Rosalía amassed worldwide curiosity and respect in the industry with her excellent uni project turned debut album, El Mal Querer. The Sant Esteve Sesrovires-born artist has garnered attention from a broader array of listeners and critics since then by delving into fertile soil with urbano, wisely tapping the likes of J Balvin and Ozuna to usher her in. Slowly but surely, we witnessed her catapult into unknown terrain in the Latin music industry, which adopted her as their own. Yet, a big part of the Latinx audience who welcomed her in a year ago has hesitantly watched along since, as conversations of appropriation brand her a problematic fav. The first 30 seconds of “A Palé” are a reminder that the qualities that made her a standout in the first place are still alive, well and – hopefully – ultimately at the core of her artistic persona.
Similarly to with “Aute Cuture,” the 26-year-old brings back the flamenco contemporary blend here with an added hip-hop flare. The title is a literal reference to the wooden shipping pallets the artist grew up around, and hints at our intrinsic ability to carry what life hands us. In her case, stardom. “From the day I was born,” she sings “I carry the star I hold/I know I owe it to no one/It only protects me.”
Visually, she continues to incorporate fluid movements birthed from a unique blend of the contemporary and classic – the doing of Compton choreographer Charm La’Donna. Prominently on display throughout the video are also Rosalía’s gold grills and painted-on unibrow. It tries hard to be weird. But, more than anything, it makes it clear that the pop artist has been spending time with Venezuelean mastermind and todóloga Arca.
Sonically, it borrows from yet another Black genre with the assist of Canadian producer Frank Dukes, known for his work with Drake, Travis Scott and Future just to name a few.
All in all, La Rosalía feels like an artist who is finding her footing, when really she found it years ago unfettered from the distractions of fame. Here’s to hoping she veers more sharply into the pioneering strain of experimental, makes full use of her vocal range, and trusts that what turned her into a star is more than enough to keep her afloat. “A Palé” isn’t a palo, but not every single needs to be.
Watch “A Palé” here: