He can sing on his own: Bad Bunny’s new album breaks records, pushes boundaries

Bad+Bunny+in+chains+surrounded+by+a+group+of+goddesses+in+thrones.

Music video for “Yo Perreo Sola”

Bunny portraying himself as the shackled slave of a group of goddesses.

Camille Botello, News Editor

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Latin reggaetón superstar Bad Bunny has made history with his album “YHLQMDLG” (Yo hago lo que me da la gana//I do whatever I want), and for good reason.

The Puerto Rican artist’s album, which he dropped at midnight on leap day, has broken all sorts of records. He has surpassed J Balvin’s record in the top 20 on the Hot Latin Songs Chart, landed as the most streamed all-Spanish album ever on the Billboard 200— even beating Shakira’s 2005 album “Fijación Oral: Vol. 1”– and has the most career entries on the Hot Latin Songs Chart, more than the father of reggaetón himself: Daddy Yankee.

What makes these records especially impressive is a lot of reggaetón fans think of Bad Bunny more as a talented collaboration artist than a solo act. You’ve probably heard a few tracks from his 2019 “Oasis” duet album with J Balvin, Cardi B’s “I Like It,” or “Mia” featuring Drake. Or, if you watched the 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show you saw Bad Bunny perform in a whole slew of songs with J Balvin, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. 

There are many songs on “YHLQMDLG” with the typical reggaetón hook, but what sets the album apart are the songs with layered and less traditional production for its genre. 

Si Veo a Tu Mamá

“Si veo a Tu Mamá” is one of the collection’s shining outliers. Bunny opens with the chorus on the light raindrop-elevator-music-type melody.

Todavía yo te quiero – I still love you

Pero sé que es un error – But I know it’s wrong

Porque ya tu no me quieres – Because you don’t love me anymore

Y sin ti me va mejor – And without you I do better

The bass drops in rhythm with the next verse, giving the soothing melody an additional layer that contributes to the song’s buildup. 

Y si veo a tu mamá – And if I see your mom

Yo le pregunto por ti – I ask her about you 

Pa’ ver si ya tienes a alguien – To see if you already have someone

Alguien que te haga feliz – Someone who makes you happy

As the song nears the peak of its arc, Bunny reflects on this love affair in his softer falsetto, and then picks up his pace until he’s in an all-out rap by the end of the second verse.

He then gracefully floats back up to his falsetto, drops down to his melody, and layers in a new harmony.  

Al menos que seas tu – At least let it be you

Baby, te quiero aunque diga lo contrario – Baby, I love you even if he says I don’t

Llevo seis meses solitario pero..  – I’ve been single now six months but..

Hoy salí con los muchachos a beber – Today I went out to drink with the guys

Y dije que de ti no iba a hablar – And I said I wouldn’t talk about you

Son la cinco, ya va a amanecer – It’s 5 a.m., the sun’s already rising

Si no prenden la voy a llamar – If the lights don’t turn on I’m going to call her

Bunny concludes “Si Veo a Tu Mamá” where he started: pondering his heartbreak in the beautiful simplicity of a few light raindrop beats.

Yo Perreo Sola

“Yo Perreo Sola” is another one of the tracks on Bad Bunny’s new album that has exploded in popularity. The upbeat, bass-heavy song gives listeners a surge of energy that compels them to dance, which is what the song is about, anyways. It starts with a female vocalist: 

Antes tú me picheabas – Before you ignored me

Ahora yo picheo – Now I’m ignoring you

Antes tú no querías – Before you didn’t want to

Ahora yo no quiero – No I don’t want to

No, tranqui – No, chill

Yo perreo sola – I get down* alone

The cadence of the song is similar to many reggaetón hits, but the music video is nothing if not unique to what other Latin pop stars have produced in the past. 

Bunny surprised fans by appearing as both himself and his female counterpart in full drag queen hair and makeup. And throughout the rest of the video, he gloriously dispels stereotypes about gender and sexual orientation in each scene.

