Leonel García, Amor Pasado (Sony Music Mexico)
Mexican crooner Leonel García takes ranchera classics like "La Media Vuelta" and "En el Último Trago" and makes them his in his new album Amor Pasado – an homage to those achingly beautiful songs that we've all sung after a heartbreak or while in a state of despair. Emulating music icons José Alfredo Jiménez and Caetano Veloso's heartfelt and emotional renditions of these timeless ballads, often accompanied by a mariachi, García's take is just as poignant. "I had to become involved with these characters full of despair and sadness," García told Billboard. "Because I had to go into this very specific mood before recording a song, I'd often invite friends over where we'd drink and have deep conversations to have that cantina ambiance." The 13-track set features collaborations with artists like iLe, Natalia Lafourcade and Melissa Robles, among others. --- GRISELDA FLORES
Gilberto Santa Rosa, Colegas (InnerCat Music Group)
Santa Rosa’s ode to salsa greats cuts through the cuteness and the ploys and the fusions and goes straight to the point: An album of salsa classics –some deep cuts—built on authentic, classic arrangements made for the true fans of the genre. The socially-conscious “Apaga La Luz,” originally recorded by Celia Cruz and Willie Colón, reappears with Santa Rosa and Luisito Carrión. Pedro Luis Ferrer’s “Mario Auge,” also originally recorded by Cruz, is arranged by Isidro Infante as a lilting vocal duet between Santa Rosa and Michelle Brava. And Arsenio Rodríguez’s classic “La Fonda de Bienvenido” is rearranged with Maelo Ruiz. Santa Rosa titled his set Colegas –Colleagues, a nod not to necessarily the biggest streamers, but the most authentic purveyors of the genre. These are songs to savor in new, rich arrangements. Find a good dance partner and get going. --- LEILA COBO
Las Villa, Beéle, "Caníbales" (Warner Music Latina)
Showcasing Colombia’s rising talent in one song, Las Villa and Beéle join forces in “Caníbales,” produced by Andrés Torres and Mauricio Rengifo. With metaphorical and deep lyrics such as “Cannibals / you ate my heart but it's alright / you broke me all inside, you killed the feeling / you blocked me and sent me to hell, be careful with that,” “Canibales,” with its dramatic urban rhythms and classical instrumental undertones is a song about toxicity and self-destruction. According to an official press release, Las Villa “want to reflect the society in which we live from the perspective of a couple who lose all respect for each other and create a hell where they get used to living consumed in hatred and sadness.” Watch the music video co-directed by Sergio De Avila, Jerome Lehoucq, and Fernando Lugo below. --- J.R.
Ecko, "Mujer" (Universal Music Latino)
Ecko, one of the pioneers of the growing trap movement in Argentina, has made a name for himself with his slick and fiery freestyles. Now, he surprises fans in “Mujer,” flaunting his rather romantic side. In the sensual trap song, the 21-year-old artist sings about wanting to be with a woman who’s already taken. “Let me make you my woman / I became addicted to your body / I can’t stand that you’re with another man,” he sings. In the music video, Ecko teams up with Argentine TV host and influencer Romina Malaspina, who plays his love interest. “Mujer” forms part of Ecko’s forthcoming EP Young and Golden. --- J.R.
Los Cenzontles Juvenil, “La Morena”
Reflecting on connection and loss through traditional Mexican songs, Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy's backyard sessions provide a safe space and intimate setting for its students who are leaning on music to help them navigate the pandemic. In the latest music video of the backyard sessions, recorded in August, we see 17-year-old Oriana Tapia San Pablo who pays tribute to her mom with the achingly beautiful song "La Morena." "I see [my mom] as a very strong person and she is a strong person, intelligent and hopeful person in my life," Oriana says before she belts out lyrics like "when I listen to 'La Morena' I feel like crying, I remember about the mermaid who signs it in the ocean. Mi morena, mi morena." See our feature on the non-profit Bay Area arts school here. --- G.F.
Ozuna, ENOC (Sony Music Latin)
Ozuna opens up his El Negrito Ojos Claros with the epic, almost 8-minute long “Enemigos Ocultos,” which features Wisin, Juanka, Cosculluela, Arcangel and Myke Towers and acts as a manifesto for the genre. It’s an enticing aperitif for what may be Ozuna’s best album since Odisea, chock-full of immediately catchy hits that straddle the boundaries between urban and pop. “Del Mar” with Sia and Cat Doja is an example of seamless collaboration between genres and languages while the hooky “Una Locura” has J Balvin and Chencho Corleone singing in harmony, out of their usual comfort zone. Hats off to “Gracias,” Ozuna’s acoustic, heartfelt thanks to God, as well as last-minute addition “Despeinada,” a breezy duet with Camilo. ---L.C.
Omy de Oro, Rauw Alejandro "Estadia" (Young Boss Entertainment / Share That Music)
Up-and-coming trap artist Omy de Oro has teamed up with Rauw Alejandro for his latest single “Estadia.” Produced by Jowny Boom Boom and Hydro, the infectious reggaeton fuses Rauw’s sultry vocals with Omy’s deep verses. With a chorus that says “like a hotel / the stay was short / I still remember the sex in the Kia,” “Estadia” narrates the story of a man who had an unforgettable night with a special lady and wants to repeat the moment. With warm and cool hues, the music video was directed by Belgium in Puerto Rico. Watch it below. --- J.R.
Ozuna Talks New Album ‘ENOC,' Working With Doja Cat and Sia | Billboard