Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Oh Happy Day!

Anyone who has read my profile or spent any time with me knows I am a huge fan of Manu Chao. I can't get enough of his crazy world beat multilingual music. I love the repetition of musical samples, the clever lyrics, the complex themes covered in seemingly simple songs, and the fabulous audio collage thing he has going on.

He's not terribly well known in the US which is probably why his latest studio album wasn't even released here. It's all in French which probably doesn't do much for sales on our side of the pond. I've only been able to find extremely expensive copies of this CD (like $60 and up) until one day in December when I took a peek on eBay and, miraculously, there was a copy of this very CD with a starting bid of $7.50.

Something went horribly wrong years ago in the process of setting up my account and things became so colossally screwed up that I have never been able to use eBay. And it's probably just as well, really. But when I found this album I simply had to have it. I called on the able assistance of a dear friend who managed to win it for me despite a few hours of competition with some Italian guy. I was considering emailing the guy and explaining to him that since he could actually buy the CD in Italy it would be really nice if he would just let me get it. But I don't speak Italian. Nonetheless he must have sensed my agitation because he stopped bidding and the CD was mine. It's been pointed out that I could have likely special ordered this from any number of music shops here in town, but I rather like this roundabout way of getting my hands on this CD. The best part? It was mailed from Bulgaria! You just don't get stories like this with iTunes!

And the music, unsurprisingly, is great. I'm on my 3rd time through (it would have been more were it not for my job!) and I'm liking it more with each listen. There are a few familiar musical bits from earlier albums but the sound is very distinctive. The lyrics, alternating from silly to serious to indecipherable (for me anyway) are entirely in French and Manu's voice is warm and rich. The album seems somehow simpler and more personal than earlier works. I'm delighted to have this new addition to my collection.

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