The 20 Best Latin Songs of 2018: Critics&#zero39; Picks


Regardless of what the Grammys might imagine, Latin music was dominated by city beats in 2018 -- extra particularly that syncopated reggaet贸n beat that’s change into our new definition of pop.

Reggaet贸n’s inescapable rhythm appeared to permeate each nook of our sonic panorama this yr, mixing seamlessly with pop, with rap, with rock, with all the things, like slightly black gown. Not that there was something flawed with that: With its infinite catchiness, some nice melodies as a complement and an usually beneficiant dollop of naughtiness, that reggaet贸n beat made us sit up, take notice -- and very often, dance.

But within the midst of that syncopated chan...cha-chan, there have been different songs that explored boundaries in their very own approach, mixing genres and kinds with defiance and a message and typically simply lovely simplicity. Clearly, the nicely of Latin music is simply beginning to speak in confidence to listeners at massive.  Here are our picks for the highest 20 Latin songs of the yr.

20. Becky G & Natti Natasha, “Sin pajama”

The notion of two women doing naughty issues has been just about non-existent in Latin music. “Sin Pijama” (“No Pajamas”) upends the picture of the good woman, with stars Becky G and Natti Natasha unapologetically swapping traces like “I’ve at all times been a woman, however I’m a tramp in mattress.” The undeniable fact that “Sin pajama” is an eminently catchy pop-reggaet贸n observe solely helps its trigger. -- LEILA COBO

19. Monsieur Perin茅, “Bailar contigo”

The Colombian trio with the funky title made a reputation for themselves once they received the perfect new artist award on the 2015 Latin Grammys for his or her eclectic and sometimes quirky mixture of sounds, which vary from swing to pop. “Bailar contigo” is much extra mainstream however no much less beautiful for it: a lilting samba combined with tropical beats and carried by singer Catalina Garc铆a’s candy guileless voice, hovering with subtlety.  -- L.C.

18. Karol G, “Mi cama”

“My mattress makes noise and makes noise,” says Karol G saucily, injecting all of the woman energy she will be able to muster into “Mi cama.” The tune turned one of many greatest hits of the summer time due to its catchy, sheets-shaking melody. Unapologetically horny and insistent about girls reigning in mattress, "Mi cama" additionally was gifted a remix with J Balvin and Nicky Jam, which helped Karol G land her first No. 1 on any Billboard airplay chart when it topped Latin Rhythm Airplay in August. -- JESSICA ROIZ

17. Calibre 50, “Mi Sorpresa Fuiste Tu”

Calibre 50 actually needed everybody to fall in love in 2018 with their single “Mi Sorpresa Fuiste Tu.”  The romantic Norte帽o observe is totally charged with heartfelt lyrics about lastly discovering “the one” and making infinite guarantees, with its heavy use of tuba making for an unlikely accompaniment to the gradual melody.  Even males in hats know of affection: “Mi Sorpresa Fuiste Tu” is such a lovely and relatable love tune that it topped the Regional Airplay chart, leaping to No. 1 in September and changing into Calibre’s 12th No. 1.  -- J.R.

16. Mon Laferte, “El beso”

Chilean singer Mon Laferte’s burlesque vocals and Latin massive band stylings carry playfulness again to Latin pop. Punched with a cumbia beat, murga horns and old school “ooh-la-la,” “El beso” is a celebration tune for all audiences. -- JUDY CANTOR-NAVAS

15. Pedro Cap贸, “Calma”

Pedro Cap贸 gave a romantic vibe to summer time 2018 (in between too many reggaet贸n songs) together with his single "Calma." The tune fuses gradual rhythms of reggae and was launched together with a music video that exhibits the seashores and great thing about the Caribbean. Even in its subsequent remix that includes Farruko, the tune is an invite to chill out and luxuriate in life. -- SUZETTE FERNANDEZ

14.  Maluma & Shakira, “Clandestino”

After testing the waters -- relatively explosively -- with “Chantaje,” Shakira and Maluma teamed up once more for “Clandestino,” a horny, sultry reggaet贸n jam of give and take. The single has a minimalist sensibility; there's little accompaniment save for the beat and sparse piano chords. But there’s Shakira and her Colombian twin singing collectively in teasing banter. We know nicely that Shakira is married to Piqu茅, but it surely’s nonetheless enjoyable to hearken to this aspect flirtation. -- L.C.

