By Sarah Godfrey
Daddy Yankee may be the pride of Puerto Rico, but international superstardom has made him a citizen of the world. The reggaetón star/standard bearer picked up some new sonic influences while touring and racking up passport stamps, and his latest album, "Mundial," incorporates some of the sounds he heard while traveling the globe.
(More Prague than Puerto Rico, after the jump.)
Bringing in a new set of musical influences makes sense, in theory. Reggaetón is itself a stew of bachata, plena, dancehall and hip-hop, among other genres, so it's already well-established that Daddy Yankee knows how to play around with different sounds to good effect. On "Mundial," he blends in some cumbia and batucada, but he's also developed a frightening appreciation for European electronic dance music, which he liberally splashes all over the project. Tracks like "El Mejor de Todos los Tiempos" and "Vida en la Noche" reek of Euro-trash club, veering dangerously close to Sprockets-style parody.
Still, "Mundial" contains several solid, recognizably reggaetón tracks. "Que Es la Que Hay" is a return to the hip-winding partying style found on much of 2007's "El Cartel: The Big Boss" and 2004's excellent "Barrio Fino." Lead single "Grito Mundial" is augmented by horn blasts and marching band bombast and second single "Descontrol" has the same bounce foundation as "Rompe."
Despite some strange new elements, Daddy Yankee's latest still succeeds: His goal has always been to make people dance, and he accomplishes it once again - even if the bodies "Mundial" is most likely to move are those at a disco in Prague.
Recommended tracks: "Que Es la Que Hay," "Grito Mundial," "Descontrol"