by Paul Attard Foreign Correspondent Music

J Balvin & Bad Bunny | Oasis

September 7, 2019

Puerto Rican singer-songwriter/trap star Bad Bunny characterized his recent collaborative effort with Columbian reggaeton idol J Balvin — rather dramatically — as “a transcendental and refreshing album; it is a rescue, a relief.” While Oasis isn’t the profoundly life-changing event that this lofty description might imply, it’s at least a good enough excuse for two of the biggest recording artists from Latin America to craft a vibrant selection of summertime hits that are practically destined to do well internationally. For both vocalists, the stakes couldn’t be lower: Bunny and Balvin have already established names for themselves in the States, both featuring on Cardi B’s megahit “I Like It,” and they’ve continued to expand their brand recognition abroad. (Bunny got a co-sign from Drake; Balvin received the less prestigious DJ Khaled endorsement.) Opener “Mojaita” sets the decidedly breezy tone, with Balvin’s vocals sauntering along with the track’s easygoing dembo rhythm, right before Bunny’s more expressive cry pierces through, bringing some intensely cringy one-liners (“That booty is a paradise like Bora Bora”). “Yo Le Llego” follows suit, this time with our South American lothario playing second-fiddle to Bunny’s rounded vocal harmonies and the theatrical whimpering that makes up the song’s backend.

Quality-wise, things take a noticeable dip around “Un Peso” — a surprisingly dull turn from the duo, and one that attempts to fuse indie rock instrumentation (an acoustic ukulele section…) with trap production (heavy bass and sharp high-hats). The track flounders until Argentinian rocker Marciano Cantero’s whiny, Julian Casablancas-esque vocals bring a high-pitched pathos to the proceedings. The only other featured guest here — Nigerian afrobeat influencer Mr. Eazi — is, unfortunately, less expertly utilized on closer “Como un Bebé,” largely serving as background while our two globetrotting scoundrels celebrate with a victory lap of self-congratulations. In many ways, Oasis as a whole can be seen as an extension of this conceited posturing — but that really isn’t that much of a problem when the end results are this lighthearted.

Published as part of Foreign Correspondent | Issue 5.