Local musicians explain why “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is such a hit
As the music news cycle continues to be hijacked by Kanye West’s “I’ll Let You Finish” style public collapse – stories about her using Instagram to ignite her ex Kim Kardashian and current boyfriend Pete Davidson were all the rage before the Super Bowl – everyone else not involved in this shitty sandwich flocked to the hottest music content healthy.
For the third consecutive week, Disney holds the top spot on the Billboard in the charts with “We are not talking about Bruno”.
The song is taken from the animated film Encanta, about a family named Madrigal who have magical powers and live in an enchanted (and enviably quaint) house in a Colombian town. The song was written by near-EGOT winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, but it’s still a surprise hit: There hasn’t been a Disney No. 1 hit since. Aladdin gave karaoke-loving couples the foreplay track known as “A Whole New World.” Not even with anything Elton John’s The Lion King. And although the kids loved Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go” from Frozenyou really imagined that he was playing everywhere.
It is also quite unusual for a No. 1 spot to belong to a track with six singers. Actors Carolina Gaitán, Mauro Castillo, Adassa, Rhenzy Feliz, Diane Guerrero and Stephanie Beatriz are all on the song, which is about how a family member named Bruno supposedly sucks. The chorus “We don’t talk about Bruno-non-non-non” is undeniably catchy. Thematically, it’s a bit like The beauty and the Beast“Belle” in which an entire village sings about how “special” Belle is because she loves… to read.
But the past few years have taught us that anything is possible, even for a Latin-flavored Disney showtune to become a hit.
The song’s success, however, prompted the heavy analysis of NPR and other publications, so we turned to local experts for their professional advice.
Christian Valdés, a Colombian-born pianist, composer and musical director who plays in various Dallas-based bands, said, “I can see how catchy it is and how popular the songs from the Disney movies are becoming. simply because of the number of children who listen to them and watch them over and over again.
“I don’t like the song that much, though – at least I wouldn’t buy it to listen to on my favorite playlists,” says Valdés. “I love the fact that something with Latin American components becomes popular around the world. For me, that’s something I can be proud of as Latin Americans.”
Valdés says he thinks the song “is well produced, like anything at this level of the industry”.
“I really like the fact that it incorporates several Latin American elements,” he continues. “In musical terms, it’s a slow song, almost like a cha-cha. Similar to Camilla Cabello’s song ‘Havana’, which is a slow cha-cha with some pop elements that make it more digestible by most people. non-Latin Americans, or even for Latin Americans who didn’t grow up listening to some of the other more complex styles like salsa, merengue, rumba, guaguancó, etc. They are all much more difficult to dance and digest, still beautiful and rich in many ways, but musically more complex.”
Miranda, who is best known for making a worldwide hit on an unlikely topic with the musical hamiltonhas a seasoned nurse’s ability to read the pulse when it comes to current musical tastes, as Valdés notes.
“This song also uses things like pop chord progressions and rap, which are also things that newer generations identify with a lot,” he says. “So all of these elements combined make it an attractive product for children and some adults.”
“It’s not my favorite Disney song, but it doesn’t really matter because I’ll never forget it – a secret to making hits that Manuel understands and uses to his advantage.” –Kierra Gray
Kierra Gray, a musician and Disney scholar whose band often sells out venues such as the Kessler Theater performing nostalgic adult Disney songs, also likens “Bruno” to Cabello’s 2018 hit.
“When trying to tell a story, theatrical writers often refer to other compositions for inspiration,” says Gray. “‘We don’t Talk about Bruno’ features the same chord progression as Camilla Cabello’s hits ‘Havana’ and Carlos Santana’s ‘Smooth’. The structure of this song has already been proven. It’s not my favorite Disney track, but it doesn’t really matter because I’ll never forget it – a secret to making hits that Manuel understands and uses to his advantage.”
Victor Rimach, a Peruvian-born musician and promoter who is expanding the Latin music soundscape in Dallas, says he only heard the song twice and couldn’t finish the movie.
But a great song should stand on its own outside of the context of the movie. Rimach knows this and compares the slanted no-no-notes of “Bruno” to the low-pitched vocals of “down, down, down, down” in a hip-hop and club classic.
“When I first heard the song, the first thing that came to mind was how similar the ‘no, no, no, no’ part was to Lil Jon’s ‘Get Low’,” he said. “It got me thinking about how commercially successful songs tend to have catchy melodic lines that sound like other previous hit songs. It’s definitely a song that lingers in your head – a great recipe for repetitive parts. I guess my final opinion is: great commercial song.”
“We’re Not Talking About Bruno” may have won the popular vote among listeners, but the Academy prefers its more traditional sister song “Dos Oruguitas,” which is up for the Oscar for Best Song. Rimach says the song reminds him of an old track called “Harmony” by Spanish band Conexión.
Whatever the inspiration behind Encantohaunting soundtrack, it has a fan in RC Williams, Erykah Badu’s musical director.
“Definitely one of Disney’s best songs,” Williams says of “Bruno.” “It kinda brightens up your day listening to it, super well produced, I love the animation, the song is so catchy and the vocals are mixed together really well. I love the breakdowns at certain points in the songs and the dynamics .
“I can see why this is going #1, I love the lyrics and definitely the hook, I heard the song and it made me want to see the movie. Disney did a great job with this song.”