Album Review: boy pablo – Wachito Rico

By Maddie James, Contributor
[777 Music; 2020]
Rating: 7/10

Key tracks: “honey”,  “te vas // don’t go”,  “mustache”

Wachito Rico sounds like either incredibly well-produced brain candy or sexy elevator music. The newest release from boy pablo, Wachito Rico is the debut album of the indie-pop project headed by Chilean-Norwegian artist Nicolas Muñoz. The album has a lot to live up to, as Boy Pablo’s single “Everytime” gained national acclaim in Norway, but Boy Pablo are up to the task. Similar to Rex Orange County’s approach to cheerful music with heavy themes, Wachito Rico contains bright bedroom pop with glittery synthesizers. The combination makes for high-quality easy listening without coming off as insincere. 

Read more: Album Review: Teenage Halloween – Teenage Halloween

Wachito Rico follows the story of a relationship from beginning to end. Early in the album, songs such as “i hope she loves me back” and “hey girl” show the singer flirting and meeting someone for the first time. “honey” keeps with this theme, but chooses to look back on a past relationship as opposed to a current one. The lyrics don’t come off as shallow or overdone, but instead are fond and nostalgic. Though there are themes of winter, the laid back instrumentals and slow tempo create the mood of a summer romance. The synth elements are found throughout the rest of the album, but they are more subtle than in other songs, completing the gentle energy of the song.

Compared to the sweet nostalgia of “honey”, “te vas // don’t go” is almost depressing. It takes place during a rough spot in a relationship, focusing on acoustic guitar for a more serious tone. The song also includes short sections in Spanish, showing Muñoz’s Chilean heritage, a unique element that also shows up in songs such as “mustache” and title track “wachito rico”. Even with the serious themes at the album’s start, “te vas // don’t go” is the longest song on the album, leaving room for a Beatles-like piano interlude. After this, the song collects itself and resolves into a more synth-heavy theme. The more upbeat ending takes the edge off of the dejected lyrics and slow tempo, restoring some hope to the song’s bleak feel.

An outlier from the narrative-structured relationship theme, “mustache” is a lighthearted break from more emotional songs on Wachito Rico. The instrumentation sounds closer to distorted guitar than synth, and despite being one of the most energetic songs on the album, it fits in well. The interlude in Spanish near the end sounds weirdly similar to Robin Williams singing as the little mohawk-haired penguin in Happy Feet. With more upbeat energy, and plenty of goofy elements, it ensures the album isn’t taken too seriously.

Wachito Rico is a sweet album. The lyrics are either funny or sentimental, accompanied by cheerful, sparkly instrumentation to create a fun and lighthearted release despite some deeper themes. Though it’s hard to convey exactly what it is that draws you in, it’s easy to enjoy, and almost impossible to stop enjoying.

Listen here: 

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