Rosalía: Continuity and vertigo | Valencian Community

We go over chronology from their social networks and feel the dizziness of someone leaning over the edge of a cliff with a hangover: just over five years ago, Rosalía landed in Valencia for the first time and the did in front of 150 people. She remembered it last night before boarding hurt me, alone and with a guitar, the first time (in Catalan, she would pick it up alone at the end of the night) that she addressed the nearly 20,000 people who almost filled the hall of Marina Sur. But the dizziness is even greater when we make sure that the first time in his life that he saw C. Tangana It was a few months before, at the beginning of 2017 and at the Cream nightclub on San Vicente street, in front of some 800 people who sang the songs of Agorazein, the project he led with Sticky MA, Jerv.agz, Fabianni & I-As. I could have sworn eight or nine years had already passed. In just five years, both have gone from new undergrounds to global stars. Two great figures of Spanish popular music as we haven’t seen them for decades. And in the case of Rosalía, starting from a pole position which then generated much less expectation on stage than that of Antón Álvarez, Pucho for friends. At least that’s what the numbers say.

There’s the vertigo, but there’s also the continuity with the pop music history of the last twenty years: the haunting tingle, that thick, hardened bass sound that seems about to shatter and emerges behind the engine roars in the first seconds of a Saoko which opened the night amidst shouts, synthesizes very well the global pop minimalism that Rosalía sublimated with her Motomami (2022), an album that is better understood when all its pieces fit together and are tasted in order. This sharp and powerful blow, something as fundamental (and human) as the clash between two bones, as the impact between two ivory tusks, as the snap of a pair of joints which go numb, which has become a universal language since the productions of The Neptunes at the turn of the century (I remember at this precise moment that Pharrell Williams was among the many collaborators on Rosalía’s third album, the chronology is there) and that the Catalan artist wears , from the viral emergence of reggaeton three decades ago and the assumption of Latin as the new universal koiné in it, to a spectacular crucible which also mixes flamenco, pop, rumba, bachata, cumbia, hyperpop, r’n’b or bolero, and which is in tune with the TikTok era and its tiny and fragmentary consumption, full of viral choreography. If you blink, you miss it. And all of these styles (and a few more) rang last night.

Did I say spectacular? That. A show. About thirty songs in almost two hours of show. The fifth of this tour, which has 46 in fifteen countries. Do what he wants, and from a point of view which, as much as he responds to a show with more than his own entity, it is inevitable for me to contrast (again) with that of C. Tangana, which is something like his male nemesis and he was just a week before in Valencia, in front of a similar crowd (although his was part of a festival). Where Tangana puts huge horizontal screens in cinemascope, Rosalía plants two vertical ones as if they were two mobile phones. They both break the fourth wall by staring at the camera whenever they feel like it, but while he does it in movie mode, she does it in POV mode. Where he displayed his fear of emptiness with more than twenty musicians from all walks of life, it displays a scenic minimalism with only eight dancers and no instrument on stage. From the accumulation of collaborators to the total absence. Rosalía does not resort to them (or their images) even when dealing with completely foreign material, as in blinding lights (The weekend). All the attention is for her, she doesn’t share it, she doesn’t rest. If he embarks on a flamenco-Latin spree tinged with castizo and saves the classics of Spanish pop, it stirs up the world mixer without complexes, with a few twerking and the explicit nods to world pepinazos like pimp dad (Lorraine) and Gasoline (Dad Yankee). Longer lights, no doubt. And to further underline a game of contrasts that seems to have been devised by a brilliantly astute mind, if he jokingly admitted that his thing is not to sing or to tune (that’s precisely the name of his tour) , she demonstrates just the opposite: that her ability to dance relentlessly, to preside over a good choreographic parade, to sing like angels in disparate registers and to move people by resorting to naked intimacy (a moment at the piano with Hentai) and without pyrotechnics is one of its great assets.

The public raised their phones during Rosalía's concert, this Saturday in Valencia.
The public raised their phones during Rosalía’s concert, this Saturday in Valencia.Marie Carbonelle

For this reason, and precisely for this reason, we also stay with the sensation, and it is a very personal point of view (can we perhaps opt for another, when we speak of a phenomenon that generates a dam of opinion so rowdy on social networks that questions the usefulness of any journalistic vision in use?), that Rosalía’s show amuses and convinces him, but that he does not fall in love with it. The one where some outdo themselves in coaching and directing an organic mess of talent, theirs is so intertwined with aerobic deployment and the precise, flawless, relentless course of technology (sound scratches here at great heights, no one can deny) that some spark, some unpredictability, and even some ingenuity – which he has left – crumbles or liquefies right along the way. That there will be better versions of Rosalía, although this is the best we know of so far.

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