Back in my childhood, the first album i owned was “Clandestino” by Manu Chao. Since then this record attended me in every part of my life and I became enchanted by the unique atmosphere, which the french globalization detractor streams out. After the breakup of the legendery Mano Negra, Manu travelled around the world and aimed to released a final album as a solo artist. On this record he wanted to balance accounts with the music industry. He gathered a number of songs on his laptop, which were underlaid with hardcore electronica sounds. But fortunately the computer collapsed and the whole electronic part was deleted forever. Therefore, this wonderful and outstanding creation was developed.
With the openers “Clandestino” and “Desaparecido”, Manu embraces the story of a illegal immigrant, which serves as a so-called Lost – “me dicen el desaparecido” – and who has to survive through concealment and solitude. Afterwards follows with “Bongo Bong” a cover of Mano Negras “King Of Bongo”. In this song, which later has been covered by Robbie Williams, the state of being doomed as a outsider in a big town is pictured. With a fluent changeover “Je Ne T’Aime Plus” follows, whereupon the songtitle tells everything about the content.
In “Mentira” the brass section is focussed for the first time, as in the second part of the song a trombone the track, which’s over the lies of the community, leads.
Electronic elements are partially used in some songs, but the calm concept of the album don’t get lost for this reaseon. By the use of the distinctive changes, the separate songs fuse into a single creation and the final produce is the entire record, until with “Welcome To Tijuana” another individual track emerges. The love to the mexican border town is the subject of this song. Tequila, sex and marijuana are the three praised pros of Tijuana. But actually Manu tries to point to problem with the mexican drug cartels, which are furnished with weapons by the USA, so that they can smuggle enough drugs into the states, to satisfy the demand.
“Cladestino” by Manu Chao is a unique album, which doesn’t just convince by the use of gentle music, but with wonderful lyrics in Spanish, French, English and Portuguese about the wind, which is howling over the country roads, about the expectation of the last wave, about the corrupt tollkeeper or about the lie of the truth.