By Violeta Nanutti / Matthew staff || Edited by Giulia Leo
The Spanish singer-songwriter released her third album, Motomami on March 18. This album was long time coming since the singer worked on this project for three years. It was originally planned to be released last year, but the release date changed multiple times.
Rosalía was born in Sant Cugat del Vallès, Spain, on September 25, 1993. She rose to fame in 2017 with her record El Mal Querer. Because of her infusion of genres, Rosalia has no boundaries when it comes to how she makes her music. She mixes flamenco with reggaeton, autotune, hip hop, you name it.
Rosalía did an interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music where she explained why she named her album Motomami. The name is composed of two words and two meanings. Moto is the new experimental part of the album, representing strong powerful women. Mami alludes to the delicate and more feminine side of the album, it is genuine and private. “The context is everything,” said Rosalía to The New York Times. “I just want to hear something I haven’t heard before. That’s the intention always.”
Motomami is composed of 16 tracks. It starts off with “Saoko,” which opens with jazz drums, to then flow into Latin-style reggaeton. I think this song shows the listeners that her album will be composed of many different and unique styles like old jazz, followed by heavily autotuned pianos and vocal lyrics. “Saoko” is a tribute to Wisin and Daddy Yankee’s single “Saoco.”
Multiple references to other artists are heard throughout the album. The second song on the record is called “Candy.” This song alludes to Plan B’s song “Candy,” as well as to the fashion brand Fendi. “Candy” is both emotional and makes you want to jam out because of the use of voice synthesizers.
The album is composed of many songs that talk about loneliness and the experience of losing a loved one. “G3 N15” was written when Rosalía felt isolated during COVID-19. She was not able see or be with anyone. This song personally gives me chills, the lyrics are incredibly descriptive and relatable to anyone who has ever felt alone. At the end of the song, Rosalía’s grandmother is featured speaking Catalan. Track 13, “Como una G” is another heartbreak song. It’s a slow piano ballad that talks about how Rosalía has learned her lesson and swears to never fall in love.
Rosalía’s vocals on the album are breathtaking, she pushes herself to make pitches that have not been heard before on urban albums. In the song “Hentai,” she demonstrates her vocal talents. The lyrics of “Hentai” are very explicit with sexual remarks, but Rosalía sings them in a way that makes the listener feel emotional.
While Rosalía was making this album she had multiple collaborations. Artists like The Weeknd, Tokischa, Rauw Alejandro (her partner), and Frank Ocean helped in the making of this album.
The first single of this album, “La Fama,” features The Weeknd. The first time I heard this song, I was immediately in love. When she previewed a snippet of the song on TikTok, I could not wait to hear the rest of it. This song is inspired by the bachata dance but has a flare of electric pop. The lyrics say that fame is a bad lover, and it will not love you truly.
Rosalía’s love for flamenco dance and music started when she was 13. Since then, she focused on studying the art and history of flamenco. Her college thesis was based on Flamenco, resulting in her first album El Mal Querer. Rosalía shows her love for flamenco in the song “Bulerías.” This song is her take on Flamenco; she adds her flare with some voice synthesizers.
“I love flamenco,” she states in an interview with Rolling Stone. “It’s very difficult music to sing. But I think of any genre as a snow globe — you don’t admire it for its stillness. You have to shake it up and see how it explodes.”
Rosalía’s album includes a song interlude that consists of reciting the alphabet and saying a word that she associates with each letter. The song is called “Abcdefg.” This track quickly received some negative criticism, to the point it became a meme on TikTok. I was recently talking to a friend who is also a fan or Rosalía’s work, and she changed my perspective on this song. She told me that this song is so different and so “her.” I agreed, because the song lets people see a side of Rosalía that is never seen due to her media image being so overly managed, her fun and funny side are shown in this song.
Some of the more dance songs on the album are “Chicken Teriyaki,” “Bizcochito,” and “La Combi Versace (featuring Tokischa).” These songs are incredibly fun to listen to and not have a care in the world.
“Some critics have voiced concerns over a Catalan artist, a northerner, taking so much liberty with a folk genre that evolved from the amalgamation of Jewish, Romani and Moor diasporas in the south of Spain,” writes Suzy Exposito for Rolling Stone. “Rosalía, however, insists her interpretations are not born out of any disrespect, but out of a natural curiosity for the medium itself.”
It is amazing that Rosalia is not afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to music making, producing, sampling, and mixing genres. She wants to be everything; she does not want to fit in one box. In an interview for The New York Times, she said that there is no correct or incorrect way to use one’s own creativity.