“My favorite color is black,” José Álvaro Osorio Balvin, who is artistically known as J Balvin, tells Billboard. And, although the question was rather to know his favorite color on a personal level, as of today (Mar. 19), his fans will have more than one color to choose from after the release of his album Colores, a concept album in which each song is named after a different color selected in an unusual but effective way.
Each title is a unanimous decision of Balvin’s team and the color they liked the most on the day it was chosen. And, yes, even though negro or black is his favorite color, from Colores he chooses “Arcoiris” as the best representation because “it includes all colors,” he says.
Colores contains ten songs that will each get an accompanying music video directed by Colin Tilley (Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, DJ Khaled) and featuring psychedelic imagery from Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.
This time, J Balvin steps away from collaborations which are common nowadays in the urban genre. He only included two collaborations, with Sky and Mr. Eazi. “I wanted to break a little and show more who Balvin is,” he says. And, it really worked because Colores highlights Balvin’s growth as a unique artist who doesn’t need explicit words in his songs such as “Rojo,” or “Amarillo” which are story-telling songs in a genre that is full of harsh lyrics.
“This album was finally released because despite the circumstances (coronavirus pandemic) we stopped thinking about competing and selling. The idea is to bring light and happiness to people right now,” he concluded.
Now, get to know the Colores essential tracks chosen by Billboard Latin editors.
“Amarillo” which means yellow, opens the 10-track album inviting everyone to dance, to be happy. The purpose of Amarillo is to kick off the fiesta with a lyric that says “Después de las doce salimo’ a buscar el party, Ando con los tigres estamos en modo safari” (after midnight we go party, I’m with the tigers on safari mode). The upbeat song confirms Balvin’s unique sound which is based of a fusion between reggaeton with a touch of EDM (in a slight way) which naturally will make you dance even if you are sitting. — SUZETTE FERNANDEZ
Bringing it down a notch from the head-bopping “Blanco” and the reggaeton “Morado,” J Balvin’s “Gris” kicks off with acoustic guitar riffs before turning into a sensual urban track. In a way, Balvin takes it back to his roots, using a similar tempo and drum beats as heard in his 2013 “Yo Te Lo Dije.” With lyrics such as “The same story that doesn’t end / there’s always something to talk about,” the song is about a man who is often judged by his girlfriend but she’s just like him. In other words, things are not black or white in their relationship. They meet halfway, in the color grey. — JESSICA ROIZ
J Balvin stepped into the future, both musically and visually, with “Blanco,” the first single released back in November off of Colores. The dance-tinged, reggaeton song takes you on a wild trip thanks to catchy Spanglish hooks and hypnotic rhymes like “Fo’ real, Made in Medellin” and “yo te encendí como vela, y te apago cuando quiera (I lit you up like a candle, and I’ll turn you off whenever I want to)” that make the track fresh and stand out from the other more softer-leaning pop/reggaetón tunes on the album. “Blanco,” shows off Balvin’s diverse music catalogue and set the bar high for all the other songs that followed on the album. — GRISELDA FLORES
“Me decido por ti, te decides por mi…” (I’m ready for you, you are ready for me) sings the chorus of J Balvin’s “Rojo,” perhaps a correlation with being ready to attempt a modal shift in his music with a song laden with pop cadences. The third single off his forthcoming sixth studio album Colores out March 20, pushes reggaetón out if its colossal ground with a spirit that imbues colorful harmonies and flips the genre stereotype. Produced by Sky Rompiendo written alongside Taiko, O’Neill, Justin Quiles and of course, Balvin., the song, which challenges unconditional love is convoyed by a gory music clip which sees the Colombian haunting his family after dying in a serious car accident on route to the hospital for the birth of his daughter.. — PAMELA BUSTIOS
The mix of the reggaeton beat with electronic music gave a new twist to Balvin’s music, but in “Arcoiris” he evolved by incorporating the real sounds of drums which is rare for an urban artist. — SF
Stream Colores in full below.