A Bilingual Ballad | “LLYLM” by Rosalía


Marion Reilly, Writer/Volunteer

I’ll be honest, I only started listening to Rosalía recently. As someone who loves music in all different languages, especially Spanish, I’ve heard her name floating around for quite some time; however, it wasn’t until I actually sat down and listened to MOTOMAMI all the way through that I realized what all the hype was about. Rosalía doesn’t do anything the conventional way. I can’t even begin to describe the type of music she makes, though it’s somewhat of a mixture of pop urbano, reggaeton and traditional flamenco with a very experimental twist. She combines genres most people wouldn’t dare put together — as she combined reggaeton and jazz in “Saoko” — like some kind of mad genius, and somehow it works. Her newest single “LLYLM,” an acronym for “Lie Like You Love Me,” is her first release of 2023 and one of her only songs with a sizeable amount of English lyrics. It’s refreshing and different from many of her more recent projects, but still screams Rosalía.

The song begins with her signature percussion, traditional flamenco clapping, alongside slower, smoother R&B notes. When I first listened to the song, I had no preconceived notions, as I hadn’t seen her tease it on TikTok in early January; it simply popped up and, excited, I clicked it, and was genuinely shocked to hear her singing in English. With Spanish verses in between, Rosalía belts out an English chorus in an airy, melodic voice, introducing it by saying, “lo diré en inglés y me entenderás” (“I’ll say it in English and you’ll understand me”):


 “I don’t need honesty /

Baby, lie like you love me /

Lie like you love me /

Cover me in a dream /

I’ll be yours, our fantasy.”

The song is a sharp contrast to the rebellious vibes of MOTOMAMI, as Rosalía softly implores someone to love her back. The desperate, candid lyrics express her sentiments in a very vulnerable way, while simultaneously being so catchy you just want to sing along. The Spanish verses and dramatic hymn of a bridge connected with the poppy, bright English chorus displays Rosalía’s uncanny ability to seamlessly fuse genres (and languages) together, creating something completely new.