‘Con Altura’: Rosalía & J Balvin Take it High With a Reggaeton Party in the Sky
Well, just as I thought…excellence.
Granted, they’ve linked up once before on the more experimental electronic standout “Brillo” featured on Balvin’s Vibras. But this time around, they’re really letting loose with a nostalgia-meets-modern #SomethingMoreUrban good time.
Given the thematic heaviness, drama and heightened emotions of the bulk of Rosalía’s fantastic El mal querer, it’s refreshing to hear and watch the 25-year-old Spanish flamenco revivalist have some unadulterated fun and live it up alongside Daddy Balvin and her constant collaborator/co-producer El Guincho on “Con Altura,” Rosalía’s personal love letter to the genre. (And of course, Balvin’s always down to party.)
“’Con Altura’ is an homage to the more classic and original reggaeton: reggaeton playero. When I was younger I loved listening to reggaeton and it could have been natural for me to make a song like this before, but I don’t like to force anything. As a musician I let myself be guided by my intuition in every moment. It wasn’t until a few months ago in a studio in Miami where I started writing in this direction: I proposed to my cowriters that we work with a Dominican sample I found, then Frank Dukes added his own sample, and El Guincho added percussion, and the record was born, a Barcelonan-American-Latin pop vibe,” she explains of the song’s origins.
“Once the beat was built, I wrote the hook in less than five minutes, and when that happens it’s for a reason. I am very proud of this song and believe in it so much, because there is inspiration in a genre like reggaeton, but in a subjective and personal level, from a place of power and strength. I didn’t hesitate to show the song to my friend Jose (J Balvin) and he loved the track and sent over such a fresh and raw verse. I think all the pieces of this puzzle came together and are there for a purpose. I really hope that everyone who listens to it receives it with the same love with which it was made.”
Ever the artista, Rosalía manages to weave her brand of lyrical cleverness into an infectious, instantly appealing beat that clocks in just under the 3-minute mark. (Don’t worry about the length – you’ll have it on repeat, regardless.) And that hook? Good luck restraining yourself from adding “CON ALTURA” to the end of every phrase for the next few months.
The colorful music video set high in the sky is only further proof of just how full of pop promise Rosalía truly is, from the visual buffet of ’90s-meets-fashion-forward ensembles to the fierce footwork. That spanking move after her name drop towards the end? Oh, we stan. She’s only just begun (having her fun), if you will. And while I run the risk of making everything about Britney (and I do), I can’t help but love the fact that the video is vaguely giving me 1999 UHA Mikakuto Gummy Candy Japanese commercial vibes.
“Con Altura” will likely dominate through spring – if not even an early contender for Song of Summer ’19.
And if you’re new to all this, and would like to learn more about Rosalía, check out my chat with her for Paper.
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“Con Altura” was released on March 28. (iTunes)