Friday, July 13th, 2018

Luis Fonsi ft. Stefflon Don – Calypso

To your editor, he’ll always be that guy who had a duet on the second Emma Bunton album.


Jonathan Bogart: How do you follow up accidentally having the biggest global single of the modern era? Only a few people have ever had to wrestle with this question in history, and none of them were twenty-year music-industry veterans with a long track record of pan-regional hit-making. “Échame la Culpa” was one way: keep your romantic balladeer persona but try to keep crossing over to the Bieber audience without being saddled with Bieber himself. “Calypso” is another way: lean into novelty hard, pretend Puerto Rico and Jamaica and Trinidad are all the same undistinguished “Caribbean” vacation destination musical genre, mashing up soca and reggaeton and dancehall into a neon goop driven more by melody than rhythm, and pray that credulous Eurovision fans fall for it a second time.

Thomas Inskeep: It sure as hell ain’t “Despacito” — more like a Casio keyboard preset with some “blah-de-blah” over the top, hackwork of the highest order. And music industry, stop trying to make Stefflon Don happen. She’s no Cardi B, that’s for certain.

Juana Giaimo: Luis Fonsi continues to stay away from ballads — and we should be thankful for that. This time, he has released a dancehall track that aims to be the song of the summer — in the northern hemisphere. The beat is fast and the steel pad guides the song with its joyful sound. Stefflon Don is a bit more of a risk, but Fonsi is quickly learning the dynamics of Latin American club music. For example, the chorus starts as quite mellow, but it is suddenly broken with a deeper melody when he sings “Lo que tu digas, te daré.” 

Tim de Reuse: Aggressively sunny enough to make your pupils constrict, but at least it’s aiming for some type of flavor at all, and it tries hard enough that it can’t help but accidentally be a little fun. The multilingual 1-2-3 of the chorus, unfortunately, is one of the most un-sexy things they could have written to serve a climactic singalong chant.

Ashley John: Held steady by a backbone of steel drums, “Calypso” guides us up and down through summer’s heat. Luis Fonsi’s verses and then rhythmic chorus highlight Stefflon Don, who elevates this track from wafting summer single to a strong-willed hit. Stefflon Don flexes her versatility with a sweet, high-pitched verse at first, sounding like a line from teen blockbuster movie: “Don’t wanna fight cuz I love when we dancing.” Only then switching a few seconds later to a guttural, dominant tone leaving the rest of the song to trickle off slowly once Luis Fonsi takes the reins back. 

Katherine St Asaph: It’s good for what it is — a flimsy, saccharine follow-up to an unexpected smash, making the same mistake as countless sudden stars past that a song is guaranteed a hit just for being genial.

Will Adams: Fun fact: my first encounter with calypso — or the idea of it — was with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. “Benjamin Calypso,” much like “Under the Sea” and now Luis Fonsi’s “Calypso,” serve less as examples of specific Caribbean genres and more shorthand meant to evoke the feel-good tropicalia of a Wheel of Fortune prize package. The designs for another global smash — high-fructose corn syrup backing; counting up in different languages — are respectively obvious and awkward, but the most concerning aspect of this is Stefflon Don getting stuck with yet another dud of a feature.

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One Response to “Luis Fonsi ft. Stefflon Don – Calypso”

  1. I couldn’t fit it in my blurb but when the counting happened all I could think of was “stave it off, 1-2-3 and now you can count to 3”