“I literally don’t take breaks,” ROSALÍA tells Apple Music. “I feel like, to work at a certain level, to get a certain result, you really need to sacrifice.” Judging by MOTOMAMI, her long-anticipated follow-up to 2018’s award-winning and critically acclaimed EL MAL QUERER, the mononymous Spanish singer clearly put in the work. “I almost feel like I disappear because I needed to,” she says of maintaining her process in the face of increased popularity and attention. “I needed to focus and put all my energy and get to the center to create.” At the same time, she found herself drawing energy from bustling locales like Los Angeles, Miami, and New York, all of which she credits with influencing the new album.
Beyond any particular source of inspiration that may have driven the creation of MOTOMAMI, ROSALÍA’s come-up has been nothing short of inspiring. Her transition from critically acclaimed flamenco upstart to internationally renowned star—marked by creative collaborations with global tastemakers like Bad Bunny, Billie Eilish, and Oneohtrix Point Never, to name a few—has prompted an artistic metamorphosis. Her ability to navigate and dominate such a wide array of musical styles only raised expectations for her third full-length, but she resisted the idea of rushing things. “I didn’t want to make an album just because now it’s time to make an album,” she says, citing that several months were spent on mixing and visuals alone. “I don’t work like that.”
Some three years after EL MAL QUERER, ROSALÍA’s return feels even more revolutionary than that radical breakout release. From the noisy-yet-referential leftfield reggaetón of “SAOKO” to the austere and Yeezus-reminiscent thump of “CHICKEN TERIYAKI,” MOTOMAMI makes the artist’s femme-forward modus operandi all the more clear. The point of view presented is sharp and political, but also permissive of playfulness and wit, a humanizing mix that makes the album her most personal yet. “I was like, I really want to find a way to allow my sense of humor to be present,” she says. “It’s almost like you try to do, like, a self-portrait of a moment of who you are, how you feel, the way you think."
Things get deeper and more unexpected with the devilish-yet-austere electronic punk funk of the title track and the feverish “BIZCOCHITO.” But there are even more twists and turns within, like “HENTAI,” a bilingual torch song that charms and enraptures before giving way to machine-gun percussion. Add to that “LA FAMA,” her mystifying team-up with The Weeknd that fuses tropical Latin rhythms with avant-garde minimalism, and you end up with one of the most unique artistic statements of the decade so far.