It has been exactly a year since the release of F.A.M.E., and Colombian singer Maluma is back with his fourth album, 11:11, released on May 17. This 16-track album includes collaborations with Ty Dolla $ign, Ozuna, Ricky Martin, Nicky Jam, Zion & Lennox, Sech, Chencho Corleone, Farina, and even Madonna. Alongside the release of the album came accompanying pseudo video clips for each of the tracks. Within this lengthy setlist, Maluma dances between genres from reggaetón to Latin pop, occasionally sprinkling in flecks of salsa and flamenco.
“11:11 is a direct signal from our guides, angels and teachers to establish a moment of connection, synchronicity and awareness with ourselves, with the whole,” Maluma said of the inspiration behind the album. “It is a wake-up call, a door to meditate, to listen to our intuition, to look in our interior, time to stop and feel the subtle energies of the universe. It’s a call from our essence, a reminder of our true purpose on earth. It is a call to trust.”
This sentiment shows a lot of growth since his previous album F.A.M.E., which expressed more of Maluma’s darker feelings regarding his personal life and faith. According to an interview with Forbes on March 1, 11:11 creates brighter, lighter, and more colorful imagery that reflects the fun and beautiful balance Maluma now has in his life.
The album begins with the track “11 PM.” Through these lyrics, the singer tries to convince a lover that she is better off with him than the unloving man she is currently with. It reveals that, even if you are heartbroken over someone who was never worth it, things will get better, and you will still find happiness eventually.
“La nube que no deja ver el sol brillante”—the toxicity of that relationship is like “a cloud that does not let you see the bright sun.” Maluma also released an official music video for this track, which mimics the lyrics and vibrant visual aesthetics from his video for “HP,” the hit song with a video filmed among the murals of Miami’s art district and that was pre-released as the second track of 11:11.
The most notable guest appearance on 11:11 might be Madonna in “Soltera.” Maluma previously collaborated with the Queen of Pop on the track “Medellín” from her upcoming album Madame X, which also features another unreleased collaboration between the two titled “Bitch I’m Loca.” These three songs are the result of Maluma brazenly proposing that they work together when he met Madonna at the 2018 VMAs.
Fortunately, his bold intentions resulted in this duet about flirtatious fun and playing hard to get, exemplified by Madonna’s lines “I’m not a girl you drink like wine / If you press pause then I’ll retreat.” It even concludes with Madonna donning an uncomfortable Spanish accent, reminding listeners that this song features some of the only English parts out of the entire album.
“Tu Vecina” might be one of the most upbeat, fun, and vulgar tracks of the album. This beat-heavy song is hard not to dance to, and features a rap from Ty Dolla $ign. To capture the essence of the lyrics without being too sexual, “Tu Vecina” is about a neighbor who notices the demise of a once fun and exciting relationship.
“No Se Me Quita” features Ricky Martin, the Puerto Rican singer known for his many albums that helped catalyze Latin pop’s movement to the mainstream American music scene and his most recent Emmy-nominated role in the FX anthology The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. This track, which translates to “It Does Not Go Away,” has soft urban rhythms and lyrics about how a connection with someone does not pass easily. “No se me quita / Esto no se me quita / El sabor de tu boca / Sigue estando en mi boca”—just as the feelings do not go away, nor does the taste of his lover’s lips from his mouth.
“Te Quiero” begins with only piano and bass guitar but quickly blossoms into horn-driven salsa. For this track, Maluma recruited producer Sergio George and composer Servando Primera, who used to sing salsa with his brother Florentino. Together, they created a beautiful ’90s-inspired work about how even though this girl has really harmed him, he still loves her from afar. The song also emphasizes that it is better to be alone than with someone that hurts you.
Maluma has made his way into many headlines recently, ranging from the recent controversy regarding a Mother’s Day Instagram post in which Maluma was locking lips with his mother to his collaboration with Madonna in “Medellín” to a spectacular Billboard Music Awards performance complete with holograms of Madonna as backup dancers.
Maluma capitalized on the buzz with his release of 11:11. Consisting of romantic, sexy, and high-spirited lyrics and songs that blur the boundaries between contemporary Latin pop and reggaetón with more classic styles like salsa and flamenco, 11:11 will surely find its way onto music playlists worldwide as summer 2019 begins.
Featured Image by Sony Music