Rosalìa, who is from Catalonia(in Spain), burst onto the international music scene a couple of years ago, getting a lot of viral traction with her strange new wave flamenco pop music. Flamenco music is not really a genre that has had any international popularity ever; it is a traditional style of Spanish music that is very artistic and expressive, with the vibrant outfits and dancing just as colorful as the music sounds. In 2017, she released her debut album, Los Angelès. It is a collection of classic Spanish flamenco songs about death, reworked into a modern and more experimental style. The album received critical appraise, and made Rosalìa one of the biggest rising stars in the Latin music world(even though she isn’t actually from the Latin/Caribbean world). Last year, Rosa dropped her album El Mal Querer, which is an even more weird and experimental version of the modern flamenco pop Rosalìa initially became famous for. This is a concept album revolving around a toxic relationship, and is inspired by a 13th-century novel called “Flamenca.” Once again, this project garnered Rosalìa critical praise and is actually one of my favorite albums from last year. I would highly suggest the songs ‘Malamente’ and ‘Pienso en Tu Mirà.’ They are strange danceable flamenco songs with excellent music videos and awesome vocals. Due to features with artists such as James Blake and J. Balvin, 2018 was the year Rosa became an international superstar. With the whole world looking at her to see what she does next, Rosalìa had to deliver. And she really, really did.
The first song Rosalìa dropped this year was ‘Con Altura,’ which features Latin trap superstar J. Balvin. This song is a total departure from anything Rosalìa has done so far. It is a Reggaeton track that sounds like something J. Balvin would typically make. You would think that this type of songs from a flamenco singer may not do that well, but Rosa proved that she is way more than a one trick pony. ‘Con Altura’ is a total bop. I love the way Rosalìa high voice and strange vocals contrast with J. Balvin’s hip hop style. Her second single of the year, ‘Aute Cuture,’ seems to be an ode to high fashion. Once again, Rosalìa veers more into a Caribbean/Latin sound, with the instrumental honestly reminding me of something Jennifer Lopez or Shakira would do. With ‘Aute Cuture,’ Rosalìa doubles down on her assertion that she can excel at any kind of music she wants to.
When I saw Rosalìa released two new singles this week, I wondered if she was going to continue to go in more of a Latin or Reggaeton direction. But Rosalìa went back to her roots with the single ‘Fucking Money Man,’ with two great pieces of her experimental flamenco music. ‘Milionària,’ which is the first song she has actually sung in her native Catalàn language, is uncomfortably upbeat, with a weird twitchy drum pattern as really the only instrument. Rosalìa sings about wanting the finer things, mentioning designer clothes and fancy cars. The B-side of the single, ‘Dio$ No$ Libre Del Dinero,’ kind of has the opposite message. Over a chill trap infused flamenco beat, Rosalìa pleads to God to free us from money. She sings about the problems of being obsessed with money and hopes she never becomes too obsessed with it.
Rosalìa is such a talented artist that she can just continue to do what she wants and release any kind of music she feels like at any time. I do hope she makes a full album in the Reggaeton/Latin R&B vibe of her first two singles of 2019, but if she continues to just make more weird flamenco pop I will be okay with that. Listen to her new single ‘Fucking Money Man’ with the link below!