Skip to main content
Loading...

Arcángel - Ares Music Album Reviews

The reggaeton stalwart and Latin trap pioneer embraces contemporary pop and hip-hop sounds on an uneven album that is at its most interesting when it verges into soul, salsa, and other novel styles.

Of all the artists making trap en español today, Arcángel is arguably the best suited to trace its evolution. 2007’s “El Pistolón,” a product of his partnership with De La Ghetto that features the reggaeton duo Yaga y Mackie, is widely considered to be the first Latin trap track. He’s also got a verse on “La Ocasión,” from 2016, the instant-classic posse cut with Ozuna, Anuel AA, and De La Ghetto that took the sound worldwide. In between, he cut a bunch of reggaeton records, making a name for himself in Puerto Rico, the island that birthed the genre.

Trap en español may be rooted in mimicry, borrowing from the 21st century’s most commercially viable form of urban music, but in its early days as a movement in New York City clubs—which predate “La Ocasión”—that mimicry was merely a key to pass through the gates into the highest echelon of pop. The first DJs and producers knew their crowds loved rap and trap, even if they didn’t understand any of the lyrics, so early remixes brought Latin audiences into the sounds of the moment. Up-and-coming artists shifted their aesthetics to ride the wave, but the ones who stood out always brought their own flavor—the Dominicans in New York, with their ever-shifting Spanglish slang that defies reproduction; the Puerto Rican romanticos on the island, teaching Drake what it really means to be a sensitive thug.

Arcángel is no different. While his early career is rooted firmly in reggaeton, it was his collaborative Latin trap bangers that raised his profile and kept him at the crest of the wave. Now that he’s got your attention, he’s ready for you to hear exactly the music he’s always wanted to make. With his latest LP, Ares, he mostly abandons reggaeton and the dembow riddim in favor of sludgy trap beats and contemporary pop. He was truthful when he told Apple Music, “If you listen to the lyrics on this album, it’s totally different… I’m saying stuff that I’ve never said before.” It’s just that this development isn’t as positive as he may believe.

Ares has its share of cringey moments: “Los 3,” with its incantation, “I know you wanna suck this dick,” might sound bad until you try to parse the inexplicable juxtaposition on “En Su Boca” (In Your Mouth). On the latter track, Arcángel brags about the money he spent on his daughter’s birthday in the same breath that he tells anyone who steps to him to—once again—suck his dick: “Gasté doce en mi sortija (bling, bling)/Y veinticuatro en el cumple 'e mi hija (oh, yeah)/To' el que me tire me chupa la pija ('pérate).”

They’re not the only inclusions that feel superfluous. At 18 tracks and 64 minutes, Ares is a bit bloated, and would have likely benefited from more judicious sequencing. Much of the production is rooted in the standard trap palate of rolling bass, tinny 808 hi-hats, and Auto-Tuned croon; this is a departure from Arcángel’s previous, reggaeton-centric albums, sure, but a muscle already well toned through countless singles and guest features. Yet Ares is most interesting when it steps outside the trap—even when it ultimately misses the mark.

Arcángel has always excelled at adapting his style to fit his collaborators, and on Ares they’re few in number but carefully selected. Bad Bunny (“Original”) and J Balvin (“Corte, Porte, y Elegancia”) are two of the biggest names in Latin pop’s mainstream; Canadian rap&B artist Tory Lanez (“Victoria”), who has embraced urbano artists, has a forthcoming Spanish-language LP with features from the likes of Ozuna. “Original” is a highlight, all pulsing bass, snare claps, and Bad Bunny’s sexy soul-robot vocals—to the extent that the track feels like it should be credited to Bad Bunny featuring Arcángel. This ability to shift styles is Arcángel’s strength, and has made for some memorable posse cuts in recent years.

