Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Bad Bunny – Amorfoda

Quite Good Bunny, on this occasion.


Iain Mew: I have a thing for songs powered by absence. It’s a special kind of tension that comes not from the unexpected but from the expected not happening, repeatedly. In this case it takes knowing Bad Bunny’s past music to get the full effect, but regardless, the simple pound of piano always seems to be leading to some kind of break that never happens, and the intensity that he gets as a result is impressive.

Juana Giaimo: “Amorfoda” is a clever move from Bad Bunny, the most hyped Latin American trap artist. After all, he jumped to fame thanks to “Soy Peor,” a resentful breakup song. The difference is that “Amorfoda” erases the “now I’m single it’s time to party” factor and focuses on the sentimental pain. Musically, this is reflected by the lack of a beat — is it trap without a beat? — and a sequence of naked piano chords. With this background, Bad Bunny’s deep, coarse vocals stand out, especially as his register gets higher and the verses become compressed, as if the words come up in his mind faster than he can sing them. Although the lyrics are based on the idea of not wanting to believe in love anymore, the song itself denies the possibility of achieving that by showing the desperation of a broken heart and capturing it in a spiral structure: the last chorus doesn’t feel the same as the first one, but confirms to the listener that this wound isn’t closed and that his monologue could go on and on.

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: Every tough guy in Latin “urban” music has a “La Pelotona,” you know, a slow-paced, mainly acoustic song either longing for or denouncing love. Bad Bunny’s is quite a mood-setter, reverbed piano chords (i – VI – III – V is a very evocative progression) and soaring auto-tune and all, but the lyrics are even sillier than in his usual singles — there’s a line that literally says “I lost my faith in you getting better, if after the rain comes a rainbow without colors” — and you just can’t take that shit seriously. However, it was an interesting move from the trap kid, having released it as a Valentine’s Day single; it does work in that context, but it gets old really quickly. 

Ryo Miyauchi: Bad Bunny’s attempt to embrace the thorny ends of love doesn’t have much payoff. That might not be a surprise considering that he tries on a musical style that celebrates numbness. But his failing is not because he can’t emote. Instead, he overshoots it with that saccharine piano riff that makes his self-pity look more like a pose than his usual mask of unaffected cool.

Thomas Inskeep: And in one of the more unexpected musical developments of recent memory, Latin trap king Bad Bunny releases a piano ballad! It’s a motherfucker of a break-up song: “I’m always going to curse upon the day you were born,” he sings, clearly heartbroken. (More like shattered, really.) The song’s musical simplicity — I mean, this is practically Adele territory — and Bunny’s vocal accentuate the pain in the lyrics, and it’s effective as all hell. 

Edward Okulicz: There’s a bewildering array of covers of this on Youtube, and I recommend listening to them, because no matter who’s singing it, that piano line perfectly conveys pain. And Bad Bunny certainly does well with the sad ballad tropes. It probably loses something from the numb feeling that the autotuning gives it, but dudes being mopey is one of my least favourite things going, and this does a lot of things right to come across as inoffensive.

Crystal Leww: “Marvin’s Room” for 2018, set over the saddest piano line. I feel stupid for indulging in this sort of thing, even as I know I should have grown out of it, but Bad Bunny’s got the charisma and the pathos, just like Drake.

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