Protests, catalyzed by a massive student movement hot rolled steel coil equal access to education, are causing a level of upheaval not seen since the nation's return to democracy in 1990. Recently on our show Alt.Latino, Felix Contreras and I discussed how difficult it is to find songs that are both musically solid and socially conscious. Tijoux excels in both areas. She can be laid-back and sexy, letting words drip slowly from her mouth, then issue a scathing social critique.

There was speculation that La Bala (The Bullet) was named after an incident — for which Chilean police have taken responsibility — that killed 16-year-old Manuel Gutiérrez Reinoso during a protest in Chile. In a recent interview, Tijoux denied that. I'd say she herself is a bullet: strong, steady and piercing. In that same interview, Tijoux said she believes there's no such thing as a coincidence. The petrifaction of Tijoux's ire in the period between 1977 and La Bala and its parallels in current politics speak to something we children of Latin American runaways know quite well: Those who spend their youth shadowboxing their parents' political boogeymen tend to grow into good fighters.

 I've always admired Tijoux's ability to melt the Spanish language like plastic and reconstitute it, putting accents and inflections wherever she pleases. But something has hardened in her, and that's not a bad thing. Listen closely to "Desclasificado" and the bitter but lyrically stunning "Las Cosas Por Su Nombre": "Not your Ministry, your Monastery, nor your money, which by the way come from our taxes ... Be careful, the doors might close! ... Well, let's be clear, these doors have never been open."