Juanes mixes modern drum programming with traditional vallenato instrumentation in his new song “La Plata.” The single, a collaboration with the rising Colombian singer Lalo Ebratt, is the first release from Juanes’ upcoming album, set for release later this year.
The “La Plata” video tells the story of heartbreak in reverse: It opens with Juanes getting arrested and then rewinds all the way to the moment when the woman he loves dashes his hopes of living happily ever after. Despite this, the video is a cheerful affair, with goofy acting and buoyant dancing.
Juanes has long been adept at musical fusions, and he displays that talent again on “La Plata.” You hear the signifiers of vallenato, a traditional Colombian form, in the percussion and accordion. But as Juanes builds towards a sing-along hook suited for sold-out stadium shows, radio-ready programmed drums rat-a-tat behind him. Moments later, he’s back to his old ways, filling the track with pretty filigree on acoustic guitar.
Juanes’ choice of collaborators also shows that he is paying attention to new developments in pop. Ebratt has amassed an impressive following in Colombia recently thanks to melodic ear-worms like “Mocca” — which was remixed by J Balvin — and slick featured verses: See his appearance on Mario Bautista’s “Baby Girl.” In his own work, Ebratt gravitates towards the pop-reggaeton and trap sounds that are popular today, but he fits easily into “La Plata.”
“La Plata” kicks off the campaign for Juanes’ next album, which is currently untitled. His previous full-length, Mis Planes Son Amarte, came out in May 2017.