Various Artists, "Red Hot + Rio 2"

90 Billboard Rating

During the past 21 years, the Red Hot Organization (which raises money for HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention) has released some 16 themed benefit compilations featuring hundreds of vital artists from genres across the board. The latest, Red Hot + Rio 2, upholds the series' high standards over some 33 songs and two-and-a-half hours (with four bonus tracks available on the digital version). Describing the highlights would take up much of this page, but standouts include those by Beirut, Bebel Gilberto, Twin Danger, Om'Mas Keith, John Legend, Mia Doi Todd, Beck with Seu Jorge, David Byrne with Caetano Veloso, Mayra Andrade with Trio Mocoto and S uperhuman Happiness with Cults. The fact that nearly all of the songs are in Portuguese obscures their serious lyrical subject matter to non-speakers, but anyone conversant in the past 15 years of alt-rock will certainly recognize the genre's breezy musical style (from releases by Beck, Byrne and many others) as well as many of the tracks. Red Hot + Rio 2 takes some time to absorb, but it's sure to tide you over until the next Red Hot compilation is released.

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