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Pop music, in its long existence, has followed trends sonically. We saw the rise of EDM infused hits like "Lean On" by DJ Snake, "What Do You Mean" by Justin Bieber, and "Cool for the Summer" by Demi Lovato in 2015. Recently, pop music has shifted to borrow elements to emulate trap. Take "God is a woman" by Ariana Grande, and "Mine" by Bazzi for example. Due to the trendy nature of Top 40 music, it is often criticized for lack of diversity. Simply put, it all sounds the same.
Amidst these evolutions, there’s been a resurgence of Latinx music crossing over onto mainstream charts. Last year, it was virtually impossible to escape Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee's smash hit "Despacito," and the same occurred with J Balvin's "Mi Gente," especially after it was given a remix by the queen herself, Beyoncé. Latinx popular music, just like any other, also follows trends. The most formidable at the moment being reggaeton, which both aforementioned songs can be categorized under.
As much as all these releases were celebrated, and appreciated by fans, sometimes there’s a want for something different. A palette cleanser if you will. We’ve all sat on our computers, or scrolled through our smartphones, on a desperate quest for new, exciting sounds. If you find yourself in one of those moods, and by some stroke of luck stumble upon this article, then I have a suggestion. It comes in the form of 25-year-old Spanish singer, Rosalía.
Currently nominated for five Latin Grammy awards, her music encompasses elements of indie pop, R&B, hip-hop, and most notably, flamenco. Hailed by Billboard as the leader of the reinvention of flamenco, Rosalía’s first single from her second album, Malamente, was a viral hit upon its release. It currently has more than 31 million views on YouTube. If asked to describe the song in one word, it would be fresh. Her soft, but powerful vocals blend seamlessly together with a hypnotizing beat co-produced by Rosalía herself.
Her second single "Pienso en tu mirá" was well received by critics. With more than 20 million views, the video was praised for its symbolism and overall aesthetic just like its predecessor. In the song, Rosalía sings passionately about the jealousy one can experience in a relationship. During the chorus she chants, almost as if she’s saying a prayer, that when she thinks about the way her partner looks at her, it’s like a bullet to the chest.
A few days before the release of her album, she dropped a third single. Inspired by Destiny’s Child, "Di Mi Nombre" takes listeners on a journey of her urging her beloved to proclaim their feelings for her in the absence of others. Beyonce’s former group isn’t the only iconic pop influence on her album. Track 7, "Bagdad," samples the melody of Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River."
Rosalía released her acclaimed sophomore project on November 2, titled "El Mal Querer." Concept albums pose somewhat of a risk for artists, but from the artwork, to the visuals, and the music itself, hers is perfectly executed. During 30 minutes of runtime, it tells the story a toxic relationship, with each song representing a new chapter.
A signature sense of fashion, and stunning live performances (including crisp choreography) shows that despite presenting a fresh, new perspective, she still pays homage to early 2000s pop-stardom. With her undeniable vocal talent, beautifully haunting lyricism, and unique style, Rosalía is without a doubt one of today’s most important pop artists.