Julieta Venegas, "Bien o Mal"
Julieta Venegas is unique among Latin alternative artists in her mainstream pop appeal. Chalk it up to her ability to produce smart music that doesn't sound laboriously stylized or overwrought-a skill she demonstrates once again on her latest single, "Bien o Mal." Venegas keeps it simple with a few basic ingredients: a crunchy acoustic guitar, accordion, a touch of synth and spare, uncomplicated lyrics. With an almost reggae-like rhythm behind the hook, she approaches the uncertainty of new love with the honesty and sweetness of someone who's never known it. "If it's good/I thank you and I'll reciprocate," she sings in Spanish. "If it's bad, I'll cry as I never have/ Meanwhile, I'm betting it all to find out." As with Venegas' other accessible, quirky tunes, expect to find this one synched in a commercial at some point. -Ayala Ben-Yehuda