M from ‘Motomami’: Three ideas to understand (better) the new Rosalía

If it is already difficult to talk about music in general, it is even more difficult to talk about mommy. What for some is “funny” and “unsightly rubbish”, for others is an exercise in experimentalism worthy of modern art. There are those who find virtuosity and those who find empty artificiality. Evolution or betrayal of the essence. honesty or marketing. Casual or ridiculous. Vanguard or populism.

For all these reasons, we bring three ideas that (we hope) can help not so much to position ourselves in one of those two poles as to better understand Rosalía’s performative proposals.

Still from the video clip of ‘Candy’ that honors Lost In Translation.
Rosalia / YouTube

The potential of contemporary music to play with realism, the limits between the artistic and the advertising or social networks is undeniable. It also seems evident that Rosalía has something; beyond the fact that, under all the media spotlights, it still manages to transcend the forces of aesthetic “normality” (“when the horse enters Troy, you trust it and it burned, uh, no”).

Now we just have to learn to enjoy the fire: “I am the girl of fire”, “and fire is beautiful because it breaks everything”.

mommy it’s a self portrait

This has been admitted in an interview by the artist herself. And from that moment, mommy It is not consistent, it is not homogeneous. We understand that neither Rosalía (nor anyone) is. Neither is it completely “pretty”, nor is it understandable. It’s not even only music. It is necessary to think about this new celebrity party from a space that fragments the subject. His identity is mobile, his self is under construction. And each song on the album gives us some pieces of a puzzle that never ends. In fact, the entire reality surrounding the artist becomes an aesthetic motif: from the nails, as was evident, to the storiesdeclarations or public friendships.

mommy It is not a second part either, it is not a continuation of The bad want. And so she lets us know: “A motomami gladly destroys her previous works to make way for the following works” (the bug that eats itselfIgnatius Farray would say). Just as it would not be logical to ask for unity, we do not demand continuity.

‘I am very mine, I transform myself’. Rosalia and ‘Saoko’.

It is true that the rupture that Rosalía proposes forces us to keep in mind her previous works. But that doesn’t mean that they must nothing. This is how the album opens: “I am very much mine, I transform myself”.

That is why the symbol of the butterfly is omnipresent, although this metamorphosis should not be thought of in simple terms: before it was A, now it is B. A motomami is diverse, complex, contradictory; a motomami has irreconcilable tastes. As soon as she sings you bulerías (“Bulerías”) or a ballad (“Sakura”) as she dances you a bachata (“La fame”) or one of those songs that could be classified as urban (“Diablo”).

In a single song he accompanies a reference to Winsin and Daddy Yankee with jazz motifs (“Saoko”), just at the moment when the latter retires. Or he exhausts you with a clue with an autobiographical microencyclopedia (“to from alpha, height, alien […] z from blackberry, stomp… or from fox as well”). It is not a question of content or style (“fuck the style”): anything goes, everything adds up to the extent that it feeds the –impossible– image of Rosalía.

file 20220323 13 2ocg2y.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
the cover of mommy is an ode to butterflies.
Rosalia / Twitter

mommy It is a song to God and to sex, in that order?

With this rebirth, Rosalía once again makes it clear that her poetry is off-road (“I did not base my career on having hits / because I have the base”) and forces his audience to stir in their seats. We have a good example in the treatment of religion and sex.

In reality, the use of faith as a place of enunciation has become habitual in music, both at the lyrical and at a performative level (symbols, gestures, iconography…). Now then, Rosalía subverts the divine order without the need to proclaim herself “atheist” (“You are the one who pimps / or they pimp you. / I chose my side from the day I was born”).

After the spiritual journey through the San Juan tradition in The Angels and the feminist liturgy of The bad wantthat is, once religion has been profaned and emptied of all content (“this is not bad will, / it is bad will”), mommy comes to redefine the body and make viewers participate in a energy that interrupts all codification: “Here the best artist is God”.

In “hentai” like a fucker, proclaims the empowerment of spirituality and eroticism as sources of the creative act, of pleasure. It goes to the paroxysm (“I beat it / until it was mounted”) and to the demystification of all canon (theological or aesthetic, with that verse so overflowing with syllables and ending in “whores”: on the subject of more virtuosity, the gravel emphasizes the humanity of the diva and of the orgasm). He thus locates the socio-symbolic order of sex and religion in the inconsequential and everyday (“so so good”), and adopts an attitude on stage that completely defines the human being: his happy ending (“mmmh, hentai”) .

‘Hentai’, by Rosalía.

It thus translates the immediate sexual drive, but does not require more weight than its evidence. Embracing us in rhetorical and subliminal excess, the only narrative “gestures” of the projected image, as “Bizcochito” or “La combi Versace” demonstrate, Rosalía puts capitalism, emotions, desire and consumption at the service of affections to include us in its transformation and invite us to pure enjoyment.

mommy it’s viral

In today’s music there is a tendency to show the laws of marketing to make them art. Rosalía goes further: she not only shows them, she models them.

That’s why mommy It functions as a viral archive while drinking from viral aesthetics. “Chicken Teriyaki” captures what cute/kawaii at a TikTok dance. “Diablo” plays with the treble typical of Instagram voice filters. The first concert after the release of the album was broadcast on-line and, as warned in a message at the beginning, the “piece [fue] created to be viewed from a mobile device”.

Somehow, Rosalía manages to represent for the first time the reality of a generation still with hardly any references in the international market, taking sets as significant in the world of entertainment as that of Saturday night Live.

Rosalía’s TikTok live adapted to YouTube.

Perhaps this explains why he has so much fans What haters. While, let’s say, Tangana receives constant praise for “dare” with all genres, Rosi (“without card”) always appears on the edge of the precipice: she falls in love with some, but also runs into widespread rejection time and again. Her songs are almost too modern, they refer to a reality that we still don’t know if she will end up looking like us kitsch. Perhaps because they are founding an unprecedented taste.

The one who knows, knows

that if I’m in this it’s to break,

And if I break with this,

So I’ll break.

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