Various Artists - Easy Melodías (EMI Mexico)

A few newsstands in New York City subway stations carry an assortment of weird Mexican comic books. Printed in garish colors on cheap newsprint, usually off-register, they feature an assortment of leggy dames, bulky wrestlers, and plucky animal-headed heroes. Even if you can't read Spanish, they're extremely entertaining.

Easy Melodías is the musical equivalent of those comics. The listener never knows what's going to fall out of the piñata next – roller rink organ, an off-kilter brass band, overwrought emotive vocals, or comic opera.

Half the fun here is the shock of recognizing the tunes – everything from "Black is Black" and "Yesterday" (performed by what sounds like a drunken Señora) to Lloyd Price's "Personality" is put through this insane sonic Mixmaster. The delightfully-named Loco Valdés offers a frantic version of "Witch Doctor" punctuated by the sound of a hyperventilating gorilla that's nothing short of breathtaking. One amazing track after another smacks you in the face, leaving you giddy and exhausted.

The perfect thing to get your next fiesta off the ground.

¡Mas tequila, por favor!

(EMI Music Mexico, Rio Tigris 33, Cuauhtemoc 06500, Mexico)