The 10 Best Latin Albums of 2014
What do Romeo Santos and the trio of Niña Pastori, Lila Downs and Soledad have in common? They’ve all performed with Carlos Santana. And they made Billboard's year-end list of the best Latin albums of 2014. Read on for more rootsy sounds and unabashed romance hailing from all over Latin America and Spain. (And see our list of the 10 best Latin songs here.)
10. Pepe Aguilar - MTV Unplugged
The ranchera star has managed to make pop convincing while never leaving his roots far behind.
9. Juan Luis Guerra - Todo Tiene Su Hora
Guerra’s brand of bachata, so different from Santos’, is the perfect blend of sophistication and accessibility. This collection of love songs is set to bachata, salsa and son and features unexpected arrangements.
8. Ricardo Arjona - Viaje
An Arjona album is always a journey (no pun intended with the title, which means "journey"). Yes, Viaje is pure Arjona in its intellectual pop. But we still love it, and we still love discovering what he’s going to say.
7. Pablo Alboran - Terral
Alborán is the king of music in Spain. And hi fine pop, touched by tinges of flamenco, is finally making inroads here as well.
6. Marco Antonio Solís - Gracias Por Estar Aquí
Marco Antonio Solís just can't seem to write a bad song. His new studio set is no exception. Every track here is a gem, perfectly penned, perfectly said, perfectly crooned. Romance as it should be.
5. Calle 13 - Multi Viral
Love them or hate them, but there’s nothing out in the market like Calle 13. Whether you agree with their political stance or not, the fact is their lyrics are thought-provoking and often outright brilliant. They can also turn on tenderness (as in “Ojos Color Sol”), which speaks to their deep artistry.
4. Fonseca - Sinfónico
And while on the subject of pop/vallenato, how ballsy was it of Fonseca to set his hits to a symphony orchestra, with little support from the Colombian singer's traditional instrumentation? Very. A beautiful album that makes a statement.
3. Carlos Vives - Más + Corazón Profundo
Yes, he already did Corazón Profundo last year, and yes, some of the songs are very similar. But we still can’t get enough of Vives. And the lyrics are priceless.
2. Romeo Santos - Formula, Vol. 2
Santos has that uncanny knack for writing tracks that get stickier by the listen. Even if you’re not in love with bachata, you will be in love with these lyrics. Collabs with Drake, Marc Anthony and Nicki Minaj show that Santos has clout. But songs like “Cancioncitas de amor” and “Propuesta indecente” show he has the goods.
1. Soledad, Niña Pastori, Lila Downs – Raíz
Bringing together three great folk singers from three different countries -- Soledad from Argentina, Niña Pastori from Spain and Lila Downs from Mexico -- was a project that took years to gel. Combining the three singers’ disparate agendas seemed an eternal challenge. The final result, however, is stunning. Raíz includes emblematic tracks that have been popularized by each of the singers, featuring all three in every song. The mix of flamenco, huapangos and tanguillos is intoxicating, and the ability to stay true to folk roots while decidedly achieving a pop sound is commendable. While Raíz won't likely get airplay in the U.S., as an album it has already received accolades. It won the Latin Grammy for Best Folk Album and was nominated for Album of the Year.