María y José Drops “Bruja,” an End-of-Year Jam for All His Homies Past and Present

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María y José just couldn’t let us finish the year without having the last word. Attaboy!

On “Bruja,” his newest single and a major departure from his poppy summer EP Boy De La Costa, we find him looking back to the early Tony Gallardo II days. A synth-heavy melody references tracks like “Tormento” and “Lider Juvenil,” and the general dark moodiness that permeated his early releases. He’s giving us a customized #TBT (Throwback Tony) and manages to avoid sounding stunted or repetitive.

María y José’s production skills have come a long way, and they’re beautifully displayed on “Bruja.” The track opens with a distorted clip of a child talking and half-singing about a witch, and leads into the dark drum loops we’ve come to expect from the Tijuana native. The melody and chorus are solid, but it’s the song’s final break of glitchy tropical whistles that elevate the track to a bright new level.

Much of this track lends insight into María y José and Tony Gallardo II’s psyche. The most telling lyric comes right at the beginning of the song: “ay, me quiero morir, por que tu no me diste cariño.” The line could be taken as just another lyric about love lost, but it could also be an interpretation of his own career as a permanently emerging artist. Both darkness and light are presented and furiously contrasted on the song, which ultimately remains his signature sound. When he launched the song via social media, he dedicated it to all the people who have helped him move forward in his career and life, and yet are no longer present.

“Bruja” is the first single off María y José’s forthcoming album Eternity, so not only is Tony ending our year with funky introspection, but he is already forecasting his inevitable 2016 takeover.