Americans waited six years for a new studio album from one of the most exciting ambassadors of cosmopolitan party/protest music. Infusing rock fundamentals with elements of ska, reggae, punk, and Afro-pop since fronting Mano Negra ("Black Hand") in 1986, Chao's grown by continental leaps as a bandleader since then, as La Radiolina's mix of festival-rousing rock, defiant politics, and multilingual lyrics attests. Lead single "Rainin in Paradize" alone should propel Chao (née Oscar Tramor) into the kind of stateside fame he's long enjoyed in Europe and South America. Elsewhere, individual songs suggest direct antecedents--"Mundoreves," for example, recalls the Eagles' "Hotel California" with minimal subtlety--but Manu Chao is an unabashed citizen of the world, and to peg his music to specific forebears is in part to miss the point. Perhaps the most iconic of La Radiolina's songs, "The Bleedin Clown" portrays its protagonist's will to "make the children happy," but despite his sounding almost deflated by weary resignation, this sad character sketch still can't manage to drag the music away from its unrelenting, celebratory flavor. Rare is the artist who can rock a sad world so well. Chao is it.