May 13, 2021

reggaeton to conquer the world



While the lyrical world of reggaeton seems to be still lacking a boil, its sound universe is only expanding. This is demonstrated by J Balvin in “Colores”, his new album that is published today, preceded by the success of his friend and collaborator Bad Bunny with “YHLQMDLG” as emperors of “streaming”. This is no small feat, because, with half the world Occidental locked up at home, both promise a duel at the top of the charts for the next few weeks, and that “Colores” comes preceded by historical marks of pre-confinement reproductions, which have allowed him to break a historical record. He has been the first urban Latin artist with the highest number of singles at # 1 on the Latin Airplay chart: all of this album, “Blanco”, “Morado” and “Rojo”.

“They know who Balvin is, I present Jose”, he sings in the first song, “Amarillo”. And not José, but Jose, as a family presentation. “I do not complicate myself, how can I explain it? I like to have a good time,” he says below as a summary of his ethics and aesthetics, as alpha and omega of his speech. And is that the Colombian’s new album could generate the false feeling of being a conceptual work, for that of the titles and for the visual game created by the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami who created ten new flower characters, one for each song and each color of the album. Well no: there is no concept. Well yes, the concept is clear, the party again.

And that’s what there is, a party record. But, do we not all miss her trapped by the coronavirus? Isn’t it necessary to fight for the right to party as Beastie Boys sang? The party, the dance, is important. The language in which we dance is important. Who produces the hit songs, what genre is hegemonic for the spree. There is a message, there is politics in that too. And now the lingua franca of discotheques is the musical language of the reggaeton Caribbean. J Balvin has been the first reggaeton artist to perform at “Saturday Night Live”, an American television institution. He has passed through Coachella and Lollapalooza and has broken the door so much that he has acted even in the electronic mecca, Tomorrowland.

And the best thing about José Álvaro Osorio Balvín’s album is undoubtedly the sound. Innovative and full of production and arrangement details that wrap (and package to become a global success) the patterns, so primary, essential and pounding of the genre. For this album, in which he returns to work with his henchman Sky Rompiendo, it seems that the Colombian has put aside the Spanish-speaking popular tradition (except for a nod to the Cuban “Chan chan”) to get closer to the “beats” and phrasing of Anglo-Saxon rap. “Arcoíris” and “Blanco”, the last songs on the album, are a good example of international production: reggaeton to conquer the world.

We must make a necessary paragraph. Although the album does not keep a discipline of ideas, although the lyrics, in short, are not worthy of Gongorian culteranismo (rhymes between participles or simple pasts that are a bit of preschool …), it is an album published in such a format. And that, in a genre such as reggaeton and urban, and after the work published by Bad Bunny, is a nod to classicism, a kind of nature card that could only be asked for a more elaborate lyrical universe. Because in “Colores”, beyond the tiny bikini, the “perriar”, the bottle and the drinks… there is not much to get excited about.

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