‘Hentai’ by Rosalia


5-7 July 2019. Down The Rabbit Hole Festival, The Netherlands. Concert of Rosalia

Hentai, by Rosalía, is Motomami’s fourth advance and is titled a genre for adults within Japanese culture. We explain what these references are.

Rosalía has chosen Hentai as the fourth preview of Motomami, her long-awaited third album that will be released on March 18.

A letter that is giving a lot to talk about, largely due to its sexual content with metaphors such as “I want to ride you like my bike (motorcycle)”, “I beat her until she got on” or “fall in love” with your gun, poppy red”; not to forget the most explicit: “Second fuck you, God first”.

With this very sexual lyrics, the title fits like a glove. Motomami’s album is full of references to Japanese culture, from its own title, such as songs like Saoko, Chicken Teriyaki, Sakura and, of course, Hentai.

Hentai‘ means ‘abnormal’ in Japanese, but this word is generally used to call a person ‘perverted’. In addition, it is the name given to Japanese manga or anime with explicit sexual content. It is for this reason that the theme revolves around sex and hence the different metaphors.

Another of the Japanese references that we find in the new Rosalía is the term ‘kawaii’, which means “pretty” or “tender”.

In the first advance of this theme, when she published a video in which she appeared on a chairlift singing a fragment of the song, in the most racy part Rosalía covered her face with her hands with a gesture of shame, and an attitude almost childish. An attitude closely related to everything that surrounds the kawaii culture.

And precisely this duality between something as opposite as the terms hentai and kawaii is what we find in Motomami, which in turn means “strong” (motorcycle) and “fragile” (mami). In fact, when she published the album tracklist, we could see that Rosalía has divided the songs into these two sides.

However, while the other three sneak peeks—Fame, Saoko, and Chicken Teriyaki—belong to the “Moto” side, Hentai has included her in the “Mami” part of the album.

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