ROSALÍA - MOTOMAMI
Mar 18, 2022 (updated Mar 19, 2022)
78
Like the theme of the album, based on duality, MOTOMAMI is divided between an over-ambitious concept and on the contrary the fact that Rosalia offers a unique and tasty project despite its flaws

I don't look too long to say that Rosalia and Arca are the most brilliant and creatively prolific "Spanish / Latin" artists for more than 5 years now in my opinion (see comment section). Their music crosses language barriers, their musical genre to graft as the vanguard of Pop. Today the soon to be thirty year old Rosalia delivers her 3rd album Motomami without having renounced her principles. She has everything to become a living legend very soon. For those who don't know yet, Rosalia is a Grammy winner, multiple nominations and honorary awards, number 1 singles and more than 30 million listeners per month (all platforms included). Since early childhood, Rosalia has made music her total priority. In 2018, she achieved phenomenal success with her cultish single "Malamente" which directly established her as a must-have artist. It was as if she had breathed new life into the traditional Flamenco by bringing eclecticism and innovation to it. Everything she touches becomes art and her second phenomenal concept album "El Mal Querer" is the absolute proof. This has led to a national and international success. In 2019 Rosalia intelligently collaborates with the unavoidable J Balvin, at the time the most streamed artist in the world on "Con Altura", marking the new direction Reggaeton/Neoperreo that it will take. In a very short time, Rosalia has become the most influential Latin icon in her country and the question can really be asked for the international. If 4 years separate her second album with MOTOMAMI, it is not really a coincidence, there are many complications but the wait was worth it. Obviously the pandemic passed by, forcing Rosalia to move to the United States, she worked a lot with many artists, and also trying to find a unique formula for her new opus. She also confessed to having gone through a blank period of non-productivity and fortunately Rosalia did not rush to release MOTOMAMI.

MOTOMAMI is articulated again around a very precise concept, Rosalia affirms to draw up her self-portrait by setting up 2 distinct parts which confront each other: MOTO and MAMI. On this 3rd album Rosalia marks an almost definitive stop with the Flamenco sounds of her beginnings, continuing to advocate a more urban music, even approaching new Pop paths. The approach is therefore very spontaneous, dynamic, charismatic but also vulnerable and intimate in order to show all the facets of the author. On the other hand, the more down to earth direction of this album allows its concept to be more uncomplicated on the form compared to "El Mal Querer". When we dig, we notice that on the bottom it is not at all simplified, on the contrary. Just like the cover, MOTOMAMI is a bare-bones album so that the author can fully deliver her thoughts and her introspection without complex or restraint. "SAOKO" is the kind of blow of massacre ideal to begin an album. We find all the energy of Rosalia in its raw state on a Neoperreo anthem, which in my opinion remains the Latin musical genre that belongs to the future. It is not illogical to see Rosalia take this underground turn that is intensifying. There is this mechanical and deconstructed rhythm, these sparks of eccentricity and avant-garde as subtle as lightning. Without forgetting to speak about this small jazzy bridge absolutely fantastic. Thematically SAOKO indirectly translates the state of mind of its author, the feminization, the homage to rhythm, dance and pleasure. An excellent way to introduce the concept of MOTOMAMI with one of the best jewels of the year so far. "Saoco, papi, saoco" [symbolic blow].

IF " El Mal Querer " respects more a certain form of informality, this new album reserves multiple surprises, getting lost without concession in the most delirious eclecticism possible. "Candy" is nothing like "SAOKO", this second song approaches a really amazing fusion between an aerial body very Cloud Rap with these synthesizers and a pop melody on a very minimalist Reggaeton rhythmic, almost shy. Rosalia wants to push back the limits of the Reggeaton family as she could do it for the Flamenco, what she succeeds in perfection. "LA FAMA" borrows the colors of the Bachata for an irresistible ballad. Sincerely I am ultra conquered by this song, the melodies are contagious, the instrumentation is tasty and the chemistry works wonderfully with The Weeknd (who even tries to Spanish and it makes well). Of course, "LA FAMA" uses a very simple and already seen pop formula, but I find that it was necessary to succeed in producing a successful song that does not fall into a bad generic caricature. Most of MOTOMAMi is a risk-taker, as if each song was trying to explore a different direction. "BULERIAS," for example, clashes with "LA FAMA" in a non-pop way, favoring a kind of song that is as traditional in spirit as it is experimental. There is a lot of heart here, a lot of homage, in a permanent disorder. Add to that the large number of different renowned producers that make up MOTOMAMI, allowing the album to never rest on those achievements.

I find that the public is a little hard on Chicken Teriyaki. It's true that there is a repetitive and intentionally stupid side that can give you a headache, but in reality I find this song to be a bit more complex than that. It's not as bad a song as that. Its short format allows first of all to avoid having brain damage for life, it's a kind of ultra dense Reggeaton/Dembow avalanche that you have to decipher and apprehend like a kind of strong alcohol shot. We feel all the distress of the artist who tries to escape her fears in a delicate period. Basically Rosalia is not afraid to offer avant-garde vignettes in a spontaneous way, which inevitably leaves room for some waste and irregularities in the whole album, but I think we must take these moments as something particularly lively, seductive. "Hentai" surprises its world, both for the voluntarily humorous and subjective theme and the relatively new musical color that Rosalia takes here. It is a kind of Art Pop, played on the piano on an uncontrollable rhythmic, sprinkled with glitch touch at times. Rosalia finds more angelic melodies, pushing her voice for our greatest happiness. "Hentai" tries to express sexuality and eroticism, but I confess that it is rather the musical performance that holds my attention. "Bizcochito" gives itself a retro and kitsch aesthetic for a Reggeaton as absurd as catchy. Every time the album gives the impression of getting lost in the irrational, Rosalia manages to make the complementarity speak so that everything remains coherent and effective enough. For example, "G3 N15" arrives as a saving release, a sincere Latin gospel pushed by that warm organ. In the introspective torments and other eccentricities of its author, this sweet song introduces a message of love from her grandmother, refocusing on the essential.

