The Spanish artist Rosalía has spoken with EL PAÍS about the meaning of the lyrics of her new single Chicken Teriyaki, which was viewed over two million times on YouTube in the first 24 hours and had racked up 8.9 million views in the first five days. The song is the third single from her new album Motomami, which is due out on March 18.
The song combines references about her family’s love of motorcycles and her own strolls through New York City; it also seeks to create a contrast between lyrics with an “occasional hard edge” to them and the “cuteness” found in the Japanese concept of Kawaii.
Rosalía jumped to international fame with her 2018 work El mal querer, which offered her own take on flamenco music and earned both commercial success and critical acclaim, including Album of the Year at the 2019 Latin Grammy Awards. That year she also became the first female Spanish artist to win an MTV Video Music Award.
In Motomami, Rosalía has undergone a change of look, sound and dance moves. After releasing La fama, a bachata with touches of electropop featuring the Canadian artist The Weeknd, and Saoko, a deconstructed reggaeton track that includes some piano jazz, Rosalía has now released Chicken Teriyaki, a reflection of today’s new pop, a musical mix where genres have ceased to exist and are there to serve the song’s purposes.
Just like she proved with Malamente in 2019, Rosalía has done things her way here as well, displaying instinct but also talent. She neither tried to recreate a consolidated style by bringing her own personality to it, nor did she attempt a complete experimentation that would make it hard for her work to reach a wider public.
Rosalía has found her own path, crossing styles, weaving musical alliances, adding her own flavor and ending up with something entirely different. The song has everything it needs to have, but something else besides. Rosalía is not just an assertive woman showing off her Latino strength, she is also scoring artistic achievements and leading the way forward.