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Rosalía - MOTOMAMI Music Album Reviews

Rosalía - MOTOMAMI Music Album Reviews
The Spanish superstar’s third album is a showcase for Rosalía’s exceptional range. It aspires to stretch itself out across genres and play with form, and attains exactly what it sets out to achieve.

On Rosalía’s Saturday Night Live debut in March, she sang her pop-bachata hit “La Fama” while wearing a sequoia-sized puffer jacket and beaded mantilla. It was a strikingly dramatic look for a song trembling with betrayal, and it was immediately memed for its resemblance to a quilted comforter and shower mat (the resulting virality was, perhaps, part of the point). But the streetwear-meets-Catalonian tradition look was also a visual cue to her current mindset as a musician releasing her third album: to finesse the gap between classical and contemporary in a big and brazen fashion, with humor and cojones.

Theoretically, a wide-open, globalist approach is not so different from the Spanish superstar’s astounding second album, El Mal Querer, where her electronic take on flamenco shot her to international renown. Because of flamenco’s relative scarcity in the pop world, and because her interpretation of a centuries-old Romani art form was so futuristic, she was regarded as something of a miracle, a performer with a singular gift whose interior was just out of reach. Since its 2018 release, she’s toured the world, covered major fashion magazines, and collaborated with stars like J Balvin, James Blake, and the Weeknd. But on MOTOMAMI, her 16-track follow-up to El Mal Querer, she sounds preternaturally at ease within her talent and finally ready to let us in.

The trappings of fame and a new major label have, in some unlikely ways, freed her to loosen her impulses, and what results is a collage of styles and experimentation that could be messy on paper but is threaded together by her artistic fortitude. She toys with minimalist dembows (“La Combi Versace,” with Dominican star Tokischa), Auto-Tuned dirges, spirited champeta, juiced-up electro, bachata, and glitchy Björkian ballads, with help from an eclectic range of co-producers like Tainy, El Guincho, Michael Uzowuru, Sky Rompiendo, and Pharrell. There may be some more commercial tracks in here—including “La Fama,” a song with the Weeknd about how fame sucks that ironically made her more famous—but overall the vision is clear and the influences cohere. La Rosalía is a musician’s musician, and there’s so much more to her than the austere flamenco singer, powerfully warbling from 13th-century texts.

MOTOMAMI opens with “Saoko,” a smattering of free-jazz drums and a nasty synth bassline that serves as a “tribute” to Wisin y Daddy Yankee’s 2004 single “Saoco.” It’s a disclaimer that she’s swerving freely between lanes: She bears down on the refrains “Yo me transformo” and “Fuck el estilo,” and frankly, kinda eats up the beat, doing her best reggaetonera with a butterfly-grilled sneer. More significantly, it’s a bold statement out the gate—she’s become a kind of problematic fave for many Latinxs, particularly for her experiments in genres like dembow and reggaeton at a time when their Afro-Caribbean roots, long excoriated by racist and classist critiques, have been either erased or subsumed by the popularity of white Latinos. The specter of Spanish colonialism runs painfully deep, and the question has been: What does it mean when a white Catalan woman working in traditionally Afro-Latinx genres attains worldwide acclaim in ways the originators—and her Black contemporaries—have not?

For MOTOMAMI’s part, it seems that Rosalía has done her homework and pays tribute wherever she can. She has Kawasaki-zoomed into the 21st century, reminding us that she is still a 28 year old in 2022, a prolific denizen of TikTok whose interest in familiar tropes—fast cars, flossing, thot shit—is neither of her interest in the art of flamenco, nor divorced from it. She references faith in God as much as the corporeal desires of a powerful woman, and approaches sex with nearly as much gravity as she does lost love and emotion. Over here she’s sampling Burial; over there she’s rapping, “Bish, me creo Dapper Dan.” Rosalía wants us to know she’s an idiosyncratic bad b, and she’s also out here trying to have some goddamn fun.

MOTOMAMI is packed with references to the genres in which she dabbles—among her many namedrops are Willie Colón, Fania Records, the reggaeton duo Plan B, and her friend Frank Ocean, with whom she’s collaborated on music not yet released. On “Bulería,” the album’s lone straight flamenco song, she shirks stylistic expectations and cites her influences like she’s crossing herself: “Yo soy muy mía/Que Dios bendiga a Pastori y Mercé/A la Lil’ Kim, a Tego y a M.I.A.” M.I.A. might be the holy ghost in this triumvirate (Kim and Tego can decide who’s the Father amongst themselves)—MOTOMAMI’s minimalist raps are playful and swaggy, and she’s having a blast with reggaeton-tinged electro like it’s 2005. Little brag tracks like “Chicken Teriyaki” (co-written with her partner Rauw Alejandro) and the deceptively sing-songy, feminist “Bizcochito” aren’t the most substantial bangers, but you can’t belt your face off all the time.

And yet, that voice! That ebullient voice. Her pristine soprano tone is one thing, but it wouldn’t be nearly as impactful if it weren’t for the power she wields behind it. On “Candy,” her mournful qualities are in pure, transcendent form, as she delivers a dembow dirge for a lost love who still lingers in her mind. This same emotional evocation lends itself to the unexpectedly dirty “Hentai,” an intimate ballad named after triple-X manga, in which she coos about riding her man’s “pistola” with all the dainty aplomb of Audrey Hepburn doing “Moon River.” Elsewhere, she’s a bit less cheeky: An unexpected high point comes when she puts her spin on “Delirio de Grandeza,” by the great Cuban salsero Justo Betancourt. Not only does she emote it like the greatest of singers in the Latin American tradition, she sneaks in a Soulja Boy sample from the Vistoso Bosses’ 2009 gem “Delirious.”

It feels rare to hear an album that’s so experimental, that aspires to stretch itself out across genres and play with form, and that attains exactly what it sets out to achieve. Rosalía was already a formidable singer, but here she also sounds like she learned that with global superstardom comes the freedom to set her own agenda. On the album’s stunning final lines, she sings nearly a cappella: “​​Solo hay riesgo si hay algo que perder/Las llamas son bonitas porque no tienen orden/Y el fuego es bonito porque todo lo rompe.” There’s only risk if there’s something to lose, she says. MOTOMAMI is an ante up.

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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.
Rosalía - MOTOMAMI Music Album Reviews Rosalía - MOTOMAMI Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, March 25, 2022 Rating: 5

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