Various Artists

World: The Greatest Songs Ever

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This Time Life collection defines world music broadly, focusing on well-known songs spiced with international and very accessible flair. Kicking off with a one-two dance step in Lou Bega's turn-of-the-century novelty "Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of...)" and los Del Rio's international craze "Macarena," the set breezes through a tasteful cut from the 1997 phenomenon Buena Vista Social Club, includes the Gipsy Kings' irrepressible "Bamboleo," soars over to Ireland for the haunting Clannad classic "Theme From 'Harry's Game'," and goes instrumental with the fusionist flamenco of Ottmar Liebert's "Barcelona Nights." And that's only World: The Greatest Songs Ever's first half. It moves to the 1960s for hits from Miriam Makeba ("Pata Pata") and Harry Belafonte ("Jump in the Line"), includes the oft-licensed, still irresistible "Soul Bossa Nova," and even gets away with Musical Youth's 1982 reggae lark "Pass the Dutchie." The Greatest Songs Ever might be more accurately titled "The Most Popular World-Flavored Songs Ever." Regardless, it's perfect for the casual listener, with favorites from beginning to end.

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