Rosalia and Rauw Alejandro Pull Back the Curtain on Their Romance — and Engagement — on RR

Music

Three years ago, when relationship rumors began swirling between the Spanish fusionist Rosalia and Puerto Rican multi-hyphenate Rauw Alejandro, the two of them did their best to keep their budding romance under wraps. This, of course, only fueled more interest in the couple, who surprised some fans with a bond that made perfect sense to some and none to others: She was known as an avant-pop innovator with a penchant for provocation, while he was a smooth, quick-stepping reggaeton and R&B star, gliding and gyrating his way to the top of the charts.

Eventually, the two of them began sharing bits of their lives together with well-curated TikTok videos and Instagram photos. They clearly inspired each other professionally, with their styles and influences slipping in and out of the other’s music. Rosalia’s ghostly melismas appeared on Rauw’s 2020 song “Dile a El;” his writing credits were on her Motomami track “Bizcochito.” Still, no one really knew what a full collaboration between the two might sound like until they decided to drop a highly anticipated joint EP called RR this week.

RR is a slim little compendium, just three songs long, but it’s interesting both as an artifact of two massively famous musicians falling in love and as a document of just how much fans are drawn to the tabloid intimacies of celebrity life. It feeds people’s fascination with getting a personal look at pop star relationships, particularly in the social media age — the same parasocial curiosity that’s fueled recent gossip-driven bangers, like Shakira’s record-smashing “BZRP Music Sessions, Vol. 53.” RR also offers a chance for Rauw and Rosalia to marry their sonic approaches and sky-high streaming numbers, putting their chemistry as artists on display after they spent the last year cranking out top, award-wining hits, albums, and tours.

The first track, “Beso,” is a middle ground between both artists. They trade syrupy vocals over a sparse, deconstructed reggaeton beat, belting out lyrics about how devoted to each other they are. The song isn’t much of a surprise, given that a preview became ubiquitous on TikTok over the last couple of days. However, the couple used the track’s music video to finally confirm engagement rumors that started circulating after Rosalia posted photos wearing an asteroid-sized diamond ring on her left hand. Neither had commented publicly, but the video — a montage that shows them giggling in bed, kissing backstage, and sitting on airplanes together — ends with Rosalia in tears just moments after the proposal. All together, the clips are somehow sweet, mundane, and indulgent all at the same time.

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“Vampiros” slinks into more of Rauw’s world at first with its late-night club touches, sounding like it could have slipped off his last album Saturno. The song’s up-tempo refrain might grate those who are often frustrated with the Spaniard’s turns into urbano music, but the track hits its stride when it breaks into staticky distortion. It unites both their influences and speaks to their mutual taste for unexpected, left-of-center production. (The credits on the EP include both Rosalia and Rauw under his alias El Zorro as well as Dylan Patrice, Jake Miller, and Rosalia’s past Motomami collaborator Noah Goldstein.) “Vampiros” gives the impression that beyond relating as two of the buzziest, most photographed stars in the Spanish-language music industry, this is what Rosalia and Rauw connect over when they’re just messing around in the studio.

The lyrics aren’t super revelatory; the song is more of a backdrop for their experimental teamwork. But things get personal on the bolero-influenced “Promesa.” (Rauw’s shown his interest in bolero traditions before, using the genre on a song dedicated to Rosalia called “Aquel Nap ZzZz.”) The verses on “Promesa” nod back at the kind of adventures outlined in their “Beso” video and touch on their engagement, painting a pristine portrait of their love and giving fans an escapist happy ending to swoon over. This is Rauw and Rosalia telling their own version of events. And sure, it’s a glossy, almost movie-like lens, but for a couple whose private lives have been chased and prodded at every turn, the EP lets them share their relationship on their own terms.

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