Prince Royce’s ‘Phase II’: Mixing and matching to expand bachata sound
By Sarah Godfrey,
Prince Royce Phase II
There isn’t a lot of crossover between the music played at ballparks and the music heard in the hallways of middle schools — the former tends to be jock rock and decades-old commercial rap, the latter is usually pop and of-the-moment commercial rap. But every once in a while, a song is so widely appealing that it can be enjoyed by major leaguers and teen girls alike. The Jay-Z/Alicia Keys N.Y.C. anthem “Empire State of Mind” is a semi-recent example of one such tune; Usher’s “Yeah!” is a less current one. Those tracks are now joined by “It’s My Time” from sweet-voiced bachata singer Prince Royce. The high-energy dance track, sung in Spanish and English, is included on Royce’s latest album, “Phase II,” and it is equally loved by 13-year-old girls and Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who has adopted the song as a theme of sorts.
That sort of broad success is not new to Royce, whose 2010 bilingual cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” was a multinational, multigenerational hit. “Phase II” pulls in a wide swath of listeners, yes, by mixing Spanish- and English-language tracks, but there are other methods, too. “Addicted” starts out sounding like a Jason Mraz ballad until a conga rhythm comes in about a minute into the song. Lead single “Las Cosas Pequenas” presents as a standard radio R&B tune until the bachata elements come in and Royce starts singing about the little things that make a relationship special. All of the mixing and matching not only expands the definition of bachata, a genre with roots in the Dominican Republic, but the other styles that are folded in as well.
But perhaps “Phase II’s” greatest feat of wide reach is “Dulce” an earnest, tender song about young single motherhood that manages to serve as both cautionary tale and anthem of uplift — and could be yet another piece of music that speaks to young women and professional athletes alike.
— Sarah Godfrey
“It’s My Time,” “Dulce,” “Las Cosas Pequenas”