J Balvin - Colores Music Album Reviews

Already a global star, reggaetón’s reigning hitmaker tries his hand at becoming an auteur with an audiovisual album. 

JBalvin didn’t have to drop a concept album. He also didn’t have to include with it a series of “guided meditations,” or shoot a video for every song on the record. Already well into his global ascent, the Colombian juggernaut could have simply bundled Colores’ radio-ready hits and rode out the streaming wave. Yet Balvin has long outpaced that tactic, eschewing his earliest goals of mainstream reggaetón success for something greater. He recently told Vogue UK he wants to be a “living legend,” punto. So now, Balvin is in the business of crafting a lasting aesthetic—namaste hands and all.

Colores’ concept is steeped in this earnest (if slightly indulgent) pursuit. Each of its 10 tracks corresponds to a different color, in a sort of sonic mood ring. “Rojo” deploys atmospheric synths to evoke romance; on “Gris,” a cumbia-derived guitar recalls the sound of Balvin’s Medellín atop a chunky beat. We even get an answer to fellow urbano upstart Bad Bunny’s “Safaera” with another nasty puro perreo cut (“Negro”). But through all of this, Balvin’s underlying mission remains clear.

He telegraphed his commitment to his idea when he dropped the album’s final track, “Blanco,” as the lead single in late 2019, choosing it over surefire beach hit “Azul” or the rainbow of “Arcoíris” (featuring Oasis’ Afrobeats all-star, Mr. Eazi). In doing so, Balvin effectively slapped down a layer of primer, delivering an absence of color in preparation for the rest.

Directed by frequent collaborator Colin Tilley (who oversaw every video for the album), the accompanying music video for “Blanco” signals the madness of a world gone blank. In it, we see Balvin clad in dystopic drip courtesy of Virgil Abloh’s Off-White brand, as the reggaetonero’s face quite literally drips in glossy alabaster paint. Beside him, bone breakers writhe in zero-gravity, cats go flying, and a polar bear gets X-ray visioned. The only thing left to hold onto is recurrent partner and producer Sky Rompiendo’s clomping bassline, as Balvin’s “ey” spreads into the sparse breaks between each beat.

Given “Blanco’s” gaudiness, some likely chalked up the Colores concept as just Balvin’s latest playground. In some ways, it is: Album opener “Amarillo” (Yellow) teems with funhouse horns sampled from French hip-hop collective Saïan Supa Crew’s “Angela,” as Rompiendo pumps the sample into an addictingly—or, depending on your sensitivity, annoyingly—incessant loop. Overhead, Balvin croons, “¿Cómo te explico? No me complico (How can I explain? I don’t mess around)”/“A mí me gusta pasarla rico (I like to have a good time),” proving he’s still always up for a party. Yet it’s the minimalism of “Blanco”—both in its pared-down production and its spartan visuals—that makes its counterpart shine in equal measure. As an exercise in sequencing, these bookend tracks represent opposite poles of the Colores spectrum—Balvin’s playground, if it is that, has plenty of order.

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And that’s because Balvin has always organized his work along visual terms. His offbeat mix of influences has made way for neon dye jobs, Spongebob grills, and luminous tours like last year’s Arcoíris Tour (named for Colores’ penultimate track), where a leopard-haired Balvin centered himself in what can only be described as an army of kawaii Michelin Men and emoji-adjacent mascots, recalling the work of Japan’s matchless visual artist Takashi Murakami.

Speaking of whom: Balvin’s latest cover art is credited to Murakami. It’s a big deal for Balvin, who had “dreams” of working with the artist for a better part of the last decade. In part for his shared whimsy, no doubt. But as it goes, a Murakami collaboration might as well be any nascent pop star’s christening. It puts Balvin in the same camp as fellow tastemakers Kanye and Pharrell, who have collaborated with Murakami to much renown. Now with his own seat at the table, J Balvin will no doubt sigue rompiendo.


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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
J Balvin - Colores Music Album Reviews J Balvin - Colores Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, March 30, 2020 Rating:

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