While Karol G continues to flex different sonic palettes, she still tends to fall back on meandering, drab, reggaeton beats that usually don’t divulge the layers of her vocals. Fortunately, it’s less evident in her latest release Mañana Será Bonito, which sees her explore more tropical foundations, mirroring older pop styles beneath the rich drum patterns and strings. Mañana Será Bonito is this slight divergence from the more electronic and Latin trap/pop – Karol G expresses depth in character within her emotional range, buoying a blend of contemplative and confidence-inducing records. They take you through a colorful mixture of sounds that can sometimes surprise you, like when it places the folk-influenced “Gucci Los Paños” in between two club-driven pop-reggaeton beats or when it incorporates more genre-bending. It slowly shifts the perception of Karol G’s artistry as she looks to grow past her previous era and let the music flow through her naturally as she did on Oceans, her album from 2019. Unfortunately, you get the occasional standard reggaeton beat that doesn’t move the needle, leaving you to feel like she could have done something more with it.
Opening with an intriguing sample of Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” Karol G begins to set the stage for a sound that fiercely dominates the positives of Mañana Será Bonito. It’s more akin to an album like Un Verano Sin Ti by Bad Bunny, where it played with aesthetic and construction to build this album out of a vibe. The difference between the two comes from Karol G driving thematic motifs to reinforce the idea behind the title’s translation and keep a steady flow of themes. She’s delivering music that speaks on past relationships, feeling confident in your body and rejuvenated. It’s how this gets produced – on here, Karol G shares other similarities with Un Verano Sin Ti besides the tropical overtones – she creates constructive looseness where the sound can keep flowing while constantly shifting. That doesn’t always translate to fresh, quality music that brings more than aesthetic, like “Besties” and “Gátubela.” The former is more apropos in its clubby-vibe, never growing beyond these non-exciting drum patterns. The latter delivers nostalgic production mirroring the style of the early 00s, equally feeling like add-ons.
Keeping with one of her recurring producers, Ovy On the Drums, Karol G feels at home delivering these beautiful melodic performances over percussion-heavy beats. His inconsistency brings down Mañana Será Bonito, leaving you more enthralled by tracks he didn’t produce and or co-produced, as he can grasp his strength and have others build around it beautifully. Ovy On The Drums shines with his work on the tracks “Provenza,” “Carolina,” Amagura,” and “Mientras Me Curo Del Cora,” which Ovy co-produced, but his misses are glaring. Additionally, Ovy opens and closes the album, along with Tainy and Alejandro Jimenez, on incredible highs with tracks that truly build themselves to be more than what they could have been. Like how Ovy incorporates more tropical riffs to shroud the bachata-influenced acoustics and percussion as we get these small subtleties that help refine the album to be better than expected and a properly whelmed surprise.
However, other times it’s more derivative, leaving you wanting more and never satisfying, like “Tu Gafitas” and “Dañamos La Amistad.” They add more to its reggaeton/pop base, expanding it through distinct strings and synth orchestrations overlaying them. “Tu Gafitas” stands firmly, separating itself from the others with twinkly pop tones orchestrated by Finneas, balancing out the Latin flavor with these smooth disco undercurrents. It blossoms into this fantastic moment where Karol G continues to shine after the excellent Shakira co-authored “TQG.” Shakira comes in and commands her presence on the track, like many features that fit the aesthetic, balancing vocal layers, like on the reggae/dancehall-inspired “Karmika” with Bad Gyal and Sean Paul. It’s similar to the monstrous closer, the pop-reggaeton and lavish mix with Carla Morrison, “Mañana Será Bonito,” boasting a powerful duet to new levels, getting us to hear these distinct, reassuring directions, like with dynamic reggaeton/dembow-influenced “Ojos Ferrari.” It’s truly great work.
Mañana Será Bonito surprised me more than it did, especially after her more reggaeton-flavored KG0516, which felt staler in its approach to be more outwardly. But as Karol G refines her sense of musical direction, she explodes with radiant sounds that beautifully fit the cadence of her vocal melodies. Her features boast the delivery of the music, making some of the lesser-quality tracks somewhat digestible in the grand scheme of things, making one solid release from the Colombian Reggaeton Superstar.