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Es Mundial

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Albumrecensie

The young Panamanian dancehall DJ unexpectedly exploded on the Latin scene with "Muévelo," which makes him something of forerunner of the reggaeton scene. Es Mundial isn't really reggae en Español, though — the disc frames his rapid-fire dancehall delivery with extra percussion to create a strong Latin rhythm undertow, and El General has the vocal flow, an engaging aura of goofiness, and enough strong songs to make it a worthwhile effort. The uptempo opener, "Chip Chap Rap," is a good example — it's got flow, a very strategic insertion of the melody over the percussion base, and even a "Lord have mercy" à la Bounty Killer. His favorite topics are dancing and "Las Chicas," which appears here in three different versions, including a merengue and a "banda-reggae" version combining electronic rhythms with loopy horns and tuba line from a Mexican brass band. Banda was a short-lived Latin music craze in the '90s, which shows El General has his ears open to the scene around him. "Rica y Apretadita," a strong duet with his regular female singing partner, Anayca, boasts nice hooks, while "Diganme Cual" is a four-minute medley of a half-dozen older songs (already?) that's quite effective via its spare electronic backing and smooth transitions. "Poema I" is even smoother, with backing chorus, sultry sax, and a lyric theme exhorting the youth to study to escape poverty and have a future. But "Amor de Pobre" is rhythmically static, and while "Bolla La Wity" works off a good hook, there's only so much mileage you can get from straight DJing over minimal percussion backing before sameness sets in. It recovers a bit with "Las Chicas [C & C Posse Mix]" — using the Robert Clivilles-David Cole team of C+C Music Factory for the remix again shows El General stays hip to what his audience is listening to — that kills when a deadly house keyboard hook briefly enters over the rampaging percussion. It goes on too long for home listening, but it probably works just fine on the club dancefloors it was designed for. You could say Es Mundial falls on the lightweight side, but it's lively, high-spirited dance music and hitting the floor and "las chicas" (or chicos) have always been a big part of the pop music equation anyway. El General takes crafting his music seriously but doesn't appear to take himself too seriously — and that counts for a lot.

Biografie

Geboren: Rio Abajo, Panama

Genre: Latin urban

Jaren actief: '90s

Panamanian El General (born Edgardo A. Franco) began singing and composing songs at the age of 12 in his native Rio Abajo. After getting a scholarship, the young artist moved to the U.S. to study business administration, soon becoming a professional accountant. Nevertheless, he realized that music was his real passion and decided to start a singing career. El General's first record was called "Tu Pum Pum"; he soon after issued his debut album, Estas Buena, which featured the hit single "Te Ves Buena."...
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Es Mundial, El General
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