The great protagonist of 2020 on the pop planet was the pandemic, but if an artist could compete with the coronavirus, it was Benito Martinez Ocasio, better known as Bad Bunny. The young star, born in San Juan de Puerto Rico in 1994, published three LPs, provoked harsh controversies for the awards he received and he remained at the top, despite the blackout of the concert circuit, which this year had to consecrate him as a money maker.
As if that were not enough, he became the most listened to artist on the planet, the first to achieve it by singing in Spanish. We talk about more than eight billion views only on Spotify, almost half of them from their latest album, YHLQMDLG, acronym for I do what I want. Whether you like his songs more or less, it must be celebrated as a resounding triumph of Spanish culture (although our journalists in the field have always treated him badly, considering him a by-product reggaeton, easy pachanga).
It is sad to read texts like the covers that were dedicated to him Rolling Stone and the cultural supplement of New York Times and to verify that he is analyzed with more respect in the United States than in Spain, despite singing in our language. One of the most amazing things about the Bad Bunny phenomenon is that it barely reaches people over forty, but it is very dominant in the youth sectors From the market. He is a more generational artist -in the style The Chemical Brothers– that universal – let’s put Michael Jackson-. Pleasing the elderly seems the only pending challenge, which is already approaching with a pop twist and aesthetic militancy in the addictive eighties.
Promiscuous and dissatisfied
Are criticisms of Bad Bunny’s music legitimate? Undoubtedly, although they are rarely presented in an articulate way, it is rather a disparagement of his status as a young artist oriented to the dance floor. An enlightened detractor could argue that Benito he has not invented anything, that his ‘flow’ does not sound particularly intense and that his rhymes do not hold up on paper (although pop is in no way obliged to complete this test). It could also be said that their albums are tremendously irregular, a question that I share, although it is not usually pointed out because their opponents do not pay enough attention to them to certify this. In any case, this presumed musical weakness only makes his global success more interesting: what is it then that so hooks the young people of this former supermarket retailer turned God of pop?
Bad Bunny treasures the key merit in any great of pop, which is to melt joy and sadness in his songs
The vision of Elizabeth Duval, twenty-year-old Spanish essayist: “Bad Bunny is not only the rhapsodist of unbridled sex or limitless enjoyment: he is also, and has been showing more and more, the ambivalent voice of the dissatisfactions produced by the ways in which we we relate. Sociologist Eva Illouz tells us that we inhabit a relational world in which the spheres of the sexual and the romantic have been separatedI also divide into the affective and the relational: one thing is the enjoyment of the body and another is the satisfaction we have with our lives. And that dissatisfaction is something that Bad Bunny constantly reflects in his lyrics “, he argues.
Translated for allergic to academic language: Bad Bunny treasures one of the key merits of any pop artist, which is to melt in his songs the joy and sadness, ecstasy and frustration of life, as all the greats have done, including The Beatles, Nirvana and Juan Gabriel. As soon as his first album was released this year, I wrote an article forVozpópuli defending that Bad Bunny is the current equivalent of Bob Dylan. He received ridicule and criticism in Spain, but just as Dylan sang to his elders “Times are changing”, Benito exhibits lyrics that mark a border with much of Generation X and the ‘boomers’. Whether or not you agree with the comparison, the high political voltage of the ‘bad bunny’ is undeniable, increasingly active in the defense of trans rights, as well as a promoter of popular protests in the summer of 2019, which forced to resign (against all odds) the corrupt governor Ricardo Rosselló.
Another firm that has understood the artist’s profile is the journalist Carlos Manuel Alvarez, director of the Cuban digital magazine The sneeze. “Bad Bunny exercises his leadership without pontificating. He assumes it, feeds it, seems to find there the counterweight to the solipsistic fatigue of fame, but with a cunning gesture, as if he did not want to, fiddling with the forms “, he highlights. We are facing an activism allergic to ‘popes’ and pamphlets, more liquid than the old militancy if you will, but with great force among the Latino youth. “It is not about someone who used his virtue to escape from the supermarket in which he worked as a packer, but rather someone who made a virtue of the supermarket packer’s own knowledge, hence the confusion it causes”, Álvarez concludes in bright text, where he relates the star to aspects of Lorca, The Matrix and Maria Zambrano (unnecessary educated references to enjoy it, but that can help to understand it in its entirety).
It has become a global cultural reference, preparing a film with Brad Pitt, causing storms in networks when Luna Miguel describes him as ‘literature’ and is scrutinized by stylists from all over the planet
Curling the curl, Bad Bunny achieved something almost impossible: scandalize with a lewd phrase of his collaboration with Anuel AA, quite a feat fifteen years after the explosion of the perreo. We refer to this rhyme: “It’s my Lady Gaga, I his Bradley Cooper/ she swallows it and spits it out “, which he recites in” Until God says “to shock of some puritans and puritans. Part of the misunderstanding of our country’s cultural criticism towards Bad Bunny has to do with the unfortunate reception that reggaeton was made in the first half of the 2000s. That musical bomb was dispatched with the same absurd arguments that they used Sinatra and the most reactionary layers in America to reject rock and roll in the 1950s. Especially serious is the mental pie of those who do not realize how important pop phenomena of this caliber are for the dissemination of the Spanish language.
Another of Bad Bunny’s achievements is his tremendous aesthetic sense. Reggaeton was always ignored by fashion, marketing and advertising companies, who (correctly) identified it with the lower purchasing power layers (with some late exception, such as a [/embed]ad from the haute couture brand Lanvin in 2001, where it closed at the rate of Pitull). Bad Bunny has managed to seduce the world of the image, but -and here is the merit- cultivating a shabby glamor-charming and a ‘do it yourself’ ethic reminiscent of Kurt Cobain (Another icon of the allergic style to mix with the pijerío). His warm and endearing music videos, his New York bus concert during the pandemic and the cameos of classics like Snoop Dogg show that Benito is a genius in slippers at home when it comes to projecting his image.
It has already become a prime cultural reference, preparing a film with Brad Pitt (Bullet Train), causes storms in networks when the writer Luna Miguel It gives it the status of literature and is scrutinized by stylists from around the globe on every wardrobe decision. You can’t be more ‘hot’ in less time. Damon Albarn, singer of Blur and Gorillaz, made a statement in October that said: “I spoke to Bad Bunny a while ago or to someone who looked a lot like him. I would like to collaborate, it would be great ”. That’s the peak of fame coolWhen even the stars who are not sure who you are want to work with you (or if they have really talked to you). Now the question is whether in 2021 he will be able to carry out the extensive tour announced for 2020, which his fans are looking forward to so much.