward to the next listen and discovering more layers of goodness. 4.5 stars

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Sun Oct 31 2021
4

Very interesting mix. The music itself seems to be more Latin American inspired but the lyrics are sung in many languages including Spanish French and English. The music is infectious and very danceable. My Spanish isn’t as good as it used to be so I don’t understand as much as I like, but from what I’ve read, the lyrics have an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist

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Wed Dec 29 2021
4

Loved it. I was impressed when after 4 or 5 songs he had shifted from Spanish to English to French. Apparently Minha Galeria (track 14) is in Portuguese. But aside from his mastery of different languages, the style is upbeat, the beats are catchy, and his lyrics are interesting (at least from what I could understand from English and French...minimally Spanish). Regardless the language, there's lots of neat wordplay. One knock is some cheesy studio effects added in periodically (e.g., the 80's video game missle sound in Desaparecido and other songs). My favorite tracks were Malegria (crazy cool pace), Dia Lunadia Pena (his best vocals and elegant melody), Welcome To Tijuana (weird and wonderful), Je Ne T'Aime Plus (great beats, which were the same as Bongo Bong but lyrics not as cheesy), Clandestino (nice intro to the album), La Vie a 2 (simple guitar arrangement combined with intense vocals).

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Tue Jan 18 2022
4

Heh, I don’t think Manu Chao had much of an impact on the UK, but he was apparently massive a lot of other places. I first encountered his music while backbacking around Thailand around 2000, as was the custom at the time, and a guesthouse owner kept asking me “Do you like Manu Chao?” and I assumed it was Thai for something, food, or drugs or lawd knows what, and when I said I didn’t know what Manu Chao was he just kept repeating “Manu Chao! Manu Chao!” and waving his arms around - in retrospect to get me to pay attention to the music that was playing - but I was utterly baffled for an embarrassingly long time… The music is alright, I guess - chill, polyglot, a bit juvenile from what I do understand. Probably a three star album, but I'm awarding an extra star for the above anecdote associations... Fave track - "Bongo Bong" which I'm pretty sure was the track that was playing in that guesthouse...

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Mon Jan 24 2022
4

Enjoyed this a lot - sultry latin vibes for a cold winter's weekend. Whenever it threatened to get a bit samey he'd chuck in a louder or softer number to keep things fresh, or sing in a completely different language just for the hell of it. Earns its fourth star for absolute commitment to the album format - I don't think anything else on the list so far has flowed so seamlessly between tracks.

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Sun May 02 2021
3

Surprisingly tasty, and apparently recorded on his laptop!

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Wed Jul 26 2023
3

Kinda lost me at "king of the bongo" but I thought this was overall quite enjoyable

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Sun Aug 06 2023
3

The album has a beautiful sunset feel to it. I also like the minimalistic production. Would have never guessed this guy is French-Spanish.

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Tue Dec 28 2021
2

I bet The Jesus from The Big Lebowski tells everyone this is his favorite album, but he's probably never even listened to it. Good on him.

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Thu Sep 29 2022
2

Interesting listen, much different from anything I would normally listen to. Not really my thing but I thought some of it was enjoyable. Really impressive that he made the whole album on a laptop in the 90s while traveling the world.

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Mon Jan 23 2023
2

Manu Chao’s “Clandestino” is a really fascinating tapestry of cultural and geographic musings that fall into each other without really ever clashing. Chao, a polyglot, sings in up to four languages on the album, and with each language, he pulls influences from the respective cultures, making the album a melting pot of ideas and sonic structures that are still cohesive. probably because Chao is selling a message of universal oneness and peace. but that cohesion, a few songs in, begins to breed repetition, till the music blends into itself. the album is light and breezy, sure, but that lightness begins to work against it: all of it fades into the background, with nothing truly lush enough to stand out. though i admit this is not music i would naturally gravitate towards, i can appreciate the courage in Chao’s ideas and thematic leanings; how he not only sings of unity, but strives to sound like it too. but the music just lacks the gusto to really hold itself together — and maybe that alone says a lot about the world it’s hoping to unite.

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Sun Aug 13 2023
2

A few tracks are alright, but most are either forgettable or actively annoying.

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Fri May 24 2024
2

Not for me to judge but here I am.

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Thu Feb 25 2021
5

venezuelano, clandestino brasileño, clandestino ilegall

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Mon Jan 18 2021
5

Really enjoyable music to have on while cooking dinner. Easy and interesting to listen to. The songs seemed varied but not too far from each other in theme/feel. Was a bit confused that some of the songs seemed to be in French but then Google told me he is a French born Spanish musician and sings in many many languages.

