Album Review: El Último Tour Del Mundo // Bad Bunny

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Bad Bunny’s latest album is a celebration of self in a time of uncertainty.

Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio (AKA Bad Bunny) has had a hell of a year. Having released 3 projects in 2020 — including a compilation album consisting of unreleased tracks titled Las Que No Iban a Salir (The Ones that Weren’t Coming Out) — and topping the list of the most-streamed artist on Spotify, it’s clear to see that the trap star’s momentum is not gonna be slowing down anytime soon.

With such a wildly successful release earlier in the year with his second LP —  Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana (I Do What I Want) — you’d think that Bad Bunny would be able to calm down for a bit and enjoy his success, but instead, he recorded another album during his time in quarantine. His latest album —  third overall — titled El Último Tour Del Mundo (Last Tour On Earth), sees him return to his poppy, trap-oriented soundscape, a slight departure from the dembow-heavy production found in YHLQMDLG, and its welcome return to form to the sound that brought him to international fame.

The album features a unique blend of genres, including rock-inspired instrumentation on several songs, a psychedelic space ballad, and a closing track that’s not even performed by Bad Bunny himself but by Trio Vegabajeño, a legendary bolero group from Puerto Rico. And as with any Bad Bunny release, you can expect plenty of songs about sex, heartbreak, partying, and boastful braggadocio.

His confidence is part of his appeal, though, as his autotune-laced swagger is simply irresistible on tracks like ‘Booker T’, an anthemic banger that sees the trap star at the peak of his powers, as he mentions multiple times in the chorus. The production for the song has a bouncy vibe that serves as the perfect backdrop for the rapper as he rides the beat with relative ease. He throws a couple of jabs at his competitors for not writing their own songs, but the most surprising moment in the track comes in the form of an interlude that features an interpolation from ‘Cheki Morena’, a popular children’s song from Puerto Rico.

Speaking of bangers, the album starts off with ‘El Mundo es Mío’ (The World Is Mine), a towering intro in which Benito lists his already impressive achievements in his short run and declares himself as the top star in the game— a hard claim to dispute. The following track, ‘Te Mudaste’ (You Moved), dives into a more melancholic tone in which he laments the failure of a past relationship.

This feeling of longing doesn’t last for too long, though, as he immediately returns to the bravado he displayed on the album’s opener with ‘Hoy Cobré’ (I got paid), a menacing track that sees the rapper take a more leveled approach in his delivery, matching the darker beat with an ominous lower register. The production for the track features an eerie synth refrain that makes the mood all the more sinister. Continuing with the theme of money, the next track, ‘Maldita Pobreza’ (Damned Poverty), sees Benito dabble once again with more upbeat rock instrumentation reminiscent of the track ‘Tenemos Que Hablar’ (We Need To Talk) from his debut album, X 100pre.

One of the highlights of the album is the collaboration with Rosalía — the genre-bending artist who gave new life to flamenco music by injecting it with modern pop sensibilities — on the song ‘La Noche de Anoche’ (Last Night). The song itself is a sensual retelling of a one-night stand, with the duo displaying a tangible chemistry that calls for more collaborations between the two in the future. Another notable highlight is the song ‘Haciendo Que Me Amas’ (Pretending That You Love Me), which presents a more moody tone with its vulnerable lyrics and sparse, ethereal production.

While the blending of genres is interesting and keeps the listening experience from getting stale, some of these ideas could’ve been fleshed out a little more. ‘Yo Visto Así’ (I Dress Like This) features a more rock-heavy sound, but the end result just feels like Benito is biting off more than he can chew. The same can be said with ‘Trellas’, a psychedelic acid trip with overly-layered vocals that feels a bit underwhelming considering the ambitious alien sex concept.

It’s clear to see that his strengths lie in the more wavy, trap-style production and the thumping reggaeton beats that made him a household name, which is why songs like ‘Dakiti’, while a bit generic, still feel more authentic and effortless compared to his more experimental approaches.

Having said that, there are a few instances where the fusion of genres actually pays off, specifically on ‘La Droga’ (The Drug), which features an infectious hook, fuzzy background vocals, and a guitar solo at the end that works surprisingly well. The song ‘Sorry Papi’ (Sorry Daddy) is also a clear standout that dives into a more upbeat, synth-pop vibe with a memorable feature from Atlanta artist Abra. These songs manage to find a nice balance of Bad Bunny’s signature style as it blends with other genres beyond his usual sound.

If there’s a common theme throughout all of Bad Bunny’s albums, it’s the celebration of self, which seems to be his overall mantra in life. The rapper has been vocal about his advocacy for pressing social issues regarding oppressed groups — such as his support for the BLM movement, the LGBTQ+ community, as well as raising awareness of the gender-based violence in Puerto Rico. 

He’s also known for challenging the idea of gender norms within the hypermasculine culture the genre is known for, so it’s fitting that the penultimate song, ‘Antes Que Se Acabe’ (Before It Ends), features a more inclusive and hopeful message, with the production going for a warm and airy feel before the album closes out with a classic Puerto Rican Christmas song to welcome in the new year.

All in all, despite a few misses here and there, El Último Tour Del Mundo is a welcome addition to Bad Bunny’s already impressive discography. And with his innate ability to produce hit after hit — all while in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, no less — I’d say the rabbit has done more than enough to help us get through the year.

Words by Kai-Ming Chow


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