One of the more interesting things about being a musician and artist today is that it is widely accepted that the road to success is actually an indecipherable algorithm that is used to push certain songs and videos to the top of the YouTube and Spotify heaps. Now, we have been lucky that the artists and acts that seem to have benefited from this mystery have actually turned out to be pretty good and in certain cases, such as Chilean-Norwegian bedroom pop maestro boy pablo, have proven themselves to be just what we need in these dark times.
Catapulted into success after the music video for his track “Everyday” achieved international popularity on YouTube in 2017, boy pablo AKA Nicolas Muñoz, has now released his debut full length album Wachito Rico and its brand of escapist pop music is a perfect distraction from the bleakness of everyday life right now.
Wachito Rico, meaning ‘handsome boy’ or ‘cutie pie’ is overflowing with the perfect amount of teen melodrama. The record kicks off with “I hope she loves me back”and the lyrics “I hope she loves me back/My heart would break if she don’t” and its earnest and fun at the same time. Awash in hazy synths and some pitch perfect vocal melodies, the song is a great gateway for the rest of the record. “hey girl” continues down this path with its flanged out guitar tweaked through a hi pass filter that kicks off the song interestingly and by the time the bongos come in, late in the verse, you should find yourself pretty hooked. There is a nice emphasis of Muñoz’s leaning into his Chilean heritage and using Latin American music for inspiration with some of these songs. This comes through nicely on “hey girl”’s middle eight and the feel of its groove. The record’s single “leave me alone!” is perfect pop confection.
Muñoz makes the smart decision to have his voice be front and centre on this and all the songs on the record highlighting his simple yet absolutely ear catching melodies. The production all throughout Wachito Rico suits the songs perfectly. It is crisp and confident, and depending on your mood, you should easily find yourself easily being able to dance around your living room to them or sit in introspection while listening. “honey” is anchored by the sweetest, saccharine groove. The bass floating all around the lazily arpeggiated guitar chords and Muñoz’s refrain of “Baby, you are really something else/‘Cause I don’t think I have smiled like this before/When I spend my time with you it tends to stop/Honey, being around you is all I need” and it’s all very adorable. “te vas // don’t go” is a gentler inclusion on the record with just Muñoz’s voice above a sparse, classical guitar while “come home” is more of a forward moving number with the rhythm section propelling the track ahead into a richly smooth chorus. The title track “wachito rico” steps things up even further with it’s Latin disco feel and irresistible Spanish sung chorus. By the time we have gotten to the album’s final track “I <3 u” and it’s lilting piano, the whole journey has been a fairly sunny one and one that you’ll easily want to repeat.
At only 21 years old Muñoz is talented beyond his years. Having wrote, played and produced everything on the album is a huge feat but when it all sounds this good it definitely elevates this distinction. This isn’t something that will be for everyone. The mushy and persistently earnest nature of the songwriting will be a turn off for some but it is an album made by a preternaturally talented musician with enough smarts to not make this just any one trick pony but something you’ll want to keep coming back to and finding more and more to it all every single time.
order Wachito Rico via 777 music here