Bad Bunny dressed in drag with long brown hair in front of yellow background.
“Yo Perreo Sola” Music Video
Bad Bunny dressed in drag in his music video for “Yo Perreo Sola.”
Artist in red thigh-high heels and tight red jump suit in front of a red set.
“Yo Perreo Sola” Music Video
Bad Bunny plays with gender roles in his music video for “Yo Perreo Sola.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

He plays the sexy, self-sufficient woman who doesn’t need a man to dance with, but also as himself — a man respecting a woman’s decision to dance with him or not. 

Artist Bad Bunny dressed in pink on hood of white car parked in a field of roses.
Music video for “Yo Perreo Sola.”
Bunny poses on a car with traditionally feminine tropes around him.

We find Bunny dressed in pink dancing on a car in a field of roses, which is an interesting, symbolic juxtaposition of gender norms. Next the scene cuts to a green space with neon signs that reads “las mujeres mandan,” meaning that women are in charge, and  “ni una menos,” which is a reference to the movement to end violence against women

Female dancer in front of green background.
Music video for “Yo Perreo Sola”
The music video makes reference to women being in charge and ending violence against women.
Bad Bunny wearing sunglasses & a chain in front of a green background and neon sign.
Music video for “Yo Perreo Sola”
The artist Bad Bunny in front of a sing referencing the movement to end violence against women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bunny takes it a step even further in the next take, portraying himself as the shackled slave of a group of goddesses. This is shockingly unique to the image most male artists make for themselves, perhaps especially Latin stars– a group which has been criticized as being overly “machista,” or hyper-masculine.

Bad Bunny in chains surrounded by a group of goddesses in thrones.
Music video for “Yo Perreo Sola”
Bunny portraying himself as the shackled slave of a group of goddesses.

  

The video ends on a black screen and one simple command. 

Red words in Spanish on a black screen.
Music video for “Yo Perreo Sola”
“If she doesn’t want to dance with you, respect it. She gets down alone.”

The artist not only bends the rules of lyrical content in traditional reggaetón, but also shatters any preconceived ideas about the way women are to be portrayed in his videos. If nothing else before was an indicator of Bad Bunny’s feminist principles, his “Yo Perreo Sola” music video is proof. 

Soliá

Again with “Soliá”, which is one of the most underrated songs on the whole album, Bad Bunny continues to carve a less traditional path for himself. 

The song begins with a series of low-fi, aerated electronic beats while Bunny introduces us to the main character. 

Llegó soliá, salió sin las amigas – She arrived alone, left without her friends

Revelada en el alcohol – Revealed in the alcohol 

Buscando una salida – That she’s looking for a way out

De esa relación de mentira – Of that fake relationship

Mami, ya vi como me miras – Babe, I already saw how you look at me

Te lo repito por si se te olvida – I’ll say it again in case you forgot

Envíale un mensaje que diga… – Send him a message that says… 

The snare drum and bass make the hook of the chorus known in Bunny’s next lines, but the sound maintains the tender whisper of the smooth electronic rhythm. 

Que no te deje sola – That he shouldn’t leave you alone

Porque puede perderte – Because he could lose you

Si algún día vuelve a verte – If someday he comes back to see you

De mi parte le dices que – Tell him from my part

Que no te deje sola – Not to leave you alone

The second half of the chorus is without lyrics, and is reminiscent of the indie electronica vibes of Mike Posner’s “I Took a Pill in Ibiza,” ODESZA’s “Meridian,” and Hippie Sabotage’s “Your Soul.” It sounds like a warm and stunning ode to the mainland United States’ low-fi, chillwave electropop artists, while also incorporating Bunny’s own Latin flare.

“Soliá’s” pace accelerates in the second verse but slows and deepens at its subsequent bridge. When we arrive at the final chorus Bunny’s voice is diluted into an electronic, almost mellow robotic sound, onto which he ends the song. 

If this album tells us anything, it’s that Bad Bunny will never be only seen as a featuring artist again. The Puerto Rican pop star shows he is absolutely unstoppable, and truly does whatever he wants on “YHLQMDLG.” 

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*Translation note: Perrear translates more closely to mean ‘to dance provocatively’ to a reggaetón song specifically.