When Ozuna issued Odisea, his 2017 debut long-player, he had been on the scene delivering reggaeton and trap singles for three years. The album signaled a sea change as it found the artist aiming for listeners who drove the set to sales and streaming records on the Top Latin Albums chart. He also swept the most prestigious Billboard Latin Music Awards, won Best New Latin Artist at the iHeartRadio Music Awards, and became the most streamed artist on YouTube. For many artists, the sophomore album exerts undue pressure -- from fans and industry types -- to deliver more.
Ozuna does exactly that on Aura, a staggering work of wide-ranging maximalism. While it leans reggaeton (in simpatico fashion to J Balvin's Vibras and Maluma's F.A.M.E.), Ozuna doubles down on a particular kind of urban romantico, textured with electro-R&B, Latin pop, and tropical. He brings back familiar collaborators as well. He and Romeo Santos team on the sparse and breezy "Ibiza," while Anuel AA aids the singer on a pair of cuts, including "Pasado y Presente," a set highlight. Other guests include Balvin and Natti Natasha on the spacy "Sígueme los Pasos," Nicky Jam on the smooth, eros-laden "Haciéndolo," and Cardi B on the dancehall banger "La Modelo." Wisin & Yandel add an urban edge to the bumping midtempo "Quiero Más," as veteran Arthur Hanlon duets with Ozuna on the glorious, confessional title track. The slow-burning passion in solo cuts such as "Devuélveme" and the steamy "Hola" is also strong on this 20-track collection. Fans of Odisea will find even more to like on the abundantly more consistent Aura, while newcomers to Ozuna's music will delight in this slab of restless urbano experimentation.