Banger upon banger has preceded the release of Spanish singer Rosalía’s third album, Motomami, not least the ubiquitous La Fama, a meditation on fame on which Canadian R&B superstar The Weeknd croons in Spanish.
Rosalía describes “motomami” as being “an energy” – one personified, perhaps, by female stunt bikers in the video for Saoko, one of those bangers. (Motomami is also the name of the artist management firm run by her mother.) Images of transformation like butterflies (mariposas) abound on what Rosalía reports is her most personal album yet. The album’s feminist slant is “implicit” and reggaeton – the Latin American style heavily influenced by Caribbean sounds – powers a handful of sassy party flexes, a first for this artist, better known for her flamenco background. Staccato rhythms figure heavily, maintaining this unconventional pop artist’s edge.
All that energy is balanced out by heartbreak on quieter ballads such as Como Un G and a handful of tracks where Rosalía’s first-class voice is allowed to take more traditional flight. Best of all is Bulerías (a flamenco rhythm, but also “mocking”), replete with vocal fireworks. Some are overtly Auto-Tuned, most overtly not. Here, Rosalía emphasises her refusal to compromise, citing Lil’ Kim, MIA and flamenco artists Niña Pastori and José Mercé as inspirations.