Rosalía’s sound in today’s popular music sphere comes at a high cost. We live in an age where popular music tends to be one-dimensional. The attention span of people isn’t where it once was. An artist must capture the listener quickly or be at risk of losing them. I’m not sure if one could even label Rosalía’s music as “popular music” because it’s far too elaborate. Her sound changes the perception of what people believe pop music should sound like.
Hailing from Sant Esteve Sesrovires, Catalonia, Spain. Rosalía has a sound that is so distinctive. Her modern take on Flamenco music with a blend of pop offers contrastive sonics that makes for a truly engrossing listen. As a result, Rosalía’s music pushes the boundaries of the genre in a fresh and intransigent way. You also notice that Rosalía knows how to pick great sounds. The production quality of her records come off as almost majestic.
Notable records such as MALAMENTE – Cap.1: Augurio off her 2018 offering El Mal Querer gives you an idea of the sound she conveys. Her voice pierces through the deep resonance and familiar claps of the Flamenco genre. That paired with her adlibs and quirky sounds she makes throughout her records give you more than what you were expecting. Comparable to the Migos and their use of adlibs to complement their sound. Rosalía does this with her masterful blend of the Flamenco pop subgenre.
There are no gimmicks here, she’s talented and the dedication to her craft is apparent. The girl simply can sing. Her range is amazing and her falsetto is buttery smooth. Records like BAGDAD – Cap.7: Liturgia border on angelic. While more recent cuts such as Dio$ No$ Libre Del Dinero which translate to “God Free Us From Money” discards the use of percussion. This melancholy trap-flamenco records message boarders on chilling. “Millions burning,” Rosalía sings, “We’re going to burn them/Mountains of fire/Bills crying.” She sings of kings, presidents, and poison, and in the chorus, she teeters over her words, breathlessly piling up the avarice: counting, having, dreaming, wanting. Its a tale of caution. While “F*cking Money Man (Millionaria)” plays as the yang to “Dio$ No$ Libre Del Dinero’s” yin. It takes a contrastive approach with its constant major-key and percussion-driven production.
As a result, I’ve come to enjoy her collaborations with other artists as well. Rosalía knows who to work with. Her contributions to James Blake’s “Barefoot In The Park” cut from his critically acclaimed LP Assume Form showcased her versatility. Rosalía may not be a household name just yet but she can hold her own with the best of them. In many cases, even make the song that much more compelling. For example, her J Balvin collab “Con Altura” hierarchized Urbano’s Dembow groove while “Aute Cuture” teased with hints of R&B.
Above all, she’s versatile and exceptionally competent musically as she studied it in school. She enrolled at the Superior School of Music of Catalonia where she received classes from Chiqui de La Línea, a flamenco instructor who only accepted one student per year. Rosalía’s even dabbled into the world of acting in Pain and Glory. So with all this praise, the question is can she deliver an album this year that will give her the crossover appeal? Can she become the next global music superstar? We’ll know soon enough but what I do know is this. If she can deliver and well-rounded album this go-round. The throne is hers for the taking. She just has to take it.