http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/20c456b5f5ad224a48b8f3d953c424f92b0240cc.jpg Colossal Head

Los Lobos

Colossal Head

Warner Bros.
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 2 0
February 2, 1998

In 1992, when Los Lobos veered from roots rock to art rock on Kiko, it was as if Chuck Berry and Willie Dixon had adopted Genesis and Leonard Cohen as their role models. With its obscure lyrics, lack of grooves and ethereal mysticism, Kiko was a bold artistic gamble, but it is the weakest work in the Los Lobos catalog.

Colossal Head, Los Lobos' first album of new music in four years, represents a band still searching for the right balance between experimentation and craftsmanship, and between concepts and passion. It's an improvement over Kiko, but it falls far short of the group's three masterpieces, How Will the Wolf Survive?, By the Light of the Moon and The Neighborbood.

"Everybody Loves a Train" is a promising song about American restlessness, but it's one verse shy of finishing its story. "Revolution," a powerful confession of lost idealism, and "Can't Stop the Rain," a heartbroken lament, undermine their considerable potential by failing to provide a chorus or a memorable melody. The title track and "Life Is Good" are both seductive soundscapes, but they're musical fragments rather than finished songs.

With an oriental synth motif, a heartfelt vocal and shimmering wah-wah guitar, "Little Japan" is a worthy addition to Los Lobos' long line of homesick-immigrant songs. Best of all is "Manny's Bones," a marvelously ambiguous eulogy for a dead man who left behind equal amounts of resentment and affection. But it leaves you wondering: If David Hidalgo and Louie Perez can write a song with such funny and evocative lyrics, a swaggering beat and an infectious melody, why are they wasting their time with Bohemian gimmickry on the rest of the album?

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Bleeding Love”

    Leona Lewis | 2007

    In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

    More Song Stories entries »