Year In Music, Critic's Picks: 10 Latin Songs We Loved

Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images For Univison Communications
Chino Y Nacho perform onstage during Univision's 28th Edition of Premio Lo Nuestro A La Musica Latina on Feb. 18, 2016 in Miami.  

It was a year in Latin where even the most danceable tracks made us swoon. From our Latin team to you, our 10 top songs of 2016.

10. Julión Álvarez y su Norteño Banda, “Afuera está lloviendo"

Julión Álvarez can straddle pure norteño and romantic banda with equal ease. In “Afuera está lloviendo” he mans up, allowing the girl to leave because he simply isn’t doing good by her. A classic break-up song with a twist, it reminds us that Banda can be poignant. -- Leila Cobo

9. Nicky Jam “Hasta el amanecer”

Known for his sultry and flirtatious lyrics that can sweep anyone off their feet, “Hasta el amanecer” is no exception. Nicky Jam gets romantic with this upbeat reggaetón hit that spent seven consecutive weeks as No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs. -- Griselda Flores

8. Chino y Nacho “Andas en mi cabeza”

The Venezuelan duo’s upbeat track is perhaps one of the most romantic tracks of the year. “Andas en mi cabeza” ft. Daddy Yankee is a celebration of love with lyrics like, “porque me la paso imaginando que contigo me casé y por siempre te amé (because I spend my time imagining that I married you and that I loved you forever).” Swoon. -- G.F.

7. Carlos Vives y Shakira “La bicicleta”

This upbeat vallenato-reggaetón was the soundtrack of my summer. The Latin Grammy award-winning song about an epic ride bike along the coast of Colombia became a smash hit instantly and an international phenomenon thanks to catchy lyrics and a danceable beat. From kids on social media to commuters on a train in Madrid, “La bicicleta” had everyone on their feet. -- G.F.

6. Kevin Johansen Ft. Miranda Johansen, “Es Como el Dia”

Latin alternative zen philosopher Kevin Johansen’s irresistible song reminds us to remember the little things. With a simple duet performed with his daughter, Miranda, Johansen provided a welcome antidote for 2016 blues. -- Judy CantorNavas

5. Diego El Cigala, “Moreno Soy”

Flamenco singer Diego El Cigala, who first captured international audiences performing Cuban classics with Bebo Valdes, this year lent his genius to salsa. On “Moreno Soy,” his album Indestructible’s emblematic track, Cigala brings the deep song to the Sonora Ponceña classic, saluting salsa and flamenco’s shared outsider roots on a dance song that goes to the bone. -- J.C.N.

4. Deorro feat. Elvis Crespo, “Bailar”

DJ Deorro grew up listening to, of all things, Elvis Crespo, courtesy of his DJ dad who’d play the Dominican star’s high-voltage merengue in quinceañeras and weddings in Southern California. Fast forward nearly 20 years, and you can hear again why Crespo’s “Suavemente” was a huge global hit that back in the day made it onto the Billboard Hot 100. “Bailar” is a love letter to its source of inspiration, beginning with Crespo’s trademark, nasal call, then devolving into an irresistible dance beat that marries merengue to EDM. Over 4 million Shazams can’t be wrong. -- L.C.


3. Shakira feat. Maluma, “Chantaje”

Shakira has moved her hips to great effect in the past. But moving them alongside hottie newcomer Maluma has been combustible. “Chantaje” not only entered the Hot 100, an anomaly for a Spanish only track, but it’s also become the Spanish language video to most quickly reach over 100 million views. Sultry reggaetón with electronic touches, “Chantaje” is the kind of track that sticks after one listen and makes us work up a sweat in the gym (and the dance floor). But let’s be honest, the video's steamy bathroom scene doesn’t hurt either. Who knew urinals could be so sexy? -- L.C.

2. J Balvin feat. Pharrell & BIA, "Safari"

Balvin's "Safari" is the kind of song that you don't get tired of listening. While the Colombian singer is known for his reggaetón tracks, the infectious beat of this reggae-infused tune definitely stands out from Balvin's album Energía. And I'll admit, listening to Pharrell sing in español is a real treat. -- G.F.

1. Enrique Iglesias "Duele el corazón" ft. Wisin

Just when you think nothing could top (or at least match) Iglesias' 2014 smash hit "Bailando," he drops the sultry, pop-reggaetón track "Duele el corazón" ft. Wisin that had us hooked from the get go with its hummable riff and catchy/playful lyrics. Whether on the radio or on television, the Latin Grammy-nominated and chart-topping song was blasting all summer long. -- G.F.


Billboard Year in Music 2016