Thursday, May 27th, 2021

Aitana ft. Natalia Lacunza – Cuando te Fuiste

The reward for having to collaborate with Katy Perry is to get reviewed by us, evidently.


Ady Thapliyal: We probably should’ve seen Aitana’s pop-rock about-face coming. In 2018, Aitana, then just another contestant on the hit Spanish singing competition show Operación Triunfo, broke down in tears when forced to sing a pop-reggaeton style song she wasn’t comfortable with. “I never saw reggaeton in me,” she complained at the time, but the bitter ironies of fate made “Lo Malo,” the song she rejected, become an unexpected chart-topper and her breakout hit. Now that Aitana is a bona fide pop star, complete with painfully bad collaborations with Katy Perry and Zayn Malik, she has enough clout in the industry to go at it her own way. That’s how we arrive at “Cuando te Fuiste,” a serviceablely rocking Kelly Clarkson single that is less a song and more a declaration that Aitana is calling the shots these days. It’s a good Breakaway, but let’s hope Aitana has a My December coming up next.

Juana Giaimo: I don’t know who was in charge of mixing or producing the vocals, but I feel they totally ruined the song. I’m guessing there is some autotune overuse because Aitana and Natalia Lacunza sound flat and too thin for this powerful pop-punk song. Some more harmonization would have helped. It doesn’t help that the lyrics are no more than a stereotypical female empowerment breakup song (“When raining stops, a woman becomes strong, I won’t cry again”). If they have any personality (and at least Aitana showed some really nice vocals before), you don’t notice it here. 

Ian Mathers: This is a nice, zippy tune — I suspect it might get tagged pop punk now (unless we’ve moved on) and remember when it probably would have gotten power pop instead, but whatever descriptors we’re using you probably get the idea. It feels energetic and agile, exactly what you want for this kind of thing, and the two singers have good interplay. But… look, noticeable vocal processing is not intrinsically good or bad. And I would love to hear it applied to this kind of track in a way where it’s a virtue. But that processing, especially at the very start, just sounds kind of clunky and unnecessary next to the rest of the production — these voices could absolutely be a little more “off” and not only would it not hurt the track, most listeners would probably not even notice.

Dorian Sinclair: Some songs take multiple listens to really open up for me, letting me gradually get a handle on everything they have to offer. Others immediately hook behind my breastbone and yank me forward. “Cuando te Fuiste” is emphatically one of the latter. Four seconds in, as the guitar is joined by its double and almost immediately afterward by Aitana’s voice, I’m sold. It’s an arresting start, and what follows only adds to it. Aitana & Lacunza’s voices marry beautifully, and both know exactly when to step on the gas and when to pull back. Pair that with a fantastic drumline and some unexpectedly beautiful vocal harmonies in the bridge and final chorus, and you have something irresistible.

Jeffrey Brister: Just doesn’t have a lot of depth. Everything else is there –strong vocals, a bouncy and fizzy arrangement, and melody to spare — but it’s lacking teeth. A little too Hey Monday, not enough Paramore.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Bombastic, melodramatic Spanish teen-pop that jubilantly embodies the meaning of “garage band” as well as anybody since the band in Freaky Friday.

Edward Okulicz: I feel like a bit of a sourpuss not loving this, but it’s just that the opening riff promises “Kids in America”-level pop fun, and the actual reality of what emerges can’t live up to that. By which I mean that choppy 2005-era power pop with a hook that’s only slightly OK and singing that’s had a bit of character ironed out of it needs to be a bit more thrilling than this to work. Power pop needs a good rhythm, but when the drums are the best part of a power pop song, I notice what’s missing on top all the more.

Alfred Soto: “Cuando te Fuiste” works best when played before or after one of Olivia Rodrigo’s post-post-powerpunk tunes, and the rhythm changes do an even better job of delighting the ear (the drumming at 1:15 is purest Gina Schock too). It means little beyond itself but that’s the point.

Reader average: [7.5] (2 votes)

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One Response to “Aitana ft. Natalia Lacunza – Cuando te Fuiste”

  1. The referenced Aiyana and Katy Perry collaboration is the best thing Katy has done in some time. (granted that’s because of Tiesto but still)