mef you Google Bad Bunny – AKA 28-year Puerto Rican Benito Ocasio – One suggestion from the search engine is the question: “Why is Bad Bunny so big?” It’s a pertinent question, especially on this side of the Atlantic, where he’s still a fringe figure with the lead single, Mia Helped by Drake of 2018. Still, he could have called himself the biggest pop star in the world: he was Most streamed artist on Spotify In both 2020 and 2021, it generated 17.4 billion flows in two years. In the US, it’s huge on a historical scale: the first artist to top the Billboard charts with an entirely Spanish-language album, El Último Tour Del Mundo. It was recently announced that he will play the lead role in the upcoming Marvel movie, about a wrestler named El Muerto, whose mask gives him supernatural powers; Before that, he will be starring opposite Brad Pitt in an action movie called Bullet Train.
It’s the kind of success that lends itself to big pronouncements. El ltimo Tour Del Mundo was the third album he released in 2020 (the debut album YHLQMDLG was the highest charted entirely Spanish album in US history until it broke his own record). Un Verano Sin Ti has 23 tracks and lasts the best part of an hour and a half. According to its author, it is intended to function like a mixtape, playing in the background while people enjoy themselves at the beach or poolside (its title translates as A Summer Without You).
As at El Último Tour Del Mundo, the production is kept in-house – the kind credit isn’t given to the kind of famous producers whose names appear on every major pop album of course – and its guest stars are drawn entirely from the Latin American music world, including the Colombian duo “Drug Cumbia” Bomba Estero and the independent Los Angeles band Marias as well as a group of Puerto Rican rappers and singers. Why do you need the star power of Cardi B or Dua Lipa to help you transition when you’ve already done so on a grand scale?
From psychedelic cumbia to indie pop, the amazing thing about Un Verano Sin Ti that goes beyond absolute length is the scenic path it takes in order to maintain its position of world domination. There are definitely moments when the album seems to be in circulation. Moscow Mule is a beautiful song with a sunlit mood — not for the last time on the album, attempts to conjure up a seaside atmosphere extend to using the sound of seagulls — but its mix of reggaeton rhythms and AutoTuned vocals sound all too familiar, no matter what language it’s sung in. Likewise Dos Mil 16, a song above the beat of a snare. But this moment happens less often than you might expect – and it is usually followed by an incursion into a markedly different area.
Behind the Moscow Mule is by Después de la Playa, a mambo twist that features what sounds like a lively sound. Backing on Otro Atardecer looks like Vampire Weekend is playing underwater. The album’s lead producer, Marco “Mag” Borrero, seems to have a thing for sounds that feel unsettled on their feet, twisting and sliding in and out of tune; Andrea may be one of the best reggae tracks, enticing the beats with endless layers of surprising tuning. Meanwhile, Tití Me Preguntó is taking a turn in dembow, a frenetic musical subgenre prominent in the Dominican Republic.
Some of the tracks seem to be in their own weird musical world. A third of El Apagón is devoted to muffled muffled voices, singing, and percussion before, unexpectedly, the appearance of a disturbing tune transforms it into a homely track at the height of the night. Then the atmosphere shifts again: a feminine voice dominates, electronic devices soften and moods dominate for little hours. All this cramped in three minutes. At its end, the listener is deposited in a place completely different from where he began.
Not everything here is as cool as most 23-track albums, Un Verano Sin Ti could have used a simple move. But when he reaches his heights, he leaves you baffled by Britain’s lack of interest in him bad bunny. Why wouldn’t you want pop music to be as creative and amazing as this? The frustrating conclusion is that it has to do with traditional arrogance that makes almost anything unsung in English in a new territory; In the United States, 41 million people speak Spanish and it is a language that is part of the ether of everyday life, which is clearly not present in the UK. Un Verano Sin Ti might change people’s opinions – although if it didn’t, you’d suspect Bad Bunny would lose a lot of sleep.
Future teen idol. Typical social media ninja. Alcohol buff. Explorer. Creator. Beer advocate.”