My two favorite albums released so far this year can be described in one, identical sentence: A pop sensation is at her creative summit, where she fuses a bold range of cultural traditions and genres, yet emerges with something entirely her own. One is Beyoncé’s Renaissance. The other is Rosalía’s Motomami, a body of work that swaggers wildly between sounds (hip-hop, reggaetón, bachata, Kate Bush, to name a few), unabashed in its attempt to go somewhere no artist has gone before. The very thing that makes Motomami brilliant has made Rosalía a controversial figure in popular culture. The Spanish musician’s fascination with taking existing genres and turning them on their heads has led her to places some think she doesn’t belong: namely, flamenco (Rosalía is from Catalonia; flamenco is from Andalucia—though she formally trained in the tradition for over a decade), and Latin genres such as reggaetón. Where some musicians may have scaled back or apologized, Rosalía has doubled down. Motomami is the work of an artist who has her eyes set on the whole world. Her journey to get there has certainly been imperfect. It’s also resulted in some of the most fearless and provocative music of the 21st century. Rosalía plays at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 26 at the Anthem in Southwest. theanthemdc.com. $89.50–$389.50.
For more music recommendations, check out our calendar.