Regardless of having solely made music in Spanish, Unhealthy Bunny is on his approach to turning into a family identify in the USA. The worldwide pop star has change into ubiquitous, from topping Spotify’s annual worldwide charts two years in a row to showing on “The Tonight Present Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Saturday Evening Stay.” He has collaborated with artists like Drake and Jennifer Lopez and even made a foray into skilled wrestling. His viral social media posts and unconventional, sensational promotional strategies have confirmed him to be a grasp of the spectacle.
All of this raises a query that extends to the tendencies of common tradition at present: Is there something of substance behind the spectacle? Unhealthy Bunny’s new album “Un Verano Sin Ti” (“A Summer time With out You”), and his broader physique of labor, speaks to what sociologist Zygmunt Bauman would name “liquid modernity,” the concept fastened fact claims are dissipating into extra arbitrary and altering ones.
The songs on Unhealthy Bunny’s new album reveal the feeling of emptines and existential dread that nothing can actually fulfill him in the long term.
Born Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio in Almirante Sur, Puerto Rico, in 1994, Unhealthy Bunny demonstrates the fluid nature of our postmodern cultural second. After his early days working as a bagger in a grocery retailer who posted songs on his SoundCloud account, he managed to be signed with Common Leisure and skyrocket to worldwide fame in a matter of three years.
The emergence of Unhealthy Bunny’s music and public picture characterize the alternative of steady, fastened values with attitudes and behaviors that oscillate between extremes. These extremes create a paradoxical unity: of libertinism and despair, forgetfulness and self-conscious introspection, pleasure and melancholy, the demonic and the sacred. Taking a web page from existentialist philosophers like Camus and Sartre, his music displays the cultural sensibility that eschews everlasting fact claims as absurd—and concludes that the one approach to face the absurdity of the universe is to reside within the second. As a lot as Unhealthy Bunny embodies a carpe diem angle, his music additionally unveils the darker, extra pessimistic facet of this cultural sensibility.
The songs on his new album reveal the feeling of vacancy, existential dread and worry that nothing can actually fulfill him in the long term. He despairs of an absence of permanence, which seems to be not as alluring because it might need initially seemed to be. He has change into a voice for his era, particularly for youthful millennials and “Zoomers” who’re disillusioned with the so-called virtues of moderation and bourgeois respectability. His music speaks to those that veer away from the center of the highway towards the fringes of what’s thought-about commonplace. This proclivity for extremes opens the door to extra frank and clear conversations about human nature, need and fervour, alluding to common questions on everlasting non secular truths.
One is left questioning whether or not the individuals questioning him are his haters or himself.
Listeners can hear this thematic stress on his earlier albums, with songs like “Estamos Bien” (“We’re All Proper”) from his debut album “X100PRE” (an internet method of writing “Por Siempre,” or “Without end”) embodying the libertine pole of what he calls his “Nueva Faith.” “Every thing’s fantastic,” he raps, “at present I awakened content material and completely satisfied,” as he continues to quote the events, jewellery, cash and exquisite girls he will get to get pleasure from each day. And if anybody questions whether or not he’s actually fulfilled, he has no drawback telling them “the place to go.” One is left questioning whether or not the individuals questioning him are his haters or himself.
If “Estamos Bien” represents the acute libertine pole, “RLNDT” (or “Rolandito”) represents the opposite excessive. Taking the title from a baby who mysteriously disappeared in 1999 in Puerto Rico, Unhealthy Bunny displays on his existential disaster spurred by his fast rise to fame, repeating the phrase, “Who am I? I don’t know, I forgot.” He goes on to ask whether or not he ought to flip to God or to astrology, and whether or not his confusion is rooted in psychological trauma from his childhood.
His one facet desires to reside within the second and neglect his issues, whereas the opposite is stricken by questions, doubt and fears, questioning whether or not he’ll ever discover a lasting sense of affection, which means and goal. This liquid-like back-and-forth between excessive forgetfulness and excessive self-consciousness speaks to the experiences of so many younger individuals who lack a context by way of which they will make sense of their experiences and discover strong solutions to their questions.
His one facet desires to reside within the second and neglect his issues, whereas the opposite is stricken by questions, doubt and fears, questioning whether or not he’ll ever discover a lasting sense of affection, which means and goal.
This stress continues on “Un Verano Sin Ti.” The breakout single “Titi Me Preguntó” (“Auntie Requested Me”) begins with him bragging about the entire girlfriends he has had. He jokes about taking a selfie at a nightclub with the entire ladies he slept with to ship to his aunt, who retains asking him why he’s had so many girlfriends. After a quick interlude that includes a voice mail from his aunt encouraging him to quiet down already, he cries out in desperation about his worry of dedication and rejection. “I’d prefer to fall in love, however I can’t. / I don’t belief anybody, I don’t even belief myself… / now that it’s chilly you wish to stick with me, / after which tomorrow you’ll go away.”
He laments his weaknesses and the fleeting nature of affection on different songs like “Un Ratito,” when he sings:
That is just for a short time,
don’t get used to this, babe.