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Thu Jan 28 2021
5

9/10 clandstino es un temon. Aguante manu chao

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Thu Feb 11 2021
5

Clandestino, desaparecido, mentira, bongo bongo

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Mon Mar 01 2021
5

Deze moet ik deze zomer zeker nog eens opleggen, buiten op mijn (of een) terrasje. Lekker wegdromen. Het hele album hangt als mooi als een ketting samen.

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Mon Aug 23 2021
5

Long time favourite for a cracking artist

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Wed Nov 10 2021
5

Es de estos discos que pones en el carro y llegas a donde sea.

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Fri Nov 12 2021
5

Wish I knew this when it came out and not a decade later

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Tue Nov 23 2021
5

I love that album! It has great drive and good vibes, really like it

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Sat Dec 04 2021
5

Jedan od najdražih vinila koje posjedujem, topčina manu chao je prava momčina! Nije mi iskreno baš baš čista petica, al čem sam sve dao 4, mora biti ovdje među odabranima.

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Tue Dec 07 2021
5

Un album exceptionnelle. Un classique

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Thu Dec 23 2021
5

A classic. I don't listen to Manu Chao anymore but I'm giving this album 5 stars for still being fun and relevant in 2021.

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Sun Feb 06 2022
5

02/05/2022 This one rules. No skips. Love the vibe.

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Mon Feb 28 2022
5

Rapping and singing in multiple languages takes talent!

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Mon Feb 28 2022
5

Delightful. Loved the French reggae vibe.

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Mon Jun 06 2022
5

Let's be honest here. Bongo bong is a hit. Could be an album of silence with that at the end and were still giving it 4 stars...but it's not silence, so 5

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Sun Jun 26 2022
5

Love the mix of styles and cultures.

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Tue Jul 12 2022
5

I love this album, it's a banger. Reminds me of Josh Watson circa 2008-2010

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Fri Oct 21 2022
5

Another one from the bootleg era, I thought it was from like 2002 because that was when my sister downloaded it. I also thought many of these songs came from different albums lol. Also I should mention my mom loves this album. I myself think it’s great, I think I used to find his voice a bit annoying but I don’t anymore, also I use to dislike the fact that he is French but sings like latino, but I guess my views towards cultural appropriation have shifted a bit. The music is great, the concept amazing and the soundbites funny, soulful or thoughtful af. Marcos may be a controversial figure (not really tho) but damn those speeches hit. To the funny guy reviewing this album with his backpacking experiences: there are no cheap corona imitations here in México, you uncultured swine.

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Tue Oct 25 2022
5

A catchy mélange of French, Latin, Reggae and whatever else. MC is a great songwriter, political and satirical, and an amazing performer, as my co-judge and I discovered 20 years ago. Bongo Bong was a big hit in my spinning classes. The theme runs throughout this album, and his next one. I found the original fron Manu Negro a few years earlier, which sounds like it could be a Beastie Boys version. I'm amazed he played mostly every instrument and recorded it on his laptop. And this went gold in Canada!

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Sat Dec 03 2022
5

Fun all the way! Party in Europe.

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Fri Dec 09 2022
5

See listening notes to this. Current fave: la vie à 2.

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Thu Dec 22 2022
5

I was honestly quite shocked, as I think I made a preconception based on the album art. But this truly blew me away, with a good sonic blend and both emotion and playfulness staggered throughout.

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Tue Jan 03 2023
5

I have a few songs by Manu Chao from some mix tape I received many years ago, but never listened to an entire album. Really enjoyed this! The French-Spanish angle was interesting too. Great!

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Tue Jan 03 2023
5

Varied, interesting, and fun. Will listen again!

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Tue Jan 03 2023
5

Musically this was fun. Lyrically, I cannot really judge, so the album gets a pass on that. If only some of the other albums that we’ve had were not in English…

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Tue Jan 03 2023
5

I knew of Manu Chao from a few tracks a friend had put on some mix CDs twenty years ago. I was definitely a fan, although I never looked for more of Chao's music. I've been missing out. This has such an interesting and engaging sound, and with only a basic knowledge of Spanish, I caught enough to want to decode the compelling lyrics further. I loved listening to this and I would like to listen to more!

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Sun Jan 08 2023
5

I had never heard of this artist before, but loved it! Good variation of sounds (and languages) and I enjoyed all of it. Listened to it twice and enjoyed it just as much the second time. That’s five stars from me dawg.