“Corte, Porte, y Elegancia,” unfortunately, is not one of them. It finds Arcángel attempting a mind meld with Colombian chameleon J Balvin, the reggaetonero turned full-on pop star who flexed his range on his latest LP, Vibras. It’s a difficult feat to pull off, especially amid a tracklist jam-packed with slow-burn trap; when the bouncy disco-funk guitar slides in on “Corte,” the album’s sixth track, the hard left turn is disorienting.

But this experimentation does bear some fruit. The record’s strongest track is “Un Vacilon (Young Maleo),” a tribute to Puerto Rican salsa legend Ismael Rivera, a.k.a. “Maleo.” It samples arguably his most iconic composition, “El Nazareno,” an ode to black Jesus that tells the tale of a man who has a vision of Christ while getting down at a party. The sample is transcendent, and it gets to the heart of why dance music like reggaeton can feel so powerful. When you can bridge the gap between the ancestors and their descendants, you can find God, even in the club.

At its best, Ares achieves this magnificence; at its worst, the album is undeniably cringe-worthy. But it’s the closest we’ve come so far to hearing what Arcángel really sounds like—and when he pushes the envelope, the results are anything but boring.

View the original article here

Comments

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Loading...

Popular posts from this blog

2019 BMW i8 Review

The 2019 BMW i8 is a head-turner for its looks, which hides its plug-in powertrain. That’s good or bad, depending on your priorities.Even among six-figure cars with two doors, the 2019 BMW i8 steals stares. That could be because of the dramatic wing doors and futuristic shape, its laser headlights at night, or the 2019 i8’s silent propulsion for up to 18 miles.
Or it may steal attention because, even after more than four years on sale, it’s a very rare sight.

LG G5 Review In-Depth

Can LG take on the Galaxy S7 with a metal design, dual-cameras and an accessory slot? Here's our first LG G5 review, focusing on LG G5 design and build, LG G5 specs, LG G5 cameras and LG G5 software and apps.
Alongside the Galaxy S7, the LG G5 is one of the biggest phones (not literally) to launch in 2016 – and we're not just talking in the Android world. It's one of the heavyweights and LG will be looking to set the market alight with the G5's alternative and innovative modular design.

Apple iPhone XR Review

If you aren't sure you are ready to leave the Home button behind and embrace Face ID, think again. We'll tell you why the iPhone XR is worth the sacrifice - especially because it's just as good (if not better than) the iPhone XS. Find out more in out full review.
Should I Buy The Apple iPhone XR?
The iPhone XR brings Face ID to the masses. We’re sure people will continue to rebel against the lack of Home button, but eventually we expect them to come round and embrace the larger screen, Portrait mode (front and back), animoji and memoji.We have no doubt that this will be a popular iPhone and it deserves to be. The only question is why would anyone buy an iPhone XS when the iPhone XR is just as powerful and has a bigger screen.

Google Pixel Review

Not everyone wants a phone with a big screen, but most small-screen phones compromise on performance and cameras. Not so with Google’s latest flagship Android phone: Here’s our Google Pixel review.
Joining the ranks of the Pixel C and Chromebook Pixel are Google’s new Pixel phones. We’re reviewing the smaller 5in Pixel here, but you can read our separate Pixel XL review if you’re after a bigger phone.

BlackBerry KEYone Review

BlackBerry soliders on with a curious Android device that gets nearly everything right. It’s not for everyone though, in fact, it’s not really for anyone. But if you want a physical keyboard you will absolutely love it.
Should I Buy The BlackBerry KEYone?
But then, the KEYone is the best BlackBerry phone for years. It has (finally) successfully melded classic BlackBerry design with the necessary mix of Android and nostalgia. Importantly, the latter is only faint this time – this is a device for 2017, not 2007.If you love your iPhone or Samsung, you’ll hate the KEYone and won’t even consider buying it. But if you’ve made it to the end of this review, chances are you’re weighing up a buy. If you think you’ll love the BlackBerry KEYone, then I’m pretty certain you won’t be disappointed. You’re part of a minority, but finally BlackBerry has a phone for you that doesn’t force you to compromise.

Like Fan Page