Nicolas Muñoz’s rise to fame is one that is becoming all too familiar in the social media age. His breakout single, “Everytime”, got selected by YouTube’s algorithm to appear in many people’s recommended feed, and from there it blew up. Much like artists finding success through TikTok fame, boy pablo found its success through YouTube’s algorithm, almost like a precursor to TikTok. Riding off this success, he released his first EP Roy Pablo and his second EP Soy Pablo the next year, both to high praise. Now, we get his debut studio album, Wachito Rico (meaning ‘handsome boy’). I was a little nervous going into the album because often with these types of breakout stars their first album can either be boom or bust. But after listening to the album on repeat for a few weeks now, I can confidently say that boy pablo is not a bust.
From the start, Wachito Rico sounds like a deep dive into the sound that made boy pablo blow up and a further exploration of that sound. “i hope she loves me back” draws us in with ethereal synths, slow drums, and soothing vocals. The many layers to the track are a departure from the simpler tracks we are used to from him, but it’s a welcome surprise that shows growth and creativity from the get-go. Even the next track, “hey girl”, starts off like what we are used to, but includes an unexpected instrumental break mixed in with the usual song structure. I like that Muñoz took risks with some of the sounds and structures of the songs but for the most part stuck to what he does best.
Even with all the layers to the tracks, they still sound simple and soothing. “come home” sounds like something I would listen to in the car with a close friend late at night, or something I would put on while doing homework and relaxing. “mustache” and “wachito rico” are funkier and are very reminiscent of the songs that made boy pablo popular. The thing that holds all these songs together is Muñoz’s great vocals. The lyrics are quite simple and mostly center around love but the drawn out and soothing vocals keep the listener engaged and relaxed. On a couple songs, Muñoz flips between English and Spanish lyrics, flaunting his Chilean background. I would say that the vocals are the strong suit of boy pablo, but every other part of the song is just as good, if not sometimes better.
If there was one complaint about the album, it is the fact that the album starts out very lush and interesting but drags on a little by the end. “i <3 u” is not a bad song, but it is a little too slow and does not quite mesh with the other songs on the album. Maybe that is because “wachito rico”, a very hyper and dense song, comes right before it. The album across the board has a very consistent sound but the tone is a little all over the place especially near the end. If the album could be reordered or an extra song was added to shift the tone, I think it would be a better listen.
Still, Wachito Rico is both a great debut album and a great example of indie success. Muñoz manages to incorporate new sounds and styles while also keeping listeners happy with what we are used to. He has kept his music fresh even after his big break three years ago and cements himself as an indie pop artist that everyone should listen to. And let us not forget that Muñoz is just about to turn 22, so he has many years of his music career left ahead of him.