Rauw Alejandro is in a galactic groove on his new album, Saturno. The Puerto Rican singer has dominated the reggaeton music scene as of late, and his new 18-track LP shows how his star power goes beyond the genre. He explores influences of electronica, new wave and funk, all while pushing reggaeton into the future. In short, Alejandro proves that he’s an all-around Latin pop star.
As a skilled dancer, Alejandro has always experimented with elements of electronica on his past albums, Afrodisíaco and Vice Versa. On Saturno, he leans fully into that sound while embracing his reggaeton music roots. But while he may be blending genres on more than a few tracks, Alejandro still pays homage to the Puerto Rican pioneers in the genre by collaborating with them. On his grimy version of “Punto 40,” he puts a rave-ready twist on the classic Baby Rasta track alongside the artist himself. But perhaps the album’s perreo-de-résistance is “De Carolina,” an ode to Alejandro’s hometown in which he teams up with DJ Playero, a pivotal figure in shaping ‘90s reggaeton. Playero’s classic perreo beats collide with Alejandro’s electronic touch in the back-to-the-future banger.
Alejandro continues to blaze his own path in reggaeton as well, with his electronica makeover of the genre reaching its peak and most realized on this album. The synth-driven “Que Rico Chingamos” feels like a dreamy, next-level sequel to “Sexo Virtual” from Vice Versa. The lofty “Lejos Del Cielo” is another reggaeton romp that highlights Alejandro’s sexy swagger. The frenetic and freaky “Lokera” with Lyanno and Brray see him delving into reggaeton’s rough-around-the-edges past with an electronic allure where he shines as a smooth operator.
The most exciting moments on Saturno are when Alejandro goes completely out of left field. He sounds like he’s ready to lay down the cardboard and breakdance in the computerized “Cazadores” — which feels like Miami Vice meets reggaeton, featuring Dominican-American pioneer Arcángel flexing his sultry flow around Alejandro’s slick sound. Alejandro seemingly taps into “Axel F” in the pulsating “Verde Menta” before the slapping bass hits, and he tackles elements of rock and new wave in the pop rush of “Corazon Despeinado.” Across the album, Alejandro plays around with retro sonic references and sounds like he’s having a blast doing it.
The whole album is not quite available at launch, however. Similarly to Vice Versa, “Track 7” repeats a “loading” message that will be replaced by another song at a later date. But despite that cop-out, Alejandro’s audacity to experiment with genres not commonly explored in Latin music is what makes Saturno feel out of this world. With his LP that knows no limits, Alejandro is ready to take his music career to infinity and beyond.