This week, the Review is publishing a series of short reflections on love songs, broadly defined. The first time I felt tropical rain was an erotic revelation: I was nine, visiting family in Puerto Rico on a Carnival cruise. At home in California, the rain was cold feet and flooded freeways. But on the island, the rain came fast and hot, soaked through my cotton dress, sliced by the sun—revealing a rainbow. Aguacero. The revelation was erotic not only for my body (the sound, the feel) but also for my mind: now I knew that something bad could also be good—depending on temperature, timing, and timbre. My friend Luis Alba calls tropical rain “the secret rhythm beneath all our music”—the windy scraping of the guiro, the shifting pebbles of the shekere—but Bad Bunny's “Aguacero” begins with ten seconds of a literal downpour. Then, the fuckboy's serenade: me tienes el bicho ansioso. “Aguacero” is not a proper love song. It's reggaeton lite (smooth production, raunchy lyrics), one of the more predictable tracks on Bad Bunny's latest blockbuster. But I can't lie about what's on repeat—in the kitchen, on the beach, on the ride home from his place. As with love songs, so with love: we don't always desire what we deserve. For a long while—longer than we said we would—I had a lover who was in the middle of a messy divorce. I knew he wouldn't have me for real, but I didn't know if that's even […] Photograph by Carina del Valle Schorske.
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