Saturday, June 26th, 2021

Bad Bunny – Yonaguni

He isn’t sad, just uninvolved with the societal proscription of eating alone…


Wayne Weizhen Zhang: So many non-English-speaking artists are pivoting to English, Bad Bunny had to troll them all by releasing a song partially in, of all languages, Japanese. Nothing else about “Yonaguni” reinvents the Bad Bunny sad-boi anthem formula, which serves as a compliment in this circumstance. 

John S. Quinn-Puerta: So much of what I like in reggaeton is about balance and variance. As compared to the last couple of tracks I’ve covered here, “Yonaguni” manages both of those well, giving me enough variability in the melody and instrumental to be interesting, and giving each enough push and pull that one doesn’t overwhelm the other. It helps that Bad Bunny’s vocal style lends itself to an emotional rawness that draws me in. 

Claire Biddles: Reggaeton that bobs along nicely enough, in stark contrast to Bad Bunny’s monotone bark, which I’ve never really gotten along with — “Yonaguni” is best in the small moments when the swelling synths drop out and it turns percussive and harsh. Obsessed with the lyric (apparently) about tattooing a girl’s butt on his face? 

Juana Giaimo: I feel the distance between the lyrics and the music kind of ruins this. The music is typical Bad Bunny, a slow reggaeton with very sad vibes, but the lyrics are kind of funny. It starts as a rather normal unrequited love song, but then he says that he knows her ass so well that he could graduate and get a tattoo of it in his face. In the Japanese outro, instead of using it to say something poetical and mysterious in another language, he actually simply says that he only wants to have sex with her. However, this part of the song doesn’t even have a beat, and instead we’re left with these very calm synths and his lonely voice. “Yonaguni” could be a parody of a love song (and I’m assuming he’s trying to be funny, because if not my rating would be lower) but the music tells me to take it seriously. 

Thomas Inskeep: Watching Bad Bunny become one of the world’s biggest pop stars over the past half-decade has been a pleasure, because he just keeps getting better as he gets bigger, and how rare is that? “Yonaguni” is a perfect case in point: this single, in which he drunkenly pines for an ex, could be just another sad-sack whinefest, like so much hip hop these days (cf “Mood” and a myriad of Post Malone records). But Bunny croons this so sweetly, so doesn’t-sound-sadly, that it weirdly turns into a kind of summery jam. The track’s light reggaeton beat helps, certainly, but ultimately “Yonaguni” rises, and rises, on the personality Bunny imbues into it through his incredibly demonstrative voice. He’s an artist who knows just what he’s doing, and is firing on all cylinders here.

Nortey Dowuona: Bad Bunny continues to hop head and shoulders above all walls, with his lilting holler skipping across the icy synths and buried earthworm bass, hopping in shaky drums that barely fit around his heels. They allow him to skate quite easily when the soles light up, looking for anyone, anyone to follow his lead. But no one follows, and he hops on, feeling utterly defeated.

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