WRCU Review: World Music

Sarah Poulette

From Spanish pop to Cuban hip-hop to Venezuelan folk with a techno twist, Putumayo’s Radio Latino compilation features an assortment of chart-topping artists from Spanish-speaking countries.

Some of the songs are admittedly unexciting; as we know from the success of Britney Spears in the United States, it doesn’t take much to make a hit. Even with Spanish lyrics there is no hiding Raul Paz’s vapid refrain in “Mama,” nor can a driving drum machine make up for the sappiness present in Sacha Nairobi’s “Princesa.”

The songs, naturally, are at their best when the artists actually have something to say. The Cuban hip-hop group Orisha’s “Reina de la Calle” is a commentary on prostitution, and Martin Buscaglia’s cover of “Vagabundo,” is a song that sympathizes with the homeless. Other salient tracks on Radio Latino include the club-worthy croonings of Javier Garcia (“Me Gustar?-a”) and Jorge Moreno, (“Candelita”) not to mention appearances by award-winning musicians Bebe and Kelvis Ochoa.

The album as a whole feels redundant – the eleven tracks of Latin pop all begin to sound the same after a short time. Taken one at a time, however, it is obvious that, as always, Putumayo managed to get a few great tracks from the biggest names in the business for its otherwise mediocre compilation.