In 1996 Los Lobos released Colossal Head. In spite of the fact that the album was critically acclaimed, Warner Brothers decided to drop the band from their roster.
This is definitely one of their best. Forget whatever you think you know about Los Lobos.
“Colossal Head” is of course inspired by the enormous carved stone Olmec heads in Mexico. It is also terrific stoner music. Get it? collossal head? This song is one of my all-time favorites. The inspired and interesting production by Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake functions as another band member, like George Martin with the Beatles. In a good way every song sounds like a different band. On “Life Is Good”, the soundscape warmly evokes summer outdoor party ambience. The drums, and everything, really, sound as if they were recorded at a faster tempo and slowed down. The bass is extra low. The cymbals sound like big crashing rides and ring long and languid.
Everything sounds processed, yet the beautiful simplicity of the song is not compromised. It’s like deep Jamaican Dub. Near the end, emerging from the soundscape can be heard a woman calling out, “Alvin!” numerous times. Then there’s a gunshot, and the song is over.
Life Is Good.