If you've never heard of Calle 13, there may be a good reason. They are a Puerto Rican group who make rap/hip hop/reggaeton and their songs are only in Spanish. They are huge in Latin America though and almost a super-group, it could be said. The tag of reggaeton often puts a lot of people off and actually gives the wrong impression of the band, they are so much more than reggaeton but there are influences of the genre in their music. However, only in a good way.
This is their last album, released in 2010. The album marks a distinct change of direction for the band, although not an unexpected one. Calle 13 (street 13 in English) have always been had a diverse range of influences in their sound and Entren Los Que Quieran is just the natural progression of that.
The direction of this album is that of a more organic sound. There are a lot of guitars, often distorted and rock sounding, violins, and more real sounding drums than their previous albums.
It starts with an introduction track, which is slightly strange, sounding like a tv or radio advert. This seems to go one for ages but the real songs are worth the wait. The second track, Calma Pueblo, begins with a distorted guitar that sounds like it might be the intro to a Deftones song. However, the beats and the slightly funky bassline soon comes in, along with Residente's characteristic vocals. You can tell right from the first thirty seconds that this is going to be a strong album as this track is powerful, with the guitars and the classic Calle 13 sound working perfectly yet giving them a huge sound.
The next track begins with some strings that sound like they are from a middle eastern film and then an almost bhrangra style line comes in just before the ska-like deep horn and the drums. There is a slight reggaeton feel to the rhythm but this has to be the best reggaeton you will have ever heard, if that's what you wanted to label this song as.
A female vocalist accompanies Residente throughout the song, with some lines that quite honestly sound a little crazy, but excellently fitting at the same time.
The rest of the album progresses and changes styles all the time, both in pace and influences. For example the fourth track is much slower than the previous, again with the female vocals beautifully taking control of the chorus. The sixth song, Vamo' A Portarnos Mal, is almost pure ska. Muerte En Hawaii takes on a complete reggae feel, although it is more or less just an acoustic guitar, a lovely slide guitar and Residente singing.
There are definite pop sensibilities about this album, as there always have been with Calle 13. The influences come thick and fast but the band seems to be growing stronger and stronger, their sound becoming more defined yet diverse all the time. It's a great album. It seems that this band can't put a foot wrong.