Boy Pablo Longs for Love on New Upbeat Album Release: 'Wachito Rico'
“Please I’m scared as hell. I’ve never been in love before, I don’t know what to do.”
*As a lover and appreciator of Boy Pablo, since the release of his first Ep “Roy Pablo” in 2017, it goes without saying that this “review” of the latest body of work will no doubt be a little biased. (Sorry, Robert Christgau.)
"Wachito Rico" is the first long-play album by Chilean–Norwegian singer-songwriter Nicolas Muñoz’s music collective. Boy Pablo, which Wikipedia labels as a musical group, is spawned from the aforementioned frontman who often writes about longing for love and the trials and tribulations of relationships. His passionate lyrics are sandwiched between piercing guitar solos on his Fender ‘caster of the week and wicked 80s synths.
On the opening tracks 'i hope she loves me back' and 'hey girl' you can hear our Boy introducing you to his usual pack of suspects: the surfy guitar melodies (used by the likes of Mac Demarco and King Krule), intellectually potent lyrics, descending synths, and Muñoz’s smooth crooner voice. The perfect combination for any blooming sad boy in 2020.
Moving down the roster comes to the longest and possibly most outward-facing ballad on the album, 'te vas / don’t go'. The slow plucking of his acoustic guitar and layered vocals mimic powerhouses like Seu Jorge, while the bleeding heart lyrics are Boy Pablo’s tried and true. As he calls for his love, begging them “don’t leave” over and over the concerto takes over and spins you into a celestial sphere of head-boppingly good, staccato piano chords that slides you though the rest of the song, ending in a cacophony of sound.
My favorite track on the album is the title song 'wachito rico', a half-English, half-Spanish power-pop ballad with his signature “why can't I stop moving my body to these stellar beats” style. You don’t need to learn Spanish to understand that all Boy Pablo has ever wanted you to do is dance with him, baby. And this Studio 54-inspired track is a testament to that. With the auxiliary percussion section popping off in the background, with the ongoing triangle solo and the combination of live and 808 drum kits, the song is pure unadulterated fun.
The final track 'i <3 u' is a somber closing to an otherwise perky album. Nonetheless, it’s a stunning song about simply loving someone. “You were the only one who saw me cry when I was all alone. The finest words you said carefully whispered to me in the dark”
What more could possibly be said? Just a song just about being hopelessly in love with someone. (Can’t relate.)
The album as a whole is dancey and sincere. During a year where everything feels hollow and hopeless, Boy Pablo delivers a fully realized album that could make even the most cynical of us tap their foot in sanguine solidarity.
As a fan of their music since conception, watching every music video (and fake music video courtesy of the YT channel 'i’m cyborg'), following their recording label religiously to get updates on this album, and even going as far as to stalk the touring guitarists tiktok, it feels so special to be able to take a deeper look into their music.
They, to me at least, represent something that the current music industry is lacking, yet the entire youth population is grasping for; heart-on-your-sleeve, questioningly bitter thoughts, shrouded by a deceptively optimistic facade.
All in all, "Wachito Rico" is the heel-turn pivot we all needed. It’s a blissfully honest, insatiably fun record that will get you off your couch and shamelessly shaking that ass all night. Put it on while you work, or while you cry in the corner. Listen to it while you cook, or when you take an hour-long depression shower. Either way, “Wachito Rico” doesn't care, because regardless of your state of mind you WILL be struck by its funky basslines and get you dancing. And though on the surface some may say just it’s a great indie-pop record, it leaves something more to be said about the atmosphere it was released into; if we’re gonna be sad, we might as well be sad with style.
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