Album Review: J Balvin Keeps the Party Going With 'Colores'

Let’s cut right to the chase. J Balvin’s Colores is something fun, something for the quarantine. J Balvin is an artist whose primary concern is lifting spirits and keeping the party going. Whether it’s through chart-topping collaborations with Beyoncé (“Mi Gente”), ROSALÍA (“Con Altura”) and Cardi B (“I Like It”) or through solo smashes like “Ambiente” and “Reggaetón,” J Balvin is a consistent bright ball of energy on the global music scene. As we head deeper into the unknown of this COVID-19 pandemic, spirits have understandably been down. People are turning to challenges on Instagram and dances on Tik Tok to find some semblance of happiness in this new normal of social distancing and self-quarantining. What better way to brighten up the world than a bombastic album of Latin pop and reggaetón that’s bursting with the catchiest rhythms and melodies of 2020 so far.

The 28-minute pseudo-concept album features ten tracks, each named after a different color. The song titles aren’t arbitrary in the least. In “Morado,” J Balvin evokes themes of royalty and opulence, like the color purple historically suggests, with lyrics like “Yo pedí un trago y ella la botella (I asked for a drink and she asked for the bottle).” Similarly, “Negro,” explores the dark and hopeless connotation of the color black with a lyrical narrative of an evil and manipulative woman. Most of the production on Colores is handled by Sky Rompiendo and leans into more traditional elements of reggaetón like malianteo, a more rap-focused fusion of reggaetón’s hip-hop roots. DJ Snake (“Amarillo”) and Diplo (“Rosa”) add some elements of dance music to Colores as well. One of the album’s standouts, “Arcoíris” (the Spanish terms for “rainbow”), features Mr Eazi on a sort of afrobeats/reggaetón mixture that demands the listener to dance as hard as they can. Finally, Colores‘ brevity not only increases its replay value, but also keeps the album’s conceptual elements tight. No song overstays its welcome and the album’s pacing is akin to an action-packed half-hour television show, it hits all of the right notes.

Key Tracks: “Morado”; “Amarillo”; “Arcoíris”

Score: 74

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