Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

Billie Eilish & Rosalía – Lo Vas A Olvidar

Feelings of Euphoria forever ’til the end of time

Juana Giaimo: I was ready to hate this song. I thought, “Oh, now Billie Eilish also wants to jump into Latin music,” because we’ve seen this happen countless time in the last couple of years. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The track sounds more like a Billie Eilish song featuring Rosalía rather than the other way round. It’s nowhere near the superficial idea the anglo world has of Latin music, and it doesn’t even try to be Latin music (and that’s so refreshing coming from a collaboration with an artist who calls herself Latin even though she isn’t). It’s intense and ethereal at the same time, and I like how the Auto-Tune make the lyrics less intelligible and therefore, the two languages fuse better. It also hides the fact that the lyrics aren’t good: the chorus consists of the same question in Spanish and English, and most of the verses are very vague ideas about heartbreak, which is disappointing considering the music is far from being generic.

Thomas Inskeep: So unexpected — this pairing could’ve been a banger, but instead it’s achingly subdued, with no beat, layered vocals (mostly in Spanish), and a few very quiet synth chords here and there. Reminiscent of Björk in non-pop mode, which makes sense, because either or both of these artists may end up going down her artistic path.

Edward Okulicz: Points for both for going for a non-obvious collab, but this isn’t revelatory or heavenly. Breathy and brittle melodies are Eilish’s thing, but she’s created ones that were far more engaging, and better-produced (put this one up against, say “When I Was Older” and that much is clear) and Rosalía melts into this rather than bringing her own, strong personality to it. At her best, Eilish mastered the use of foregrounding the ugly sounds in the background, “Lo Vas A Olvidar” is just a background on which, at her best, she’d put something super-compelling in front of.

Alfred Soto: Because the artists share quietude as goal and tactic, “Los Vas a Olvidar” shoud’ve been a triumph. The dampish electronics and shared mics unnerve me: I’m used to Billie Eilish and Rosalía zealously protecting their spaces.

Al Varela: I really like how this song is more focused on atmosphere rather than any sort of hook or rhythm. It’s very ethereal and tense, with Billie and Rosalía’s vocals being the focus of the song going back and forth with their soft, whispery voices. They’re both beautiful singers, and they complement each other wonderfully. It works great for the scene this is meant to soundtrack too, as it emphasizes the mix of euphoria (ha) and despair of Jules and Rue’s relationship in a way that doesn’t feel like it’s saying too much. It underplays itself, and that’s its greatest strength.

Katherine St Asaph: Billie’s work wouldn’t exist without it, but “Lo Vas a Olvidar” is the closest she’s explicitly come to post-808s alt-R&B. The genre suits her unsurprisingly well, and surprisingly well Rosalía; it also fits the subject matter, sounding like sinking into a pool of poison and shame. The components are familiar, but used for maximum pain: a sonar blip or a sampled voice recording, plaintive soprano line or a vocal depersonalized and unsettled with frayed-hair Auto-Tune. The haze is pretty, but not all is haze, and Eilish’s last lyric is a targeted, futilely spiteful blow: “if I wasn’t important, then why would you waste all your poison?” The last syllable is delivered a cappella, to drive home a feeling: either of emerging from the sludge or sinking finally down.

Rodrigo Pasta: The ambiance is good, very well accomplished. Billie’s Spanish is a lot clearer and cleaner than expected, which is a nice surprise. They’ve got enough chemistry to not blow the whole thing off… yet there seems to be something missing. A more focused path, a more engaging and enrapturing story, perhaps a bit more flair, maybe some of that poison that’s only implied. The song expertly moves horizontally, like proper fog. But fog also takes over the air, or, in other words, doesn’t simply stay on the ground. Maybe its main flaw is that it’s not scared of or worried about its own title: “you are going to forget it”. Because the way things went on this one, I’m most likely to. And what a shame that is.

Harlan Talib Ockey: The first verse is fantastic. Rosalía and Billie Eilish lift the melody so delicately it feels like it might shatter. I was deeply invested in seeing what this would build into, and then it… didn’t. The choruses are painfully anticlimactic, robbing our vocalists of the opportunity to surge into their upper ranges or convey any actual emotion. The outro attempts to salvage this, as it does let Rosalía trapeze through some soprano trills and Billie spit a few acidic put-downs, but Finneas crushes all hope of catharsis by draining the energy from the beat and frying their voices with Auto-Tune. We’re also left unsatisfied by the lack of a chorus reprise at the end; as it is, it’s almost like Spotify glitched out right after the bridge. I don’t know why you would conscript two vocalists capable of such sensitive intensity and then prevent them from emoting for the vast majority of the song. This could’ve been so much better.

Reader average: [4.22] (9 votes)

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2 Responses to “Billie Eilish & Rosalía – Lo Vas A Olvidar”

  1. As a noted bear on Spanish-English collabs, I really enjoyed this a lot.

  2. I felt OK with this song. Billie’s attempted dive into Spanish music scene would be still struggling.