The Malta Independent 23 June 2024, Sunday
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Anitta welcomes listeners into her 'Funk Generation' on new album

Associated Press Sunday, 19 May 2024, 10:15 Last update: about 2 months ago

First, Anitta took over Brazil. Now, the world. The trilingual Brazilian pop star has returned with a new album, the club-to-bedroom ready "Funk Generation." It is an infectious collection of dance songs celebrating a once maligned genre that also manages to experiment beyond its confines. But those searching for more mainstream pop music should look elsewhere.

Anitta is arguably Brazil's most recognizable global pop singer since Astrud Gilberto sang "The Girl From Ipanema" nearly 60 years ago. (Fitting, because one of her biggest international hits, 2021's "Girl From Rio," interpolates the bossa nova classic. "Hot girls, where I'm from, we don't look like models," she sang. "Tan lines, big curves, and the energy glows.")


When her 2022 album "Versions of Me" dropped, she was already a superstar known for meddling Brazilian sounds with a variance of genres: reggaetón, pop, yes, funk, but even pop-punk, lest anyone forget her boot-stomping "Boys Don't Cry," as inspired by Panic! At the Disco.

But "Funk Generation," truly, is what Anitta has been working towards. There are no attempts at mimicking mainstream pop music trends, rather, her pop sensibilities arise only where they can amplify the funk she's centered her life around. And when she says "funk," she means Brazilian funk, what is frequently referred to as funk carioca or baile funk and is heard in favelas around Rio — a combination of Brazilian rhythms, African and electronic music, and rap.

Like hip-hop and reggaetón before it, funk in Brazil has been stigmatized for its lyrics about everyday realities: sex, violence, drugs. But music is storytelling, rhythms can bring about change, and Anitta's new album makes it clear.

"Funk Generation" is made for late nights on the dance floor, not mainstream radio: "Lose Ya Breath" is all heavy sighs, cheery chants and nylon string guitars; "Funk Rave" is an almost euro-pop mix of her 2023 track of the same name.

"Fria" ushers in Latin R&B-pop, the not-safe-for-work electro-funk single "Double Team" brings back collaborators Brray and Bad Gyal (Thought "Bota Niña" was idyllic reggaetón-pop? The power of those voices intertwined knows no bounds.) "Savage Funk" delivers on the premise of the title — with lyrics even more provocative than the bed-squeaks of "I'd Rather Have Sex" from "Versions of Me." ) At every turn, on every song, Anitta understands her role: To make people dance.

The variance of genre may come across disjointed to some listeners, but since when does any DJ stick to one style? Here, Anitta's doing a lot; she doesn't want to be the life of the party, she wants to be the party.

When "Funk Generation" was first announced, Anitta described it as "an album where I celebrate my roots. It's where I express the power of Rio's funk in every track — its unique, danceable, and sensual beats," she said in a statement. "It's a rhythm born in the favelas, where I grew up, and it exudes resistance and art in every community."

It does that, sure, but she's not just a vessel. This is Anitta's funk, a combination of global sounds that reminds everyone Brazil knows how to have a party. Everyone else would be wise to listen.

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