Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Paloma Mami – Fingías

She’s doing big things in Chile and big things on here, too…


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Julian Axelrod: “Fingías” is a dense thicket of contradictions: a voice of yearning flecked with bile, a measured pulse against a polysyllabic barrage, a would-be summer smash that sounds like a cloudy day. But filtered through a voice as nuanced and assured as Paloma Mami’s, it’s not a muddled mess. It feels nuanced and unresolved, a gem you keep turning over in your hand even when you forget it’s there.
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Joshua Minsoo Kim: “Fingías” is sultry, but deceptively so; this is really a song about holding in bitterness and sorrow, expressed perfectly by a subtly undulating reggaeton beat. The topline is perfect: listen to how Paloma Mami crams in a bunch of syllables before releasing each line with a breathy word, her rightful accusations dissipating into a cloud of reverbed instrumentation. She wants you to feel how tactile this love once was, and how quickly it vanished. As she sings, the beat keeps moving and moving and moving, every snare hit making clear how inescapable the world feels to her. When you’re paralyzed from loneliness, the dancefloor can feel harrowing.
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Iain Mew: A telling off so fine and light it’s the feeling of holding your own fragile sadness in front of you disguised in your hand, then turning that hand over to present it as an offering to be taken. The faint hope is that if you feel it hard and quietly enough they might take it away and put in somewhere and then turn around one day and find that it’s consumed them whole.
[7]

Ashley John: In a single track Paloma Mami elegantly provides a space for every possible emotion. The track shimmers with moodiness while still upholding the feeling that she is just a bit too cool for the rest of us. The sturdy beat keeps the track upright while Paloma Mami oscillates back and forth between anger and indifference, sadness and revenge. She commands attention, and “Fingías” is a display of her masterful control. 
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Jonathan Bradley: In 2004, when I heard reggaeton for the first time, I was excited, but also wondered how a genre built on a single rhythm could find enough variation to sustain itself. Fifteen years later, reggaeton has proven more versatile than I imagined — and I have a richer understanding of musical history — but I have never heard a song build its sketch of “Dem Bow” into something like “Fingías.” The beat barely anchors the song, but floats away from it, drifting in a dream. It’s like reggaeton dressed up as deep house: it has the same liquid sense of dislocation that never quite negates lucidity, but shifts it into new perspectives. 
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Alex Clifton: The production on this is ethereal and quite lovely. Paloma Mami’s voice floats on top of it so effortlessly — there’s a lot going on here but nothing ever sounds strained or overdone. I will listen to this whenever I want to feel leather-jacket-and-heeled-boots cool.
[7]

Will Adams: The track doesn’t build so much as it oscillates: percussion filters in and out, and Paloma Mami’s vocal drifts like a fog. It’s a nice complement to a song built on conflicting emotions. On one hand, she bitterly congratulates her ex for how good he played her, but the fragility in her voice shows that the pain is still there.
[7]

Iris Xie: This is one of those rare songs, where reading the lyrics actually made it harder for me to pay attention to and understand the song, because the songwriting decisions here are so tangible and felt. In reality, Paloma Mami could’ve just ad-libbed or sang nonsense lyrics, and the clear, palpable feelings of coming to terms with a disappointing breakup would shine all the same. The intro is stunning: “It was all a lie” and a sharp intake of a reverbed, pained breath, which then launches directly into the impassioned, personal message that she is addressing to her ex-lover. Her vocals are lonely with a bitter longing with an occasional burst into a pressing but self-assured urgency, as it is complemented by the pulsing reggaeton beats and the airy backing vocals. I’m especially impressed by the two different usages of strings here, both which are short, blithe strums that are plucked to express a forlorn, despondent heart that echoes both her quiet frustration and her sharp intake of breath from earlier. All of this combines to create a vulnerable and private atmosphere that is humid and immense, like after a thunderstorm, followed by the brief, crackling pressure right before the heavy rains start. Here, one could take a deep breath, fill your lungs, and then swim in the familiar feelings, of being abandoned and left to process the sharp pains of being heartbroken by unsaid lies and passive detachments. What really nailed the loveliness of this song was the verse that starts with, “Ahora por tu culpa no me enamoro (-moro)/Now it’s your fault I don’t fall in love.” The melody gains a harder edge to its sadness, and Paloma Mami’s voice tenses a bit as she makes her defiant declarations to push back the narrative, for it was her ex-lover who lost out. Afterwards, it goes back to the chorus, where it starts to take on a cyclical sensation with the revolving beats, like we’re being pulled and carried across a journey of a developing acceptance of the situation. This is a documentation of moods shortly before, after, and during pitiful, private cries, where one alternates being strong while turning to pieces, of biting your lip to contain the sorrow coalescing in your throat, of a burning desire that alternates between wanting to seek revenge for your wounded ego and positioning yourself as one who could’ve fulfilled all of those desires, were that person wiser to understand what a mistake they made to leave. The ending of a song is a bitter, sudden exhale. “I know, I know you still want me” closes out the cycle perfectly, but leaving the listener with a feeling that her grieving process is not over yet, and will repeat again until extinguished.
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Reader average: [5.33] (3 votes)

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