Untangle a Romance Gone Wrong in Girl Ultra’s ‘Rosas’

Lead Photo: Photo by Ricardo Martinez Roa
Photo by Ricardo Martinez Roa
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Released yesterday (March 30), “Rosas (Dímelo)” is Girl Ultra’s latest single and first reveal from her upcoming EP. It’s an affecting, heart wrenching ballad; something we’ve come to expect from Mexico City’s R&B star. But new experimentation has led to unexpected layers never before presented by Girl Ultra: Touches of trip-hop percussion intersect with the romantic guitar plucking of her country’s traditional boleros so, rather than being an emotional outpouring that serves as a mirror for listeners, “Rosas” feels more like a story–one we’re immediately pulled into, and that keeps its details secret.

For its video, director Cole Santiago–recent Bad Bunny x Rosalía collaborator–grains the film subtly for that nostalgic effect, the same one that’s currently ubiquitous on social media. But it doesn’t feel trite, because the surrealistic imagery captured is simply mesmerizing. A giant dog, maybe a Great Dane, gallops like a horse through an early frame; the setting is a rocky beach. Next, we’re in a palatial but unsettlingly empty house, a smattering of roses at the feet of Girl Ultra and another femme positioned across from her at a small, lightweight table that looks like it was meant for an outdoor terraza, not the shiny hardwoods of what is essentially a mansion. Both wear vinyl outfits more evocative of BDSM than the primness of the dream-like tea-time scenario they’re actually in.

Camera-facing stares from Girl Ultra, bleary eyed and her lipstick smeared, emphasize a bleak reality: the narrator is stuck at an emotional stalemate. Having cried a river into a cocktail, she ponders, “Tal vez cuando pasen más de diez años / Y no lo pienses demasiado / Te des cuenta quien estuvo a tu lado.”

There’s no shortage of loves lost and other emotional downturns in Girl Ultra’s repertoire. But “Rosas (Dímelo)” may be one of her most triste tracks to date—and every listen will be an attempt to decipher what we think happened between its main characters. The lack of conspicuous information coupled with Girl Ultra’s melodic, intense emoting allows room for the most tragic of possibilities.