The cover art for Anitta‘s fourth album shows the Brazilian pop superstar (who’s also huge in Portugal and swathes of Central and South America) moving in to kiss herself. It’s an appealingly provocative image that suggests the 26-year-old singer-songwriter doesn’t exactly lack confidence. Then again, why shouldn’t Anitta be feeling herself? Since breaking through in Brazil around six years ago, she’s racked up more than 3.5 billion YouTube views and been named the world’s 15th most influential artist on social media.
She’s also built enough of a UK fanbase to headline London’s 5,500-capacity Royal Albert Hall last summer, and ‘Kisses’ clearly has one eye on the post-‘Despacito’ English-language market. It features collaborations with Snoop Dogg, Rae Swemmurd’s Swae Lee and Swedish DJ Alesso, as well as Latin pop artists including Ludmilla and Prince Royce. Its 10 tracks – each of which has an accompanying video, Beyoncé-style – are sung in a mix of three different languages. Spanish, Portuguese and English. Anitta has described this as “the most risky [thing] I’ve ever done in my career”.
But thankfully, ‘Kisses’ still sounds and feels like a Latin pop album. The catchy Alesso-produced midtempo jam ‘Get to Know Me’ is the only track sung entirely in English, and Snoop Dogg’s guest verse on ‘Onda Differente’ is enjoyably jarring. “Anitta, Anitta, so glad to meet ya! / I’m big Snoop Dogg, and I’ll be the feature,” he raps, seemingly trying to remind Anitta – who’s previously worked with everyone from Major Lazer to J Balvin – how the whole musical collaboration thing works.
Elsewhere, ‘Kisses’ creates a sleek and cohesive blend of reggaeton bops – such as ‘Atención’ and ‘Tu Y To’ – and aromatic, trap-flecked cuts including ‘Rosa’ and ‘Poquito’. The English-language segments are rarely overdone and won’t cause language tutors Rosetta Stone any loss of business. “Bartender dame otro shot,” Anitta sings on ‘Sin Miedo’, which translates as “Bartender give me another shot” – in fairness, it’s a universal sentiment.
‘Kisses’ ends with its most musically surprising track, ‘Você Mentiu’, a languid, jazzy collaboration with Brazilian pop legend (and leading light of the Tropicália movement) Caetano Veloso. It’s another show of confidence from an album that has no need to break the 30-minute mark: lean and beat-driven; its 10 tracks canter by so infectiously that it’s no surprise Anitta feels like kissing herself.