The third studio album from the Spanish singer-songwriter cements her as one of the most exciting voices in pop today.
Rosalía can do it all and she wants you to know it. From the very first song on MOTOMAMI, the upbeat alternative track ‘Saoko’, she is clear to impress upon the listener that she is complex, she is multifaceted, and they won’t be able to pin her down. “I contradict myself, I transform,” she sings. “I’m all things, I transform.” And so she does, continually, bouncing from flamenco to reggaeton to piano ballads to experimental pop with ease, energy and a healthy serving of unpredictably.
This is a very personal album for Rosalía, who is upfront and open with more consistency than we’ve seen in her previous works. In flamenco track ‘Bulerías’ she stakes a claim in her history and culture as she attempts to reconcile it with her international celebrity (“Just as much of a cantaora/When I’m wearing a Versace tracksuit.”) In ‘La Fama’, she joins forces with the Weeknd to expand on the difficulties of safely navigating fame, whilst ‘G3 N15’ sees her softly crooning an apology to family members whose lives she feels she is missing. In ‘Sakura’, the album’s closer, she acknowledges that there is a ticking clock on popstardom, and yet the cheering audience in the background of the track shows us that, despite everything, she isn’t ready to go anywhere.
Her voice soars in ‘Sakura’, the agility granted her by a background in folk and flamenco very much on display. There seem to be very few limits on Rosalía’s vocal ability. In the reggaeton-inspired ‘Chicken Teriyaki’ she attacks the lyrics with a furious energy; in bridging track ‘Motomami’ she pulls out a delightfully raspy rap vocal. Her clear, bright tone in ‘Delirio de Grandeza’ could make her a contender for the next Disney princess. Her vocal dexterity perfectly compliments her writing style in that she is never formulaic or predictable, sometimes pulling off things that seem to work almost counterintuitively (A Soulja Boy sample on soaring vintage ballad ‘Delirio de Grandeza’? A sudden piano bridge on experimental bassline-bolstered track ‘Cuuuuuuuuuute’?) Rosalía has good instincts, and she’s not afraid to follow them.
The result is a playful, engaging, absolutely un-guessable body of work that forces us at every turn to trust its formidable creator. And even when Rosalía is performing spoken word about the alphabet (‘Abcdefg’), she succeeds. We trust her.
MOTOMAMI is out now, and Rosalía has announced a date at London’s O2 on December 15 as part of her world tour. Tickets are available here.