13. Luis Fonsi & Stefflon Don feat. Karol G, “Calypso” (Remix)

Luis Fonsi heated the summer time of 2018 with “Calypso,” his pleasant collab with English rapper and signer Stefflon Don, after which he pushed issues up a notch with a follow-up remix that includes Karol G. It helped transfer the frisky observe to No. 1 on Latin Airplay (chart dated Sept. 15) giving Don his first chief on the chart and Karol G her second. -- S.F.

12. Alejandro Sanz, “No tengo nada”

Spanish pop star Alejandro Sanz returned three years after his final studio album with “No tengo nada,” a tune that's spectacular in its simplicity. Remaining true to his gravelly talk-singing model and his everyman standpoint, Sanz’s love ballad is a lesson within the energy of humility. -- J.C.N.

11. Ile, “Odio”

Ile’s “Odio” particularly honors the victims of Cerro Maravilla, a 1978 bloodbath of younger independence activists by Puerto Rican police. But this visceral observe that speaks of “partitions, limitations and wires” completely captures this previous yr’s world tensions. The Puerto Rican artist, whose power as a soloist was clear as quickly as she emerged from the group Calle 13, the place she rapped via her teenagers, steadily sings out in opposition to hate (“let hate die of starvation as a result of nobody feeds it”) in opposition to a backdrop of disquieting beats that gallop to a boiling level, as her vocals change into extra insistent and uncontrolled. Reclaiming the rhythm of Puerto Rican bomba, and referencing the Latin American protest custom and worldwide city genres, “Odio” remembers each the revisionist people of Violeta Parra and Kate Tempest’s pressing spoken poetry. -- J.C.N.

10. Bad Bunny, Casper Magico, Darell, Nicky Jam, Nio Garcia, Ozuna, “Te Bot茅” 

“Te Bot茅” was born whereas Hurricane Maria was passing via Puerto Rico. Perhaps that’s why Casper Magico and Nio Garcia’s tune is so stuffed with righteous anger at a dishonest lover: “I kicked you out,” they sing plaintively, lower than a minute in. On the tune's seven-minute remix, the chorus will get repeated by a parade of visitor artists -- together with superstars Nicky Jam, Bad Bunny and Ozuna -- which understandably turned the tune into a large hit. -- S.F.

9. Fito Paez, “Tu vida mi vida”

In an period of reggaet贸n beats, Argentine pop/rock icon Fito Paez refused to take that route, opting as a substitute for dreamy rock to specific love. “Tu vida mi vida” ("Your Life My Life") is a mid-tempo rock observe with lush sonic padding appropriate for sweetly gushing lyrics (“Nothing is unimaginable along with her phantasm... your entire universe connects with our love”), from a person who has no qualms about saying precisely what he feels. -- L.C.

eight. Daddy Yankee, “Dura”

At this level, Daddy Yankee stands out as the longest-tenured reggaetonero on the charts. But the person has most undoubtedly not misplaced his contact for producing hits, inserting a handful on Billboard’s year-end Hot Latin Songs record. Our favourite was “Dura": More reggae than reggaet贸n, this irresistible dance observe sits on a thumping beat that makes it a super get together -- and Zumba -- anthem. It's no shock the only spawned a whole bunch of “Dura” challenges, turned a viral hit and ended 2018 at No. three on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs year-end record.  -L.C.

7. Christian Nodal, “No te contaron mal”

Christian Nodal shocked everybody when he dropped his single “No te contaron mal” in September. The manufacturing not solely confirmed a unique aspect to the Mexican singer-songwriter musically but in addition bodily, with Nodal flaunting his mature look and new tattoo sleeve within the music video. The lyrics in "No te contaron mal" show his flirtatious and rebellious methods, after coming clear a couple of one-night stand. -- J.R.

