As Summer comes to a close, Bad Bunny’s fourth solo album “Un Verano Sin Ti” (A Summer Without You) continues to grow in popularity on both the English and Latin Billboard charts. The album debuted on May 6, 2022, and accumulated a whopping 356 million official streams in the United States within a week of its release, a record unmatched by any album since Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” racked up 744 million streams in 2021 and an all-time record for a Latin album. “Un Verano Sin Ti” follows Bad Bunny’s previous worldwide hit album “YHLQMDLG” (an acronym in Spanish for “I Do Whatever I Want”), which won the Grammy’s Best Latin Pop or Urban Album of 2021.
Although pool parties, barbecues, and beach days may be at an end, Bad Bunny’s Caribbean musical styles continue to provide summer thrills for all listeners. The album is divided into two sides. Side A is full of high energy, upbeat songs, while side B embraces sentimental emotions. According to Bad Bunny, “The album starts with a lot of energy, a lot of perreo, mambo, dembow, and suddenly there’s a bossa nova. It’s like when you go out to a party, you’re excited but then you get drunk and sentimental.”
Although “Un Verano Sin Ti”embraces the vibe of a summer filled with parties and fun, the album also features Bad Bunny’s appreciation for Latinx culture through the sounds of Dominican and Puerto Rican genres. Songs like “Títí Me Preguntó” (Auntie Asked Me) and “Después de la Playa” (After the Beach) pay homage to the Dominican Republic by incorporating bachata and merengue sounds. Moreover, the music video for “Títí Me Preguntó” (Auntie Asked Me) was filmed in the Bronx, a second home for many Dominican immigrants. The video highlights a cultural diaspora through the scenes of bodegas, barbershops, and various Latin American flags, waving all through the Bronx’s neighborhoods.
Similarly, “El Apagón” (The Blackout) is a song dedicated to Bad Bunny’s homeland of Puerto Rico, featuring lyrics that highlight the rich history of the island’s beauty and love of reggaeton: “El sol es taíno, ey, La capital del perreo, ahora todos quieren ser latino’, no, ey Pero les falta sazón, batería y reggaetón ey, ey” (The sun is taino, ey, the capital of reggaeton, now everyone wants to be latino’, no, ey, but they lack the sauce and drums and reggaeton ey ey). Bad Bunny pays homage to Reaggeaton legends such as Tengo Calderon while noting the wide popularity of Latinx culture across the world. The song’s title “El Apagón” (The Blackout) refers to the blackouts that occur frequently in Puerto Rico, plaguing marginalized communities more deeply than rich ones. Moreover, lyrics such as “Que se vayan ellos / Que se vayan ellos” (“Let them leave / Let them leave”) are meant to call out the white and rich settlers who are displacing Puerto Ricans for tax benefits. The song tackles gentrification on the island and the corruption of political leaders.
Bad Bunny’s success is a success for the entire Latinx community. We are currently living in a “golden age” for the Latin music genre, a time when Latinx artists have a considerable amount of influence, both in the music world and beyond. As the Latinx community continues to grow within the United States, so does the culture and traditions that continue to be passed down through generations. Bad Bunny puts it perfectly in “El Apagón” when he says, “ahora todos quieren ser latino” (Now everyone wants to be Latino), highlighting the growth in popularity of Latinx influences and cultures around the world. “Un Verano Sin Ti” provides listeners with a thrilling Caribbean sound, filled with Latinx pride.
Here’s a list of the songs from the album that I recommend:
“Ojitos Lindos” ft. Bomba Estereo
“Party” ft. Rauw Alejandro
“Títí Me Preguntó”
“Tarot” ft. Jhay Cortez
“Enséñame a Bailar”
“Me Porto Bonito” ft. Chencho Corleone