Dominican-American superstar Romeo Santos has a peculiar sense of humor. Latinx social media was abuzz in late March, when Santos announced that he would become a new father twofold in 2019. “Mis Dos Nuevos Bebés Año (My two new babies this year),” wrote Santos on Instagram, beneath a black and white photo he posted of his newborn baby boy’s feet, perched atop the blurred-out cover of his surprise new album — released at midnight this Friday — titled Utopia. It is the singer’s fourth solo album, and the first since his 2017 pan-Latin pop masterwork, Golden.
Santos took it a step further on April Fools’ Day, when he posted a cryptic, yet-tasteful nude photo of himself, emblazoned with the word inmortal, which translates to immortal. “New Aventura single tonight at 9 p.m. EST #Utopia,” he wrote in the caption. However, on a troll’s holiday, it was hard to take the claim seriously.
The Bronx-born boy band that harked the beginning of Romeo Santos’ rise, Aventura propelled the Dominican genre, bachata, to global acclaim — from their ancestral motherland of the D.R., to distant Italy, where their 2002 breakthrough song, “Obsesión,” parked at Number One for 16 consecutive weeks. Still, in spite of their myriad successes throughout the 2000s, the band would call it quits in 2011; capping off their legacy with their 2009 album titled The Last, and much later, playing what was rumored to be their final run of live shows in 2016.
And though it seemed unlikely to manifest beyond a dastardly social media prank, the Family Santos — Aventura members Romeo, Henry, Mikey and Lenny Santos — would actually follow through on Romeo’s promise. Released on Friday morning, “Inmortal” is the lead single off Romeo’s album, Utopia, and their first new recording as a band in 10 years.
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“I love you to infinity,” sings Romeo, evoking the timeless poetics that made him famous: “Solid as a meteorite/What I feel will never be understood/Perpetual, impeccable as light.”
The song is paired with a sci-fi video where Romeo lives an idyllic suburban life with a beautiful lady at his side. However, the mood is promptly broken when a SWAT team appears, kidnapping Romeo and holding him captive in a government lab. In direct reference to the lyrics, Romeo plays the role of a man so profoundly in love with a woman, that it’s understood to defy the laws of science.
“Make me a brain study/because this behavior’s not normal,” pleads Romeo, over sparkling bachata guitar riffs. It’s in the lab that he reconnects with his bandmates — who play the song unbothered from inside a glass menagerie, surrounded by leering doctors. “Are you gonna tell them?” murmurs co-vocalist Henry to his cousin Romeo — the camera pans out as Mikey and Lenny duel bass and guitar.
“Aventura“, purrs Romeo. Cue the entire Latinternet, ensconced in flames!
While Aventura has not announced plans to tour or record any further material, Romeo Santos has plenty of new music to impart on the world with Utopia. A 13-song paean to traditional bachata, Santos ushers in veterans like Monchy & Alexandra and Antony “El Mayimbe” Santos to reinvigorate the Latin pop landscape, long dominated by reggaeton, with a celebration of Dominican heritage. After a dizzying series of social media manipulation — and a resulting act of wish fulfillment — you have to hand it to Santos: he is a master of drama.