Reggaeton By The Numbers
Puerto Rican hip-hop star Bimboâ€šÃ„Ã´s major foray into the realm of reggaeton, Bimbo Presenta: Reggaeton 100 x 300, is great to dance to, but the cumulative effect of the pounding â€šÃ„ÃºDem Bowâ€šÃ„Ã¹ drum-machine track underlying every song is akin to being bludgeoned over the head repeatedly. Individually, the songs on the album can be fun, but as a whole, itâ€šÃ„Ã´s headache-inducing.Bimbo, nâˆšÂ©e Jesâˆšâˆ«s Otero, has been a star in his native country (the numbers in the albumâ€šÃ„Ã´s title refer to his homelandâ€šÃ„Ã´s coordinates) since the early â€šÃ„Ã²90s, first with his group, 3-2 Get Funky, then as a solo artist, even appearing on Alicia Keysâ€šÃ„Ã´ â€šÃ„ÃºKarma.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Reggaeton, with its combination of hip-hop, dancehall, and Latin rhythms, seems a natural direction for Bimbo to take.
The album begins with an overture (â€šÃ„ÃºIntroâ€šÃ„Ã¹), then heads straight for the dance floor. â€šÃ„ÃºFuleteame El Tanque,â€šÃ„Ã¹ a collaboration with John Erick, is Bimboâ€šÃ„Ã´s response to Daddy Yankeeâ€šÃ„Ã´s vastly better, â€šÃ„ÃºGasolina,â€šÃ„Ã¹ and is just as sexual. â€šÃ„ÃºLa Perrerra,â€šÃ„Ã¹ with its chorus of women singing, â€šÃ„ÃºWoof woof woof!â€šÃ„Ã¹ is a fun ditty, and â€šÃ„ÃºMâˆšâ‰ rala Como Fronteaâ€šÃ„Ã¹ (with Plan-B) tells about a girl who likes the attention she gets from men.
The biggest problem with the album and with reggaeton in general is the adherence to the â€šÃ„ÃºDem Bowâ€šÃ„Ã¹ beat, which unfortunately is the very thing that defines the genre. It also adds a sense of urgency to each song that isnâ€šÃ„Ã´t necessarily warranted. Bimboâ€šÃ„Ã´s many shout-outs to both himself and reggaeton (â€šÃ„ÃºÂ¬Â°Reggaeton siempre!â€šÃ„Ã¹) donâ€šÃ„Ã´t help ease the repetitiveness, either.
Still, Bimbo Presenta: Reggaeton 100 x 35 is a danceable record, and in the end, thatâ€šÃ„Ã´s what reggaeton seems to be about. One can get a great booty-shakinâ€šÃ„Ã´ experience here without really worrying about what Bimbo is singing, and judged on that criterion alone, it works fine. In small doses, of course.