6. Trending Tropics & Vetusta Morla, “Cyber Monday”

Trending Tropics is the producer-driven idea by Calle 13’s Visitante and singer-songwriter, Vicente Garc铆a. “Cyber Monday” options the distinct vocals of Spanish indie-rock band Vetusta Morla’s frontman, Pucho (Juan Pedro Mart铆), and Carlos Alomar (David Bowie, Soda Stereo) on guitar. The observe’s intro pushes an undertone of synth-generated exhilaration, which builds all through the verses, propelled by a punchy disco beat. The result's a funk-bathed tune with digital nuances and loopy guitar riffs. Its lyrics? Let’s simply go away that as much as Vetusta Morla’s guitarist Guille Galv谩n and Alomar: nostalgia gen茅tica animal (“animal genetic nostalgia”) and no hay piscoan谩lisis que pueda asumir (“there is no such thing as a psychoanalysis that I can undertake”.) P.B.

5. Nicky Jam & J Balvin, “X”

Nicky Jam and J Balvin’s “X” fuses dancehall and reggae, leading to a brand new Caribbean sound within the city style. Originally written by J Balvin for his buddy Nicky Jam (who in turned requested Balvin to be on the tune), X’s now-recognizable signature hook and dance transfer impressed legions of followers to tackle “X” challenges, propelling the observe to No 1 on Billboard’s Latin Airplay chart. -- S.F.

four. Bad Bunny & Drake, "MIA”

This yr sparked a few of the most attention-grabbing collaborations in Latin music historical past, together with hip-hop celebrity Drake linking up with Bad Bunny for the sultry "MIA." The two artists shocked followers when the only dropped, with Drake flaunting his Spanish-speaking abilities as he did in Romeo Santos' "Odio" a pair years earlier. The infectious reggaet贸n observe, with romantic-meets-kinky lyrics jumped 9-1 on the Hot Latin Songs artwork in late October, changing into each Bad Bunny and Drake's second No. 1 on the chart. -- J.R.

three. Reik feat. Ozuna and Wisin, “Me Niego”

Reik’s pull-at-your-strings ode to misplaced love -- watch the video so you'll be able to cry alongside whereas listening -- noticed the Mexican band trio be a part of forces with Ozuna and Wisin for one of the crucial profitable pop/city collaborations to this point. "Me Niego " turned Reik’s first chart topper on the Latin Airplay chart (dated May 26). -- S.F.

2. Cardi B, J Balvin & Bad Bunny, “I Like It”

You may say Cardi B’s “I Like It” is the last word Latin crossover observe: an English-language tune carried out by a Dominican-American rapper that samples a observe by a Bronx-born Nuyorican and includes a Puerto Rican and a Colombian rapping in Spanish and English. In truth, the brand new “I Like It” pays beautiful homage to the unique “I Like It Like That,” a boogaloo hit from Pete Rodriguez launched in 1967 and revisited by The Blackout All Stars in 1994 for the movie of the identical title, with Tito Nieves on vocals. And then, alongside comes Cardi, merely saying “I Like It" to the next: , diamonds, Balenciagas and extra. Her ode to materials issues reaches its apex when Bad Bunny and J Balvin step in to strut their stuff in Spanish. And Balvin boasting about his Billboard cowl? We like that, definitely. -- L.C.

1. Rosal铆a, “Malamente” 

Bursting with poetic lyrical imagery, “Malamente” is filled with forceful handclaps and an avalanche of sounds borrowed from flamenco’s roots, which mesh with modern city elements. The first single off the album El Mal Querer, the tune was written by C. Tangana (Rosal铆a’s ex), El Guincho and Rosal铆a. The stylistic musical collision makes the 25-year-old Rosalia a trailblazer of a style that leans extra on the senses than on a mannequin that may be grasped. “Malamente” is city, flamenco and R&B, all fused in an uncharted area. -- P.B.