Karol G’s New “Mañana Será Bonito (Bichota Season)” Is Drastically Different From the Original Album

Karol G’s New “Mañana Será Bonito (Bichota Season)” Is Drastically Different From the Original Album

There seems to be a subtle shift going on in reggaetón as of late. While 2022 and early 2023 saw the genre embrace a kind of eclectic, cross-genre experimentation (most visibly championed on Bad Bunny’s critically acclaimed album “Un Verano Sin Ti”), the tail end of this year has seen the pendulum shift toward simplicity and a focus that characterized reggaetón’s earlier years. Maybe it’s due to the rise of the alt-perreo genre and experimentally inclined artists like RaiNao and Pink Pablo. Or maybe the recent resurgence of old-school artists like Chencho, Maldy, Jowell & Randy, and Tego Calderón has added a healthy dose of nostalgia to the zeitgeist. But regardless of the specific catalyst, many of today’s most popular reggaetoneros are harkening back to the genre’s roots. With her latest album, “Mañana Será Bonita (Bichota Season),” Karol G trades in the upbeat pop-reggaetón sound that characterized the original “Mañana Será Bonita” for a harder-hitting approach that sees her leaning into her “bichota” persona.

The Colombian superstar makes it clear that this is a very different album right out of the gate. Whereas the original “Mañana Será Bonita” opened with an upbeat track that sampled the famous “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin, “Bichota Season” kicks things off with the snare-heavy, swaggy rap track “BichotaG.” The song sees Karol G eschew her normally airy vocals and up the bravado with a laidback flow that serves to better emphasize braggadocious lyrics like “cada canción que tiro es un éxito que rompe.” The Colombian artist is clearly feeling herself here. It’s refreshing to see that, despite her mainstream success, she can channel a more raw side that honors the genre’s hip-hop roots.

But what’s more refreshing is that Karol G seems to understand her image as a pop star. As an artist, she has always been more pop than street, more amor y desamor than perreo and tiroteo. But Karol G does two things to ensure that the street feel of the album doesn’t come across as too much of a shift. First, it’s a short album, clocking in at only 10 tracks. This keeps the project tight, focused, and danceable. But not every track is a banger. The one misstep comes early in the album with the cumbia-influenced “Mi Ex Tenía Razón.” Thematically, it feels like a holdover from the previous album and doesn’t fit the vibe the rest of the album serves up.

The second thing Karol G does right is bring in a who’s who of urbano talent to help with the heavy lifting. From Peso Pluma to Young Miko, “Bichota Season”‘s features provide the kind of strong lyrical content one expects from an urbano album without saddling Karol G with too much of the burden. For example, on “Gatita Gangster,” she channels her promiscuous side while Puerto Rican trapero Dei V delivers a verse filled with references to pills, punches, and Peter Parker (yes, that Peter Parker). On another track, the songstress grabs Chilean reggaetonero Cris MJ’s “Una Noche En Medellín” and invites fellow Colombian MC Ryan Castro along for the ride.

Songs like these exemplify the Colombian style of reggaetón, or un reggaetón “seco,” characterized by simple, melodic beats and lyrics that go hard but not too hard. That’s probably the best way to describe “Bichota Season.” With a shorter run time, it dives deeper into the perreo and trap aspects of the genre but not deep enough to really excel at that style. That isn’t to say that Karol G doesn’t shine at times. “Me Tengo Que Ir” is a trippy, downtempo duet with Kali Uchis that perfectly matches her airy falsetto with Uchi’s raspy, contralto. On “Dispo,” the singer links up with Young Miko and provides fans with a classic club banger that is sure to be on heavy rotation in both Colombia and PR. These two tracks stand out along with the intro as the most polished on the album and show just what Karol G can do when she allows herself to fully swim in the genre’s deep waters.

At the end of the day, “Bichota Season” reflects the recent shift in the genre while also serving to continue Karol G’s journey of healing that started on “Mañana Será Bonita.” If that album was a more vulnerable expression of a woman coming out of an emotionally tumultuous year, her latest effort reestablishes her as a confident, empowered hit-maker and makes a fitting, if not exceptional, bridge that will hold fans over until her next full-fledged project.

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