I tend to listen to music in phases. But over the past year I realized that the one artist I’ve never gotten tired of listening to is Spanish pop star Rosalía. Known for incorporating aspects of flamenco into her songs, Rosalía won this year’s Grammy for Best Latin Rock, Urban, or Alternative Album with El Mal Querer (2018) and was nominated for Best New Artist. She’s insanely talented and I’m really excited to see what else she has in store (*cough* a third album please *cough*). Here are my favorite Rosalía songs.
1. “MALAMENTE – Cap 1: Augurio”
This track exemplifies Rosalía’s acute ability to manipulate rhythm. While its instrumentals may appear muted and vocals may appear understated, this allows the song’s pulsating rhythm to shine. This track opens El Mal Querer with a sultry sound and lyrics that warn of a haunting premonition.
2. “Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi”
This is a great summer jam. Performed with Ozuna, this track is a fun and flirty love song. Also, I love the dances that Rosalía does in the music video :)
3. “Con Altura”
No Rosalía playlist would be complete without “Con Altura,” this reggaeton bop has Rosalía putting her signature flare on a beat-heavy collaboration with J Balvin and El Guincho.
4. “A Palé”
When I first heard this song, I hated it, but now it’s one of my all-time favorites. Unlike many of the radio-friendly singles Rosalía has released over the past year, “A Palé” shows a more dark and experimental side to her sound. The song begins with slow and heavy verses, only to speed up with the chorus’s rapid repetition. The sliding notes punctuate the backing instrumentals and add to the electrifying frantic energy of this track.
5. “DE AQUÍ NO SALES – Cap. 4: Disputa”
This track is on a Grimes Spotify playlist called “ETHEREAL is a genre.” and I feel like this sums it up perfectly. Slowly ascending vocals and backing engine revs give way to an experiment in sonic texture, with individual vocal notes rapidly overlaid on a clapping beat.
FUCKIN’ MONEY MAN!
7. “Dio$ No$ Libre Del Dinero”
This is a much softer answer to “Milionària” in which Rosalía rues the control that money can exert over people. This song showcases delicate and shimmering vocals that punctuate the air, as Rosalía asks God to free us from money. What an anti-capitalist queen.
8. “PIENSO EN TU MIRA – Cap. 3: Celos”
This was the first Rosalía song I ever listened to. After listening to “PIENSO EN TU MIRA” at a friend’s recommendation, I felt a mixture of concern and delight. I could barely understand any of the lyrics, even though I am a Spanish minor and have been taking Spanish for the past 10 years. On the other hand, the song slapped. It had the dreamy yet driving indie pop sound that I absolutely loved and, even though I struggled with the lyrics the first time through, I knew that she was saying something absolutely poetic. The chorus, “Pienso en tu mirá clavá es una bala en el pecho” roughly translates to “I think about your gaze, it hits me like a bullet in the chest,” and demonstrates Rosalía’s use of powerful imagery as she admits to being jealous of her lover.
9. “Aute Cuture”
This is tied with “PIENSO EN TU MIRA” for my absolute favorite Rosalía song. I love the danceable brass cadence driving the track and the fun positivity of its lyrics. When Rosalía describes how she’s dressed to kill with leopard print and heels, a backing vocal answers with “Madre mía Rosalía, bájale (My God Rosalía, calm down).” As referenced in some of her lyrics, the music video shows her and her backup dancers boasting ridiculously long nails, which are supposed to represent how something feminine can also be deadly and powerful, which I just think is super cool.
Image Credits: Jacob Bilich