Today: Feb 27, 2024

Music Review: Romeo Santos—La Formula, Vol.1

JON MORENOA&E Editor

1. “Intro (Formula)” [feat. George Lopez] – Aventura’s former front man knows how to make an entrance and the introduction to his first solo album is no different.This is nothing short of epic for any George Lopez fan. 5/5 Owls.

2. “La Diabla” – Even though Romeo Santos probably doesn’t have much girl trouble these days, he still sings about la diabla, which stands for “she-devil” in Spanish, in typical high falsetto fashion. With a mid-tempo rhythm, Romeo doesn’t stray too far away from the sound he’s made famous with his Aventura band mates here. Good song but leaves fans wanting more. 3/5 Owls.

3. “Que Se Mueran” – “They can die” croons Romeo in Spanish. That goes to anyone who has any criticism for him and his one love. The song is romantic and bound to have any listener rocking right to left as if they are in the middle of the dance floor. 3/5 Owls.

4. “Llevame Contigo” – Romeo once again sings to his one lady as he tells her to take him with her wherever life may take her. A beautiful bass line laced with Spanish bongos makes this a traditional bachata song full with romantic lyrics and hypnotizing melodies. The guitar solo at the end makes this song worth listening to the end.Want to make a woman fall in love with you? Play them this song, take her by the hand and show her your inner Latino. 4/5 Owls

5. “Mi Santa” (feat. Tomatito) – Romeo sings along an acoustic guitar before the bass hits and bongos come in to remind everyone listening to dance. So far, Romeo is trying to make a sound for himself but it is reminiscent of his former group’s music. But then again the music is still the same genre, which consists of the same instruments on every song, so how far can Romeo stray away before his music becomes something completely different? 2/5 Owls.

6. “Promise” (feat. Usher) – Ladies and gentleman, this is why Romeo Santos has declared himself the king of bachata. He continues to push boundaries and with an Usher feature, the song is bound to gain the attention of mainstream audiences rather quickly. Will it be as huge a hit as “Obsession?” Probably not, but regardless, this song is a stepping-stone for not only genres to cross paths but also languages. 5/5 Owls.

7. “Magia Negra” (feat. Mala Rodriguez) – Black Magic. This one woman’s love is a spell declares Romeo. With an extended intro with handclaps and electro-sounding synths, the beat drops and Romeo once again flips the script. This song is an attempt to hit the clubs with something else rather than bachata. It will be successful in Spanish clubs but not anywhere else. 2/5 Owls.

8. “Soberbio” – Once again, just that traditional bachata sound but by no means is it a bad thing. Despite the Usher and Lil Wayne features, Romeo is making it clear that he wants to bring back old school bachata. Nothing fancy, just two or three instruments and melodies that people won’t forget about. “Llora guitarra mia,” Romeo tells his guitar. “Cry, my guitar.” The guitar in bachata usually tells the story on its own. It’s no different here. 3/5 Owls.

9. “Skit (La Discusion)” – Just a discussion among some of the most popular singers in latin music that lead into the track that is pure epic bachata greatness.

10. “Debate De 4” (feat. Anthony “El Mayimbe” Santos, Luis Vargas & Raulin Rodriguez) – Romeo continues his reputation for great storytelling that he established back in his days in Aventura here as he and three bachata legends all attempt to pick up the same girl. Hearing all four of them join their vocals together for the chorus is a treat for fans of Latin music. “Only a king could make this happen” says Romeo in the beginning of the song. And he is right. 5/5 Owls.

11. “ Rival” (feat. Mario Domm) – What’s amazing is that Romeo’s natural voice could not be any further from his singing voice. He has a deep and raspy voice and a New York accent. But when he sings, he seemingly hits high falsettos effortlessly. The song takes a break from bachata into pop here but the momentum is still going strong as Romeo provides another solid cut. 3/5 Owls.

12. “La Bella y la Bestia” – One thing Romeo needs to learn is how to talk like a normal human being and not like a soap opera actor during his breakdowns where he reminds everyone that he is the “king.” His English is great but rather awkward when he says things like “I am a beast.” But then again, he’s always been known to be rather cheesy when he speaks English. 2/5 Owls.

13. “You” – Need a translation for this title? Didn’t think so. We get back-to-back mediocre tracks now, as this one also doesn’t do much for me personally. 2/5 Owls.

14. “All Aboard” (feat. Lil Wayne) – Once again, Romeo pushes bachata’s boundaries as he recruits Lil Wayne to drop his 16 bars over a crossover track that will probably not do much radio wise. Wayne drops a lazy verse over a sad attempt to make a pop record. I’m relieved Romeo didn’t have Wayne lay a verse over bachata instruments. It would’ve been a train wreck. See what I did there? 2/5 Owls.

15. “Outro” – Just a skit that consists of Romeo telling an audience that music is his passion and no one can prevent him from doing what he loves despite the criticism he receives. 

Overall: 3/5 Owls


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