Maldita Vecindad y los Hijos del Quinto Patio
It seems to be becoming a tradition. I’ll find myself remarking on how many good records I’ve heard lately, how things are really starting to sound different. Then I’ll hear something from overseas — Latin America, Spain, Holland — and realize that for the most part, American music is more concerned with consistency than creativity. Maldita Vecindad (“Damned Neighborhood”) combines elements of just about everything you could name, and some you can’t, with abandon, not even caring whether someone will think it cool to use that particular driving beat with an orchestra of mandolins and rapid-fire rap lyrics, or that klezmer clarinet over the power ballad. Or two-tone ska with a merengue chorus, and a couple genuine speed metal bars thrown in here and there. These are all things that happen on Mostros , but in the big picture it’s all just part of the ride. Maldita Vecindad have some pretty important things to say, some interesting observations and interpretations, but that never stands in the way of the music — the two go hand in hand here. Let’s hope this is the future of popular music.