Top 5 Albums You Can Photosynthi(pop)size to: Buscabulla – Regresa
National Music Reviews
It’s been a year, to say the least. Amid global pandemics, social justice uprisings, election mayhem and a bottomless well of other turmoil, the always-steady stream of essential new music felt like a consistent hand to hold. But the swathe of new releases wasn’t just an escapist salve during 2020—it also served as a uniting factor, an artistic space for magnifying voices and echoing collective grief. So whether the sounds presented here soothe, incite, empathize or excise, we hope that our picks for the best albums of 2020 provide you with some sonic friends that heal your soul in one way or another.
- Buscabulla – Regresa
- Choir Boy – Gathering Swans
- Future Islands – As Long As You ARe
- Nation of Language – Introduction Prescence
- of Montreal – UR FUN
Buscabulla = Belinda + The Marías + Y La Bamba
Buscabulla translates to “looking for noise,” and that’s exactly what this duo is doing. Their album and documentary, Regresa, meaning “return,” is inspired by Puerto Rico, where Raquel Berrios and Luis Del Valle moved from Brooklyn after devastating hurricanes in 2017. It’s a ride through what any kind of return feels like, and the first track, “Vámono,” draws you in with drums before descending into sweet bliss.
Berrios’ voice is backed by various instruments, such as guitars, drums, bass and synths, laying a strong backbone that seems to fall randomly in perfectly placed spots throughout their music. The track “Mío” does this near-ending cry that mimics the way the drums play lightly underneath Berrio’s dreamy voice, but it feels organic, almost human-sounding, as it leaves you on a high, wonky-fun note. In some instances, as in “Volta,” keys come in behind Berrios’ voice, causing small clashes throughout the song.
“Manda Fuego” starts off with a recording of an older man speaking about suffering before it turns into a smooth beat. It feels angelic and ironic, as Berrios asks for God to send fire and declaring that not everything is what it seems. “NTE,” is my favorite track—I relate to Berrios lyrics that declare she should not be underestimated. What I like about Berrios’ vocal style is that she follows the beats with the tone of her voice. In this vein, “El Aprieto” features her voice winding as if following the shape of a tornado.
I probably annoyed my roommates by how much I played Regresa over and over this year, but I don’t care. Buscabulla made it to my “lucky finds of 2020” list! You can hear and see Puerto Rican culture through their music and music videos. It’s an overall soothing album. If you want to expand your ears a bit, this is an album to help them grow. –Kimberly Portillo