Romeo Santos has released his highly anticipated studio album Formula, vol. 3 (Sony Music Latin), coinciding with her eldest son’s birthday on September 1.
Home to 21 tracks – including lone single “Sus Huellas,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Latin Airplay chart – the new set displays the ever-experimental Santos tapping into hip-hop, trap, tango, merengue and regional Mexican without losing touch with its essence of bachata.
His collaborators include famous pop star Justin Timberlake, Mexican artist Christian Nodal and Spanish singer Rosalía, to name a few. He’s also teaming up with a wave of Dominican talent, from big dogs Toño Rosario and Luis Miguel del Amargue to newcomers like Chris Lebron. Even comedian and actor Katt Williams and the Santos kids make an appearance.
“I took this title of ‘King of Bachata’ very personally,” said Santos. Billboard for his recent cover. “It’s a huge responsibility. It was very risky, very descarado say: ‘We are the kings of bachata!’ But you can say whatever you want as long as you support it, and I’m proud of that. I want to make sure that all my albums, whether people like them or not, can be listened to and realize that there has been production, that there has been work. I am very meticulous when it comes to my music. When I do anything, even a salsa, it sounds like Romeo Santos.
The album, which Santos began working on before the pandemic, ends with “Nirvana,” a vulnerable track on which the king of Bachata has an open conversation with God about his loved ones, his colleagues, the school shooting. d’Uvalde and other social events and personal issues. “I know I’m complaining, but I keep praying,” he chants. “When I’m in doubt, I just hope you hear me, open your arms and take me to Nirvana, to the clouds just so you can tell me you’re there.”
Formula, vol. 3 comes eight years since the release of Santos Flight. 2 in 2014, which is still ongoing Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart after 386 consecutive weeks – the most for any Latin album in history. Since the last Formula album in 2014, Santos released Golden (2017) and Utopia (2019).
Below, check out all of the collaborations on set. class :
7. “La Ultima Vez” feat. Luis Miguel del Amargue
For this fast and infectious bachata, Santos teamed up with veteran bachatero Luis Miguel del Amargue. The track tells the story of a man who decided to break up with his girlfriend because she was a gold digger and left him with no money. A strong contender to become a fan favorite due to its traditional bachata beat and relatable lyrics, this collaboration takes on the conceptual concept of Santos Utopia album, where he collaborated with the greatest exponents of bachata, including Raulin Rodriguez, Luis Vargas and many others.
6. “El Panuelo” feat. Rosalia
Rosalía expressed her love for bachata and had previously recorded one herself alongside The Weeknd. This time, she teams up with the KOB on a more traditional-sounding bachata, which she and Romeo elevate with their distinctive, broad vocals. The two sound great as if they were supposed to sing bachata together, and I like that they stick to a strict bachata sound (instead of an over-produced blend of tones) to allow their voice to take center stage.
5. “Guilty” feat. Conscious Lapiz
Just as Santos has songs about heartbreak, love, connecting with God, and even for his mother-in-law, he has a track for those locked up in prison. For this relaxing hip-hop track, which samples Luniz’s “I Got 5 On It,” Santos tapped Dominican rapper Lapiz Conciente. Honoring his artistic name, Lapiz spits out raw lyrics about life on the streets, being in prison and feeling guilty, but also reflects on his life lessons and a hopeful future. “This song is dedicated to all those people who, because of mistakes in life, are serving time,” Lapiz says at the end of the track.
4. “15,000 Nights” feat. Toño Rosaria, Rubby Perez, Fernando Villalona and Ramon Orlando
This fast-paced merengue song is a journey into the depths of the genre’s roots, and what could be better than recruiting four of the strongest representatives of the tropical genre? Its words are nothing less than a romantic poem, in which he praises a divine way of seeing the beloved woman, almost like a divine creature. “I want duplicate your existence, connect with God and ask for his mold, maybe he lends me the brush, and I can clone you with it other conditions, and so we will have love,” Santos sings in the chorus.
3. “Siri” feat. chris lebron
One of the most exciting collaborations on set is this track with rising Dominican actor Chris Lebron, further proving Santos’ bets on new talent coming from his country. Unlike all the other danceable tracks on the album, “Siri” is downtempo dancehall, where Santos and Lebron’s smooth vocals come out to shine. The single reflects a lonely, heartbroken man whose only companion is the virtual assistant, Siri. “Siri call her and tell her to come back/Without here, this house is a jungle/Siri call her and ask her where she is/Tell her I got my virginity back by having sex with the loneliness”, sings Lebron.
2. “Sin Fin” feat. Justin Timberlake
Yeah. It’s Justin Timberlake singing a bachata and, truth be told, he sounds better than I expected. Not that I expected it to ring, but JT singing a bachata is something I never thought I would hear. So when Romeo Santos revealed he was a collaborator on his new album, I was a little nervous about whether it would sound forced or inorganic. I was pleasantly surprised when I finally heard “Sin Ti”. Timberlake’s soft voice blends perfectly with the delicate guitar notes of bachata. “You already know this love is all yours, baby, so take it. We’ve been here before and [it’s] strong enough to save us, oh baby,” Timberlake sings as he injects pathos into his delivery.
1. “Me Extrano” feat. nodal christian
When Romeo decided to dip his toes into the Mexican regional, he made sure he was the best mariacheño artist of the moment, Christian Nodal. On this piece, the sharp sweetness of Santos the voices contrast with the powerful tone of Nodal. Nevertheless, this mariachi song carries melancholy through all his musical notes and lyrics as he recounts the story from the point of view of two men who had the same woman. Romeo, the one who let him go and didn’t know how to deal with her, accept her mistakes and the irony of missing out his. “I recognize the damage / before I was like you, and that’s why I’m shocked”, and Nodal is grateful for his mistakes “Cheers for what you neglected,” he sings.