In “Las Polillas,” the new single from (me llamo) Sebastián, we can hear the fruits of the Chilean singer-songwriter’s first collaboration with paisa producer Cristián Heyne. Someone familiar with the oeuvres of both can only wonder how Heyne, known for his polished production, would approach recording Sebastián Sotomayor’s wildly baroque piano pop. The answer is “very well.”
“Las Polillas” is a vulnerable ballad in which you can practically feel Heyne reining in his collaborator’s seemingly uncontainable creativity and focusing it in the direction of the sublime. Accompanied by piano, a steady drumbeat, a few backing vocals and strings, (me llamo) issues a fervent prayer for trust and understanding. The production is far from minimal, but it feels like the bare necessities, and the singer sounds as though he is standing alone and defenseless under a single spotlight. In the avant-garde musical that is (me llamo)’s career, this is the showstopper.
The video is a similarly interesting shift. Some might argue that (me llamo) Sebastián’s penchant for glitter and kooky pop culture references can divert attention from how much thought and feeling goes into everything he does. But the clip for “Las Polillas” is simple. Dressed in matching sweatshirts, Sotomayor and four other figures perform an interpretive dance. The slightly quirky costumes and choreography betray just a flicker of camp, which adds a healthy dose of pathos.
In a message to Remezcla, Sotomayor wrote that the choreography told the story of someone learning to be less fearful and embracing life. He added, “Also, I like that people can connect regardless of their ‘biological gender.’ That is why all the dancers have the same clothes, creating a metaphor of connecting beyond categories that are imposed to us.”