“What we’d do was we’d play the song and close our eyes, and each one of us would name the color that the song made us feel,” Colombian superstar J Balvin tells about how he assembled his sixth solo album, whittling it down from roughly 40 potential tracks. “The color that prevailed, that was the song’s name.” Indeed, when the deliberately austere single “Blanco” first dropped last year, few could’ve anticipated it would mark the beginning of a veritable rainbow’s worth of new thematic fare, even after he named his 2019 tour Arcoiris-literally “rainbow” in Spanish.
“This is practically an album of all J Balvin; it’s not a collaboration album,” he says. Where his prior projects found him paired up with everyone from Daddy Yankee and Farruko to Pharrell to ROSALÍA, this follow-up to the beloved 2019 Bad Bunny duets set OASIS finds him looking inward more than reaching out. At a time when so many eyes globally are fixed upon him, thanks in no small part to successful musical partnerships with artists outside of the Latin music world like the Black Eyed Peas and DJ Snake, Colores finds him shutting out the world while engaged in a grand creative exercise with a tight circle of producers, including his longtime studio familiar Sky Rompiendo.
The neo-psychedelic floral stylings of modern pop art mastermind Takashi Murakami complement these ten vibrant dembow variations, assigning moods to an array of sonic hues. Furthering that message, each song has a dedicated music video directed by Colin Tilley that showcases experimental fantasias built from each part of the album’s palette. For those who’ve come to see Balvin as the face and the voice of contemporary reggaetón, Colores proves that, in the right hands, the genre has limitless artistic potential.