After shattering streaming records with YHLQMDLG and its subsequent collection of B-sides earlier this year, Puerto Rican Latin trap superstar Bad Bunny evidently saw fit to drop a third collection of songs in 2020. Described by Bad Bunny as a more “sentimental,” “introspective” and “chill” album in comparison to his usual hard-hitting style, the album ultimately doesn’t measure up to his excellent last project but certainly gives us more of that endlessly experimental spirit that we’ve come to expect from the disruptive artist. A concept album of sorts, El Ultimo Tour Del Mundo was actually teased at the end of Bad Bunny’s last project as a retirement album – thankfully, he just meant that in the sense that the album would see him imagining a final concert tour brought about by the apocalyptic world of the year 2032. While Bad Bunny is definitely a bit more of a Sad Bunny on this project, we also get quite a few electrifying forays into a harder rock sound that he has flirted with in the past. While there’s a little more filler than usual, this is still an artist at the top of his game doing what he does best.
Opening track “EL MUNDO ES MIO” doesn’t land with the same punch as Bad Bunny’s usual incendiary album kickoffs and actually represents one of the weakest tracks here. Tapping into a Travis Scott-style psychedelic trap vibe in order to capture the bleak, apocalyptic feeling the album is meant to capture, Bad Bunny’s percussive vocal style is simply a mismatch with an instrumental this chilled-out. When he slows things down and gets a little emotional later on in the album, that’s a different story entirely. Things start looking up from there with the reggaeton-tinged track “TE MUDASTE,” where he displays his hitmaking ways with an absolutely arena-sized and fun-loving chorus where Bad Bunny sounds like he’s having the time of his life reminiscing on past romances. The track is criminally short and deserved a couple more verses, but it quickly ushers listeners back into Bad Bunny’s world in time for the grimy trap banger that is “HOY COBRE.” Dropping his voice down a full octave into a menacing register that seems to be playing on the many successes of a rapper like Pop Smoke this year, Bad Bunny sets to work flexing his many achievements over a chilling descending synth pattern and rattling hi-hats. Interspersing his melodies with some half-rapped passages that really bring out some surprising grit and larger-than-life confidence, this is the sound of Bad Bunny realizing he is all-powerful and turning to the dark side. The track “MALDITA POBREZA” is the start of Bad Bunny bringing some heavier sounds into the album, brilliantly combining the driving rock guitars of the chorus with the trap hi-hats in the verses as he reaches up in his range to really sound like a convincing rock frontman. A quick translation of the lyrics reveals a compelling story the likes of which we haven’t really seen from him before as well, as he puts himself in the shoes of a poor person who imagines dying in a criminal act that successfully gets money for his family – complete with gunshots laced into the track.
Bad Bunny has tried his hand at incorporating elements of rock music into his work in the past, and they’ve often been the shakiest part of his albums. Thankfully, he’s finally figured it all out here and they represent some of the album’s highlights as he backs up his endless flexing with some heavier sounds. The track “YO VISTO ASI” sees Bad Bunny shrugging off the negative comments he receives for dressing in a more androgynous style with an appropriately rebellious backing track featuring some deafening crashing cymbals and backing vocals amplified to a strained yell, Bad Bunny building up his fashion choices as an artist’s work. “LA DROGA” is another one with that punk energy, but it’s likely the weakest of the songs in the style on the album – Bad Bunny still attacks the instrumental with a fire in his voice, but there’s not really a central ear-grabbing hook to be found. “BOOKER T” is the closest thing we get to a straight-up Bad Bunny rap track here and once again sees him taking a victory lap and proclaiming himself a king at his peak with some hilariously outlandish lines about his many successes and even a high-pitched schoolyard chant as if he were a bully shoving his domination in the faces of his peers. It’s the strength of the personality we love that can power through even a language barrier. The track “ANTES QUE SE ACABE” is another big stylistic leap that Bad Bunny pulls off well, sounding almost like a modern revival of the EDM-pop boom of the early decade. Singing in a reflective and calm manner about living it up before he’s gone, the beat drops and provides a dance break to match that energy.
The track “TE DESEO LO MEJOR” sees Bad Bunny putting his own Latin spin on the very popular emo-trap sound, finally applying some of the more depressing narratives about the end of a relationship he addressed on his previous album to some sonically appropriate templates, somber acoustics echoing around the track. Sounding believably distraught and remorseful about how his own actions derailed things and wishing her the best, the track and the similar ones in the style on this project are a little more out of Bad Bunny’s wheelhouse and don’t come across as memorable, but are admirable stylistic diversions to add on to the massive year he’s had. “HACIENDO QUE ME AMAS” sees him touching on some similar sounds and topics. The track “TRELLAS” is a full-on acoustic ballad that might have come across much better if Bad Bunny’s vocals weren’t so drenched in reverb, drowning out any real emotion that the cosmic love song could have come accompanied with. The track “120” as the album nears its close feels like a bit of a repetition of earlier ideas as well, added to fill out the tracklisting with another high-octane Latin trap number. It’s impressive enough that Bad Bunny has released as much music as he did this year and most of it was spectacular.
The album comes with a couple great and unexpected features as well, the best of which being Rosalia who appears on the track “LA NOCHE DE ANOCHE.” Knowing that the two most innovative Latin stars would be teaming up shot my expectations sky high, and the duo still managed to meet them. Rosalia’s angelic vocals are always a massive complement to any track, and Bad Bunny brings out one of his most passionate and refined singing performances to keep pace with her on the romantic duet. The two sing about an unexpected and mystical night of passion that slipped away just as quickly, the reggaeton beat and wistful chords behind them painting the picture as they harmonize beautifully. “SORRY PAPI” sees Bad Bunny recruit PC Music affiliated pop and R&B singer ABRA for a bright pop banger that once again sees Bad Bunny praising independent women – Bad Bunny is the only artist that can make repeatedly getting rejected on his own tracks sound cool. On the other hand, I’m still truly confused by the massive success behind lead single “DAKITI,” featuring one of Bad Bunny’s more sluggish vocal performances, a strange lack of percussion and an even bigger non-starter of a verse from featured artist Jhay Cortez. Bad Bunny has so many better singles that could have been this much of a breakout hit. In a move that could only come from an artist this eccentric, Bad Bunny simply elects to close his album with a recording of a Christmas song sung by a traditional Latin folk trio hailing from his hometown. Not only that, it’s a fantastic tune. Bad Bunny’s last album title translated to “I do whatever I want,” and that’s what we love about him.
Bad Bunny is one of the world’s most boundary-pushing and progressive artists, and hearing this much music from him to get us through 2020 was a blessing. One can only hope he takes a bit of a break now and returns with another masterpiece, but I’m always open to the shot of energy his voice can provide.
Favourite Tracks: LA NOCHE DE ANOCHE, MALDITA POBREZA, HOY COBRE, BOOKER T, YO VISTO ASI
Least Favourite Track: EL MUNDO ES MIO