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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
El Guincho's "Alegranza!"

Dance to the Music–or Else!

by LORENZO WOLFF

Sometimes a record will grab you by the throat and make you change the way you look at the world.

…And sometimes it won’t.

El Guincho, the producer/singer behind Alegranza! has made a great dance record. The kind of album that can make a whole club get up from their barstools. Layer upon layer of painstakingly sampled Tropicana drums don’t so much as invite you to dance as demand it.

But if you’re like me, someone who likes to sit down and try to understand what the music is saying, you’ll find Alegranza! frustrating. From start to finish the album sustains only one high intensity dynamic. Songs stay in the same tempo range, with no ballads or different feels. Imagine being on the Gravitron at Coney Island for 40 minutes. Sure the first five minutes are fun, but after that you’re just nauseous and bored.

So if you’re trying to throw a great party or if you need background music for dancing in your underwear, I’d say get yourself a copy of Alegranza! If not you should probably skip this one over.

LORENZO WOLFF is a musician living in New York. He can be reached at: lorenzowolff@gmail.com