iLe - Nacarile Music Album Reviews

iLe - Nacarile Music Album Reviews
Adopting an oblique, exploratory approach to bolero, hip-hop, and synth pop, the Puerto Rican artist’s third studio album meditates candidly on political and personal endurance.

Inspiration came to the Puerto Rican artist Ileana Cabra, or iLe, out of the gloom of 2020. The confinement and lack of social interaction of the early days of lockdown left her feeling adrift, with lots of downtime to reflect on her life and the forces that stir her creativity. The uncertainty of the world felt suffocating, and the only thing she could do was turn to music.

Looking to release these feelings, the singer-songwriter decided to write Nacarile, her first album in three years. The project is her most ambitious and experimental work yet—a cornucopia of art-pop tinged with bolero, hip-hop, protest music, Caribbean folk rhythms, and psychedelia. It is a testament to the strength of her will; she channels her emotions into 11 tracks, illustrating her deep commitment to social justice and desire for personal fulfillment and genuine love. Above all, iLe cares, and it shows in every one of her graceful lyrics.

iLe has always collaged genres, and across Nacarile, she and her longtime producer Ismael Cancel inventively marry and intertwine styles, often within the same songs. Her politics step into the spotlight on tracks such as “ALGO BONITO,” where, alongside reggaeton royalty Ivy Queen, she addresses patriarchal triggers and reappropriates common sexist catcalls, flipping them into urgent demands for progress toward women’s rights. She takes a similar approach in “traguito;” under an entrancing bolero melody, she and the Chilean singer-songwriter Mon Laferte push against the stereotype of a hard-headed, “difficult” woman. They assert that there’s nothing wrong with being free to make their own decisions, or refusing to serve men’s tissue-soft egos. The defiant lyrics don’t pull any punches either, leaving the track’s thesis up for zero debate: “It’s not that I was difficult, it’s that I was how I wanted to be,” she sings. It’s an authentic take on bolero, and the contemporary, rousing theme makes it all the more special.

iLe is the younger sister of brothers René Pérez and Eduardo Cabra, who are individually known as Residente and Visitante, and together as the rap duo Calle 13. She began her career as a background vocalist for the group before slowly earning a larger presence in their live shows and albums. She went solo in 2016, eventually releasing her Grammy-winning debut album iLevitable the same year. From a young age, iLe had close proximity to her brothers’ politically charged songs, as well as the wealth of Latin American icons they grew close to over their career, like Rubén Blades, Susana Baca, Silvio Rodríguez, and Totó la Momposina. These experiences helped nurture her innate activist sentiments and sharpen some of the values she holds most steadfast, such as her feminist advocacy. That political impulse feeds many of the tracks and imbues them with honesty.

Nacarile has more featured artists than all of her previous LPs combined, but their presence only heightens the throughline of the album. Take “Ningún Lugar,” which includes the Argentine rapper Trueno; his deliberate delivery resembles both a Tommy gun and sledgehammer, and reflects the emotional experience of wrestling with political anguish and seeking resilience to carry you into tomorrow. “(Escapándome) de mí” and “Paisaje” are immediate standouts; iLe sings solo, but just as innovatively as her accompanying guests. The former’s Auto-Tune manipulates timbre and pitch, giving her voice an airy quality that helps convey the vulnerability of the lyrics and the fear that accompanies a new relationship. She slips into a more romantic spirit on “Paisaje,” this time trading trepidation for the sincerity of love and all its butterflies.

From the opener’s mood-setting theremin sounds, Nacarile immediately demonstrates iLe’s ambition. The album is an audacious sonic endeavor from an artist who has never been interested in staying on the same worn path others have taken, not even her own. Whether she’s machete-rattling against colonialism, as on “donde nadie más Respira,” or slowing down to a storytime lilt as she passive-aggressively admonishes a toxic ex on “Lo Que Yo Quería,” iLe is devoted to creating the most honest music she can. It’s no secret that despondency can, ironically, inspire an artist’s sharpest senses, but Nacarile is another reminder of just how elegantly melancholy can foster poignant art.

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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.
iLe - Nacarile Music Album Reviews iLe - Nacarile Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on November 07, 2022 Rating: 5


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