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Tue Jan 10 2023
5

Album divertido, pegajoso y con buenas letras. Super disfrutable

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Tue Feb 21 2023
5

There’s a school of thought which ascribed to Spanish culture a reactionary and backwards character which prevented any significant artistic or cultural products emerging from the Iberian peninsula. The origins of this character is rooted in the belief that Spain’s subordination to both Islamic and Christian fanaticism has imbued its people with a lingering aversion to the enlightenment values which gave life to some of the most precious artefacts of European artistic achievement. (see: the Black Legend on Wikipedia for more on this stuff). Truthfully, you can kind of see what is meant by this theory, even if there are glaring historical inconsistencies underpinning its premise. While I am not even 200 albums through this project, the contribution of Spain to the canon of popular music is practically nonexistent. Its folk music lacks universal appreciation, and when it comes to popular music you can just forget it. The eruption of punk in the country, which had already invigorated most of Western Europe in the late 1970s, came too late and with seriously derivative results (a prevailing trend). What has this to do with “Clandestino” by Manu Chao? Well, I would argue that the ex-Mano Negra member achieved one of the most significant Spanish contributions to popular music with this offering - even if he isn’t exactly, well, Spanish. His ancestral connections to the country are, in fact, to the Basque Country, which is a less than enthusiastic participant in Spanish identity-building. That being said, Manu Chao’s use of the Spanish language is some of the most poetically ingenious you will hear. While the general locus of the record is found, rather predictably, in the idea of loneliness and nomadic uncertainty, he illustrates this sense of vagrancy with some really biting social commentary and sardonic wit. The multi-lingual approach to his songwriting compounds this placelessness which doesn’t so much torment the narrator, but rather confronts him as an inescapable reality. Additionally, the record has a lot going for it sonically. It’s a really unique hybrid of Latin folk, hip-hop and punk which just works on so many levels. It’s a blend that’s hard to describe without sounding too reductive, but just listen to the subtle combination of genres on tracks like “Bongo Bong” - it sounds equally at home in the sun-bleached bars of Havana as it does in the rustic Parisian ghettos. It’s a concept album in the loosest sense, but is so rich in thematic depth - and these two things should not be conflated. The album is so far from pretentious, that it delves so profoundly into its philosophical material. So… Vive La France? Arriba España? Gora Euskadi? Yes…

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Tue Mar 07 2023
5

I know nostalgia is making me overly generous but I'm sticking with it.

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Fri Mar 17 2023
5

¡Este álbum es fantástico! Me encanta la musica y la voz. Suena como la banda sonata de Narcos México. Las tres primeras canciones son mis favoritas. Me gusta como Bongo Bong se convierte sin problemas en Je Ne T’aime Plus. Bien hecho. Estaré escuchando este álbum muchas veces en el futuro.

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Wed May 03 2023
5

Rating: 9/10 Best songs: Clandestino, Bongo bong, Je ne t’aime plus, Mentira, luna y sol

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Mon May 08 2023
5

Very unique and diverse album.

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Thu May 18 2023
5

Wasn't sure what to expect from this, but ended up quite enjoying it. "Bongo Bong" and "Welcome to Tijuana" are my top picks.

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Thu Jun 15 2023
5

Buiten is het code geel door de regen, maar hierbinnen in men kantoor te Schoten schijnt die zuiderse zon als nooit tevoren. Heerlijk album met nummers die al in wat zomerplaylisten van me zitten zoals Clandestino en Bongo bong.

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Thu Jun 22 2023
5

Not sure I'd call this "rock", but I really enjoyed it.

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Fri Jul 28 2023
5

Ну как можно не любить Ману Чао? 100/10

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Fri Sep 08 2023
5

Discazo de Manu Chao. Vinilo.

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Wed Sep 13 2023
5

Incredible iconic album, one of the best ever

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Wed Sep 13 2023
5

Excellent - can't believe I have never listened to him before!

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Sun Oct 08 2023
5

i love this album cuz it makes me want to respectfully shake ass with a coconut in my hand and not a care in the world

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Sun Oct 08 2023
5

Man this album brings me back! I first heard it while on a 4 month solo trip in Brazil. I was (at the time) staying in a hostel perched high above the bay in Rio with a view down Ipanema. I was a journalist at the time, so I would sit on the roof deck writing articles while this album came heavily on rotation. Needless to say this isn't a pure review of the album, but the life I lived when I first heard it, because I have barely revisited this album since being back in the states. Overall such a wonderful flow and tons of fun! Bongo Boy is, ofc, the standout, but I really loved how much this album blends languages, music types and themes to pain this picture of hispanic culture. Outside the album, I decided to visit his Wiki page (as I do with all the artists), and was extremely surprised to find his beliefs to be both refreshing and non-ludicrous. I feel like its worth people reading themselves , but I'd recommend a read - just an all round brilliant dude who makes banging music! Nice!

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