Love is fairly,
however there’s all the time one thing that interrupts it.
I used to be born to be alone,
there isn’t a loopy lady made for this loopy man.
Time strikes rapidly and doesn’t keep lengthy,
so let’s do it once more, sleep collectively once more,
as a result of possibly there received’t be a tomorrow.
Equally, he sings in “Neverita” a couple of lady who is rarely alone as a result of her lovers “come and go just like the waves.” He waits for her to note how a lot he likes her, however she “places her coronary heart within the cooler” as a result of “enjoying with me, she finds it entertaining.”
The synthesizer-heavy manufacturing of the album and chirping of seagulls within the background evoke nostalgia for a summer time that has but to come back—a form of untimely FOMO. It comes off as an try and seize onto the fleeting pleasure of the summer time earlier than it even comes and to bypass the inevitable “summertime disappointment.”
His allusions to God, astrology, spiritism and esoterica converse to younger individuals who discover themselves uninterested in middle-of-the-road secularism.
His tendency towards extremes and paradox strongly form his method of singing about sexuality. A number of of his sexual adventures veer towards machismo and, at instances, absurdity, in songs like “Safaera,” and in others from the most recent album like “Social gathering,” “Aguacero” and “Otro Atardecer.” Unhealthy Bunny takes up the custom in reggaeton and Dominican dembow of constructing sexual innuendoes which can be so outlandish that it turns into exhausting for the listener to take him significantly, implying that his lyrics are meant as an ironic critique.
In different songs, he inverts the macho male gaze, opting to create narratives concerning the internal lives of the ladies who captivate his consideration, reasonably than merely objectifying them for the sake of his personal pleasure. In songs like “Callaita” and “Andrea,” he tells the tales of girls who’re misunderstood and wrestle with insecurities and emotional wounds. This inversion—or reasonably internalization—of the male gaze evokes the ubiquity of social media and its capacity to “filter” our gaze. His frequent allusions to watching ladies’ Instagram tales appears to incite him to begin to replicate on these ladies’ life tales and internal worlds.
Unhealthy Bunny’s unconventional sexual expression extends to his personal wardrobe. He can typically be seen with painted nails, sporting a skirt or carrying a handbag, he has appeared on his Instagram account completely nude, and he was wearing full drag within the video for “Yo Perreo Sola.”
Unhealthy Bunny’s affinity for the fringes of respectability elevate some necessary questions on non secular realities.
In the meantime, the promotional content material for his album releases isn’t your run-of-the-mill commercial marketing campaign. For his second solo album, “YHLQMDLG,” he wore the discharge date on the again of a basketball jersey whereas enjoying at an N.B.A. All-Star sport, adopted by a collection of cryptic tweets hinting on the title and variety of tracks on the album. For the discharge of his third solo album, he gave an impromptu live performance whereas using on prime of a truck within the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York.
His viral social media posts are iconic, spawning all types of unofficial merchandise, together with shirts, pillows, automobile air-fresheners and social gathering favors on Etsy that includes reproductions of his Instagram photographs. Echoing Marxist critiques of the fetishizing of commodities, his public persona challenges us to take a look at the sensationalism and fixed barrage of spectacles in our late-phase capitalist second. It challenges us to query if there’s something of substance behind it.
Unhealthy Bunny’s affinity for the fringes of respectability elevate some necessary questions on non secular realities. His music and public persona critique the secular bourgeois worldview that sees individuals as simplistic, autonomous entities, devoid of inside blemishes and existential neediness. Although Unhealthy Bunny by no means explicitly defines the tenets of his “Nueva Faith,” they’re made clear within the themes of his music and the kind of imagery he makes use of in his music movies and reside performances. His allusions to God, astrology, spiritism and esoterica converse to younger individuals who discover themselves uninterested in middle-of-the-road secularism.
We are able to simply see this within the proliferation of content material on web platforms like TikTok and Reddit about totally different non secular “extremes,” from “rad trad” Catholicism to occult practices like tarot readings and harnessing vitality from crystals. Unhealthy Bunny’s reputation faucets into postmodern longing for manufacturers of spirituality that embody opposing poles and paradoxes. Although he might veer extra towards manufacturers of New Age spirituality and occultism, one might argue that his affinity for paradox is partially indebted to his Catholic upbringing, which locations at its heart the paradox of the God-man.
Quickly after the most recent album’s launch, TikTok went wild after a rumor unfold that Unhealthy Bunny and his girlfriend Gabriela Berlingeri have been in an open relationship. Whether or not or not the rumors are true, the social media fanfare itself is a commentary on Unhealthy Bunny’s capacity to fire up questions on whether or not dedication, lasting fact and which means can be found to us in an age the place we’re bombarded with sensationalistic public spectacles.
Can anybody ship us a promise of stability or certainty in our fluid tradition, not to mention present us an area the place we are able to discover the existential questions which have plagued human beings all through instances and cultures? Unhealthy Bunny’s music opens the door to the instinct that these questions are value asking within the first place.