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Monday, August 27, 2007

Manu Chao: What Is Up With Your Outfit?

posted by on August 27 at 14:47 PM

Normally, I am not one to judge, but sheesh! This is the worst outfit I’ve ever seen on the front of a record:

How do I even describe it’s terrible-ness? The elements are all awful: The curved-bill baseball cap, the shirt proclaiming “The Gulf” (huh?), the pants button popping out from under the ill-fitting belt, the pants themselves with their needless cargo pockets.

Manu Chao, I thought you were the king of Spanish Suave! What happened?

[Please do note, Chao’s record covers have been almost universally awful:
But at least they look thought out, instead of looking like a middle-aged Dad who’s been hiking all day because he needs to lower his cholesterol.]

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snotty americans!

Posted by you | August 27, 2007 3:39 PM

was anyone else forced to sit through manu at sasquatch this year. god that was a totally stupid boring set. i have no respect for this guy at all. musically he is a rip-off artist with nothing interesting to say except inane shit over and over ad naseum.

all the frat boys and nouveau hippies looooooooved him though. every time the word "marijuana" was said during a song they would all drunkenly whoot and holler.

lameness personified.

Posted by terry miller | August 27, 2007 4:01 PM

thats indeed a terrible record cover, in so many ways.

dont judge manu chao by his live shows. his albums are where its at--hardly the uprocking ska-punk affairs of his concerts. at his heart, chao is all about dub--layering sounds to produce deep, heavy productions, somehow minimal and busy at the same time. hes a great songwriter, too.

his sasquatch set wasnt very good. neither was the show i saw in san diego last year, but the crowd there was freaking awesome. mostly mexicans from across the border, there were human towers, four or five guys high, sprouting up all over the crowd. people were going berserk. it was super cool, but the show got pretty repetitive about halfway through.

Posted by jz | August 27, 2007 4:08 PM

i've heard his albums and think they are lame hippie crap.

Posted by terry miller | August 27, 2007 4:15 PM

Terry is correct. For lack of a more eloquent way to say it, that dude sucks.

The sleeve on that top pic looks like it was put together by a banker's assistant for a PowerPoint presentation.

Posted by Dougsf | August 27, 2007 4:29 PM

terry, you must have a broad definition of "hippie crap." dude was in a badass pan-european punk band before going solo; his new stuff has exactly zero guitar or drum solos or goofy lyrics.

Posted by jz | August 27, 2007 5:06 PM

Ari, you do realize that you're critiquing the fashion sense of a Spaniard, right?

Living in wonderful warm climes makes fashion take a back seat to comfort. He looks like a classic Lebowski.

It's almost like I can hear him saying, "I'll try to find my shirt with the buttons on it later, right now I need a toke."

Posted by Duuuuuuude | August 27, 2007 5:30 PM

I can't believe so many people have negative things to say about Manu! First of all, the shirt actually says, "El golfo de Mexico." I think he took off the "de Mexico" part because he didn't want to seem partial to Mexico opposed to other countries of the World, but that's just a guess.
Also, I went to his show in LA and it was spectacularly fun. If anyone wants to read more about him and get the album for a good price, check out this site:

Posted by Manu fan | August 27, 2007 5:56 PM

eh, opinions are like... - this guy speaks for a lot of people. no wonder america is last on his list of places to conquer. pretensions seem to get the best of us. Can't wait for the new album!

Posted by blaseblass | August 27, 2007 6:21 PM

'El Golfo' is a play on words... it means both The Gulf and is slang for male gigolo. Both have interesting interpretations if you think about Manu Chao and all his 'hippie'/green attitudes.

Of course we can't really expect someone to actually get it since it's a Spanish phrase, um, in a, Spanish record. Um. Wait...

Anyway. It's disingenuous to expect Manu to cater to English speakers in his records, his biggest success has been in Spanish and French so far.

Posted by ddg | August 27, 2007 8:29 PM

two words jz:

bongo bong.

Posted by terry miller | August 27, 2007 9:49 PM

I'm with Terry, the set at Sasquatch was terrible. I'm pretty sure they used that sample of a siren in every single song of their set. Not to mention how repetitive the music itself was....

Posted by bunnypuncher | August 28, 2007 1:22 AM

If he was dressed like a robot singing about robots sounding like a robot everyone here would be creaming their pants over him.
How is the sound more annoying or the record covers more tacky than MIA?
However, even as a fan I wouldn't go to any show north of Mexico.

Posted by Ana Maria | August 28, 2007 7:04 AM

Oh man... I agree that his album art is typically pretty tacky, but I love this guy. When I lived in Guatemala for a while several years ago i heard his stuff all the time and loved it. Sure, there's always room to criticize, but when you compare his music to the body of current music out there I think he still rises up pretty high. Maybe y'all need to hear one of his tunes sandwiched between 15 reggaeton tracks to really appreciate it.

Posted by andy | August 28, 2007 9:48 AM

terry, "king of the bongo" was a punk song by mano negra, chao's original band, that he adapted to a funky little electro dub number for his solo album. killer tune. ive also heard it blended into a pretty raging jungle track.

this is where we disagree to agree.

Posted by jz | August 28, 2007 11:15 AM

For the fans - what would be the best album to start with then? The new one? Or is there an older one that's better?

Posted by rubyred | August 28, 2007 11:19 AM

i think you go w "clandestino," manus first solo album from 1998. pretty much lays out his artistic MO and has some insanely catchy songs.

Posted by jz | August 28, 2007 12:30 PM

consider it done! "Clandestino" it is.

Posted by rubyred | August 28, 2007 1:38 PM

i respect all of your ideas. but manu is manu and he doesnt really care about how he dresses. its about what he expresses. He has gotten very repetetive though. Hot pants was great and mano negra....well....just amazing..... radio bemba is really good. but i just stick to mano negra.

Posted by laly | September 2, 2007 11:32 PM

Hey, you're right Ialy! Manu is Manu and how he dresses is probably what matters to him least. Clandestino is a good album to start with, but going straight to La Radiolina would definetely not be bad.

Also, I must add that the beauty of Manu is that you don't have to understand evey word in order to understand his point or even just like his music!
If you want to listen to the WHOLE album, go to this site: And check out this review from the LA Times,1,5316536.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

Posted by Manu fan | September 5, 2007 5:25 PM

Manu Chao is my favorite artist, he took me out of my music box, also GOGOL BORDELLO.

Posted by matthew | September 6, 2007 8:36 AM

I don't do drugs and i swear that in very dim light, the red "A" on the cover jiggles a bit when shaken. Has anyone else noticed that? I think it's an optical allusion with the color or something.
I do think the recycling of sounds is a bit repetative. it's not that hard to appreciate. Music is the medium of the message. Was Vangough a bad painter for painting so many sunflowers?

Posted by Pablo Juarren | September 9, 2007 11:11 PM

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