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Album Review: Wachito Rico (October 23, 2020) – boy pablo

By Evan Cardinal, Albright '21

Nov 06, 2020

The Context – Bedroom pop—a DIY sub-genre of indie music that creates a woozy soundscape through an amalgamation of genres including but not limited to pop, hip-hop, electronic, and psychedelic—is perhaps the most prominent music typology indicative of the current music industry’s penchant for individual content creation, virality, and streaming capabilities. The likes of Mac DeMarco, Clairo, Rex Orange County, Steve Lacy, and Still Woozy have propelled the genre to mainstream alternative and pop music success since the mid-to-late 2010s.

Nicólas Muñoz, known by his moniker boy pablo, captures the independent bedroom pop ethos throughout his short discography. The Chilean-born, Norwegian-bred Muñoz became a pillar of the genre thanks to the YouTube algorithm precipitating upwards of 30 million views for the goofy music video to “Everytime”—which juxtaposes the track’s sophisticated sound of heartbreak. Boy pablo found continued success in his EPs Roy Pablo (2017) and Soy Pablo (2018) as well as singles like “50 Souls and a Discobowl” that brought his creative songwriting and composition skills to the forefront of bedroom pop.

The Content – boy pablo’s patented theme of unattainable love is felt in the spacey and melancholic opening to Wachito Rico in “i hope she loves me back.” The artist quickly juxtaposes the downtrodden emotions to feelings of upbeat and happy-go-lucky adoration in the infectiously catchy “hey girl.” “leave me alone!” compliments the danceability in the previous track with a fun-loving anti-social flair. From a production standpoint, “honey” may be the most impressive track on Wachito Rico as boy pablo spins a smooth hip-hop and R&B beat that transitions well into a sultry pop refrain.

Packed with distorted vocals and wailing guitars, Muñoz returns to his quintessential bedroom pop sound on “rest up.” The Chilean-Norwegian yet again shows more versatility with the beautifully melodic and slow-budding “te vas // don’t go.” The instrumental interlude “aleluya” envisions a sonic landscape indicative of a folk hero reveling in his accomplishments. The longing for love and connection reappears on the positively-oriented “come home” while the track “mustache” maintains boy pablo’s oft whimsical side where the singer-songwriter reflects on another important matter of a love-stricken teenage boy—facial hair.

The bossa nova-esque interlude “vamos a la playa” transitions swimmingly into the eponymous “wachito rico”—an English/Spanish dance pop bop. The more muted aftermath of the hunky-dory party song is heard in the final two intimate selections from Muñoz. The uplifting acoustic track “nowadays” gives listeners a rare glimpse into his raw vocal ability while Muñoz significantly scales back the production in the whispery “i<3 you” closer.

The Skinny – Wachito Rico may be boy pablo’s first LP, yet the record is far from elementary. Muñoz expertly blends quintessential bedroom pop arrangements with truly novel songwriting and production that differentiates himself from the rest of the sub-genre’s pack. Paradoxically, he simultaneously delivers boyish simplicity and distinguished sophistication throughout Wachito Rico. After the brilliant display of artistry and craftsmanship on Wachito Rico, boy pablo’s evolution as an artist certainly will be one to monitor as he progresses in his musical career.

The Rating – 8.6/10

Wachito Rico

  1. i hope she loves me back
  2. hey girl
  3. leave me alone!
  4. honey
  5. rest up
  6. te vas // don’t go
  7. aleluya
  8. come home
  9. mustache
  10. vamos a la playa
  11. wachito rico
  12. nowadays
  13. i <3 u

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