It’s been three years since J Balvin released his last album and, since then, a lot has happened in the world of Latin music. Reggaeton music and latin pop can now be heard on mainstream radio. The remix to his single “Mi Gente” with Willy William and Beyoncé reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the music video has over 1.8 billion views on Youtube. He’s also collaborated with Cardi B, Liam Payne, and Major Lazer. J Balvin has always attempted to reach an English-speaking audience without singing in English and his latest album Vibras has just enough sensuality, flair, and direction to make it universal.
“Every song is a different vibe,” says Balvin, carefully alluding to the title “Vibras” which translates into “Vibes.” It’s difficult to narrow down which songs are a must-listen because the album is consistent throughout. Each song is heavily rooted in reggaeton paired with experimental sounds and influences.
The album opens with “Vibras,” a dramatic and sensual intro sung by Mexican singer-songwriter Carla Morrison. The ending of “Vibras” leads straight into “Mi Gente.” “Mi Gente,” meaning “my people,” is an appropriate song to lead the album. The crossover hit we’ve all heard by now transcends genre, race, and culture.
“No es Justo” featuring Puerto Rican duo Zion & Lennox takes his usual romantic reggaeton sound to the next level and contains a dembow beat along with a twinge of guitar. Songs like “En Mí” and “Tu Verdad” have an afrobeat influence. “Brillo” is a sensual track with flamenco influences that feature Spanish singer Rosalía’s delicate and versatile vocals over a minimal background. “Machika” featuring Jeon and Anitta contains a powerful beat and somehow combines all of these different influences that make it one of the hottest jams for summer.
“Ambiente” and “Donde Estáras are more of his usual classic romantic reggaeton sound.
“Peligrosa” features Wisin & Yandel. The song’s effortless transition from singing to rapping is a signature move for these artists.
J Balvin has worked with his longtime producers Sky and Tainy and they seem to know exactly the type of music that can attract a global crowd. “Cuando Tú Quieras” and “Noches Pasadas” effortlessly showcase more of the experimental evolution of Balvin’s sound with high pitched beats, synth lines, and vocals all around.
This Latin pop star always had his sights on world domination with his music, and his latest album Vibras proves he’s not stopping anytime soon.
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