The bassline is almost never the centerpiece of a vividly orchestrated pop song in the vein of “Dueños de Aquí,” but that’s precisely what makes the clockwork in the latest single from Mexican singer Labán tick. The confident swing of the four string guides us through a tizzy of colorful grooves and larger than life melodies in the song, which is wrapped tightly around the evenly distributed vocals of Labán like a parent cuddling their newborn child. There’s never any separation between Labán and the melody; with the ebb and flow of the bass, he and the drums adapt to the spin of the track, which is deceptively simple and insularly calculating from start to finish. Where the guitar is adding a texture to the groove, the bass is generating it at full force, and without its weighty complexity I think that this single wouldn’t be the wonderfully stylized slice of R&B that we find it to be here.
Labán’s singing is so magnetizing that when he gets into the guts of the track our connection with the pulsating bassline runs askew for a moment. The chorus, of course, is the stunning lynchpin connecting one nimble melody to the next, but it’s surprisingly not as bombastic as the main verse is. Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing in “Dueños de Aquí” that petulantly screams overly polished pop bravado, but that doesn’t make Labán’s vocal delivery any less swaggering than it would be live in concert. His voice is what’s accentuating the mood created by the bass; though this song could be an ominous foray into the dark corner of a nightclub, it’s instead a subtle dialogue from the heart of the dancefloor. The Spanish-spoken lyrics mesh so eloquently with the zealous bend of the melody that we don’t have to be completely versed in its vernacular to understand the emotion in Labán’s soul when he sings. It’s frequently said that music is one of the most internationally palatable mediums of art that there is, and this track goes a long way to backing up such a claim.
In all honesty, this mix isn’t my favorite. I don’t think that it properly defines the skill that Labán brings with him into the studio and exudes so freely in his contribution to the song, and for as full-bodied as its harmonies are, its production quality feels unfortunately incomplete. The timing is right, the tempo isn’t rushed and the actual musicality of this track are all spot on, which tells me that the problem doesn’t lie in Labán himself but rather the means in which his work is being mastered. Nevertheless “Dueños de Aquí” accomplishes exactly what it was designed to; it exhibits the artist’s knack for latching onto even the most elusive of harmonies, his general attentiveness to rhythm and moreover his dedication to spelling out his emotions in ways that aren’t restricted to lyricism alone. The potential that Labán has is undeniable, but finding a modern lens through which to filter his craftsmanship appears to be a lot more difficult than it has been for similar singers in his genre.