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Various Artists

The Rough Guide to Latin Lounge

(World Music Network; US: 23 Sep 2008; UK: 22 Sep 2008)

The Rough Guide to Latin Lounge has an easygoing Café del Mar vibe that borrows heavily from Brazil—or borrows lightly, rather, because this album goes out of its way to avoid heavy. Its whole purpose is to be effortless, to be fun, to be laid-back, relaxed, and cool. There are cool horns and cool pianos and cool guitars that doodle funkily in a low-key bossa nova way, aiming to drift lazily over a thousand poolsides or out of a thousand glossy, dark, and sexy little bars. The names of the artists matter less than the mood of the whole. The idea of these songs is not to stand out, but to submerge. This is flattering music, backdrop music with an affable upbeat flirtatiousness. It reminds you constantly that you’re more important than it is, and humbly obliges your opinion of yourself by getting out of the way.

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