Obviously MOTOMAMI acts constantly a storm, between intense rain, threatening moment and sometimes some lightning. Everything is very angry. "Diablo" is the symbol of all this permanent madness, in a very industrial Pop Reggeaton anthem, accompanied by James Blake among others. MOTO-MAMI's limitations translate into the fact that the fierce vignettes sometimes come to lack the impact to shine through, forcing the listener to wait for the more sophisticated moments like "Diablo" to truly hit the heights. On the other hand, the album offers the possibility to stop time when it wants to, like the cover of the Cuban Justo Betancourt on "Delirio de Grandeza". It is difficult to perfectly translate the impressive ambition that MOTOMAMI tries to express, even through the songs individually. "Cuuuuuuuute", like "SAOKO", is one of the most avant-garde Neoperreo songs, a look into the future. On the longest format of the album, Rosalia delivers herself without excess on the pop ballad "Como Un G", a great moment filled with feelings and melancholy. Fashion show moment on the melodic "La Combi Versace", in a formidable homage to the feminine beauty and lust. Finally "Sakura" is placed as one of the highlights of the album. Rosalia is then carried away by a delicate poetry on a very ethereal live performance. It is particularly reserved and beautiful at the same time, time is suspended for a few minutes.

Honestly, if I have to make a global assessment of MOTOMAMI, I will say before that, like the album, my main feeling remains very divided by this duality expressed. I can directly admit that according to me this album is not as good as the previous one, too irregular, maybe too ambitious. In fact it lacks first of all great songs like "SAOKO". The more spontaneous and eccentric moments should have accompanied the album around brilliant songs and it doesn't have enough thickness to make the perfect balance. On its own, this album is still very enjoyable and unique, I can't think of anything like it. The universe and the singularity of Rosalia allows MOTOMAMI to be good enough to avoid disappointment. Like any concept album, you have to listen to it several times, to distinguish the charm of each piece, as well as its usefulness in the body of the project. It is not especially a disappointment by definition, it is only that I expected an extraordinary album as "El Mal Querer" could be in its style. I would have preferred that Rosalia uses much more experimentations, she shines when she literally breaks the codes, sometimes it seems that she brakes herself, trying to create a moment of ecstasy, but unfortunately it often lacks that small ingredient that makes a huge difference.

Track Ratings
1SAOKO / 100
2CANDY / 80
3LA FAMA / 80
4BULERÍAS / 80
5CHICKEN TERIYAKI / 60
6HENTAI / 80
7BIZCOCHITO / 70
8G3 N15 / 80
10DIABLO / 80
11DELIRIO DE GRANDEZA / 70
12CUUUUuuuuuute / 80
13COMO UN G / 70
15LA COMBI VERSACE / 70
16SAKURA / 80
Doublez's Tags
7 Comments
4mo
i totally agree with you it lacks this extra quality / genius that seems to have been sacrificed on the altar of fashionable randomness. This is not Björk 3.0
4mo
It is a sad reality my friend, I do not lose hope that Rosalia will find the resources to reach the grail
@ocrakraut (ps: Off topic, I listened to Voivod from 1988 and it is pure madness indeed! One of the great metal records of the avant garde)
4mo
Great you did! In case you did not listen to their version of Astronomy Domine yet do yourself this favor. It´s one of my most beloved tunes to dance to.
4mo
I wouldn't be so eager to put Rosalía and Arca in the same boat as "latin", Latin American and Latin European are two widely different and with too substantially different connotation categories. Rosalía is Spanish, and only in relation to Anglophonic culture she can be put in some sort of relation towards an latin american artist like Arca. For us Latin Americans, is impossible to see us being put in the same space as an Spanish, therefore European, person (same thing to Antonio Banderas, Javier Barden or Penelope Cruz for instance). And this can be seen for her wide usage of Flamenco and other traditional spanish sounds, and altough she have some reggaeton influences (because reggaeton have taken Spain and the world by a storm), this doesn't make her being "latin music" in the sense that this term is generally used (in an very homogenic form) to refer to Latin American music. Also, i wouldn't use "gospel", altough not completely wrong, is generally used to refer to protestant music+
4mo
,,, and the catholic base of hispanic culture and music is not necessarily what we associate with "gospel"
4mo
Honestly I understand all the details you bring and thank you on the one hand to have underlined these precise points
On the other hand, when I quote the term "Latin" I am only referring to the musical family as a whole and not to the belonging. Obviously there are many cultures and differences, many musical styles and sub-styles that belong to each country, each continent but you have to see this tribute as if I was talking about the "rock" family for example, that is to say that it is very vast and it includes artists who sing Spanish and who are for the general public worldwide part of this family
So yes the term "gospel" is not appropriate it was to try to describe the best musical sounds (if ever you have a term more suitable do not hesitate)
Arca for example are typically the kind of artist who has made most of his career in Spain and Rosalia on the contrary has been in the United States for a few years, so yes there are differences and an important cultural heritage but..
4mo
.. when I listen to the "Spanish and Latin American" family as a whole I think of them as pillars of the current
The idea was very simple and not categorical @pedrovereza
So I will edit my review to add this complement so that there is no possible confusion
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