Calle 13

Los de Atrás Vienen Conmigo

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Los de Atrás Vienen Conmigo, the third album by Calle 13, follows a tremendous run of success in which the Puerto Rican urban music duo won six Grammys in the span of two years, was praised left and right by critics, and toured internationally, including crowd-pleasing performances at the Viña del Mar International Song Festival and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Like its predecessor, Residente o Visitante (2007), Los de Atrás Vienen Conmigo is a step forward for Calle 13 -- another step away from the reggaetón scene from which they arose and toward a fearlessly experimental style of urban music unlike anything else out there at the time of its release. In fact, right off the bat, during the album's opening song, "Que Lloren," vocalist Residente distances himself from the reggaetón scene, taking rival reggaetoneros to task for their lyrical vacuousness and declaring Calle 13 the thinking-man's urban music. While that's more or less true from a lyrical standpoint, as once again Residente proves himself thoughtful, satirical, and twisted -- someone who embraces his reputation as an outsider, someone who prides himself on individuality -- the musical productions of Visitante are more rhythmically infectious and stylistically versatile than ever. If this is thinking-man's urban music, it's mighty funky at the same time. Indeed, the album's highlights -- of which there are many, among them "No Hay Nadie Como Tú," "Esto con Eso," "La Perla," "Electro Movimiento," "Fiesta de Locos," "Tal Para Cual" -- are production standouts, melding together an assortment of Latin rhythms, exotic instrumentation, and futuristic electronics. As on Residente o Visitante, many of the highlights are also collaborations: Café Tacuba is featured on "No Hay Nadie Como Tú," a five-minute tour de force that kicks the album into high gear after the opening salvo of "Que Lloren"; Juanes is featured as a guitarist on "Esto con Eso," though you wouldn't know if not for the liner note credits, as there's so much else going on in the song musically; in addition to percussionists La Chilinga, Rubén Blades is featured prominently on "La Perla," a seven-minute workout that is simply magnificent; Afrobeta, a heretofore more or less unknown act from Miami, is featured on the '80s freestyle throwback jam "Electro Movimiento"; and frequent collaborator PG-13 contributes to multiple songs, most notably on "Esto con Eso."

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