New Music Latin is a compilation of the best new Latin songs and albums recommended by Billboard Latin and Billboard Español editors. Check out this week’s picks below.
Nicki Nicole, ALMA (Sony Music Latin)
What happens when your heart, soul and brain strike a balance? You get Nicki Nicole’s ALMA, a set that thrives on emotions (“DISPARA”), spirituality (“Tienes Mi Alma”) and reason (“NO Voy a Llorar”). A departure from Parte De Mí, which dropped two years ago, this new album is sonically less experimental but its lyrics are more raw, mature and intimate. In ALMA, Nicki takes fans on self-reflective journey. She starts off with “Ya No,” a soulful yet dramatic piano-led ballad that puts her striking vocals at the forefront as she sings “I’m not looking for anything from you. I’m no longer there. I don’t know who will take care of you. I don’t know who will heal you.”
It’s a theme that is carried throughout the album. It’s an awakening to self-love. The opening track is followed by the attitude-heavy hip-hop song “DISPARA,” a swaggy collab (“Like me, there’s only a few so you’re going to regret it”) with Milo J. Other collabs include “8AM” with Young Miko, the Rels B-assisted “qué le pasa conmigo?” and “CAEN LAS ESTRELLAS” with YSY A. “So many people I admire formed a part in it, producers as well as others in the industry,” Nicki says in a statement. “I truly feel that it’s a great album, it took a while, but it was worth it.” — GRISELDA FLORES
The Guapos, “Nunca Te Quise” (One Little Blue Records)
Fly dappers with a sardonic edge, the supergroup troupe — composed of Adán Jodorowsky, El David Aguilar, Jay de La Cueva and Leiva of the famed Mexican music scene — team up here to present The Guapos. On “Nunca Te Quise” (or “I never loved you”), the self-proclaimed handsome foursome croon sweet harmonies in rockabilly fashion, recalling classics like Ritchie Valens’ “Donna” or Los Teen Tops’ “Pensaba En Ti” — but with a more sinister spin. “I never loved you my love, you have to accept it/ I was just a manipulator/ And don’t be sad my love if I hurt you/ What more do you want to run away from me?,” they sing tenderly in Spanish.
“The song’s lyrics are a parody of a lover who, whether out of insecurity (or not), acts arrogant in the face of a potential breakup and is even willing to own his flaws. It has cynicism,” the band says in a press release. “The irony is that despite the song’s acidic lyrics, the music is actually very sweet, and that contrast is perhaps what we’ve always liked about the song.” Directed by Charlotte Kemp Muhl, the music video sees the mischievous men channeling a Clockwork Orange kind of vibe, but unlike the song’s lyrics, the visual gives these heartbreakers a just conclusion. Produced by Jodorowsky, “Nunca Te Quise” is the group’s second single from an upcoming album due out later this year. They are slated to tour Spain in June and July. — ISABELA RAYGOZA
Christian Alicea, Yo (Therapist Music)
In 2019, Christian Alicea entered the mainstream realm by performing urban music — but along his journey, he discovered his sound and color, which today are reflected in his all-salsa, debut studio album Yo (Me). Home to 16 tracks, including collaborations with Nacho, Maffio, Rafa Pabon, and more, Yo is a musical testament to not only his Puerto Rican culture but also who he is as an artist — a singer, a songwriter, and an instrumentalist. Alicea pens lyrics about love, sentiment, and personal stories, all backed by his sugary vocals and captivating Tropical fusions, as heard in the focus single “Aroma.” Other standout tracks in Yo are “Bendicion Mame y Pape,” a bolero-infused bop dedicated to his faithful supporters; “Se Le Nota,” a quick-paced salsa with DJ Nelson and Alejandro Armes; the DJ Buddha-assisted “Que Rica,” a merengue ripiao recorded with a live band; and his bachata effort in “Se Acabó.” Stream and listen to Yo above. — JESSICA ROIZ
Juanes, Vida Cotidiana (Universal Music Latino)
Juanes reflects on his relationship with his wife and children, and the problems that affect his native country, in his new album Vida Cotidiana. They’re not particularly new subjects for the Colombian rocker known for his deep and honest lyrics about love and social commitment. But at 50, his introspective journey is more mature and fascinating. From the dark indie rock of “Gris” to the Juan Luis Guerra-assisted “Cecilia,” an upbeat love song dedicated to his wife, Juanes gets deeply personal as he navigates through feelings of frustration and sadness during the COVID pandemic — when the globetrotter was living for the first time with his family 24/7, in what was ultimately a very important and humbling learning experience, he recently told Billboard Español.
A return to his rock roots with electric guitar — this time tinged with funk, son and cumbia, among other rhythms — the 11-song set was produced by Juanes and Sebastian Krys, and includes the previously released “Amores Prohibidos,” “Ojalá” and “Veneno,” an empowering and funky tune about toxic relationships. In addition to Guerra, Juanes invited other artists to help him write. He gets assists from Puerto Rican singer-songwriter GALE on the pop-rock standout “Ojalá,” from Tommy Torres on the reggae-infused “El Abrazo” and from Cuban poet Alexis Díaz Pimienta on “Mayo,” a song inspired by the marches of recent years that led to violent situations in Colombia during the month of May (when Labor Day is celebrated there.) Another compelling track, “Canción Desaparecida”, about the disappeared in Colombia, was recorded with Mabiland. Vida Cotidiana — which translates to “Everyday Life” — is a capsule of Juanes’ life and spirit, which will make you reflect on our own. — SIGAL RATNER-ARIAS
Jesús Adrian Romero, El Cielo Aún Espera (Vástago Producciones)
Mexican singer-songwriter Jesús Adrian Romero launches his most recent album El Cielo Aún Espera this week. The famous representative of the Christian genre collaborates with his compatriot Adriel Favela for this eponymous single from the album, delivering an appealing pop ballad with elements of regional Mexican. The unexpected duet talks about enjoying everyday life, not with the artists’ eyes set on the future, but treasuring what they have received in the present — accompanied by the nostalgic sob of an accordion. In Romero’s words about its launch, “Many times when we talk about spiritual life we build a wall between the every day and what we consider divine. Spirituality and earthly life seem to be two conflicting ideas as if one had to be given up to achieve the other… What I would like to convey with this album is that we are human beings who enjoy life, love, have fun, laugh, and cry, but in the midst of everything, our center, our gravity is God”.
The album, produced by the renowned Kiko Cibrián, runs seven tracks — including “Te Esperare,” a pop ballad which Romero writes as a riddle about hope, two versions of “Amo Todo de ti” (modern folk and pop) both dedicated to his wife, and a few cuts released ahead of the album, including “A Vivir” (with Jesús Molina), “Fue tu Amor” (with Coalo Zamorano) and “No ha Sido en Vano”. The latter is a piano ballad that invites you not to become resigned from doing good — even if it seems like it has not led to good results, these good deeds have not been in vain. Jesús Adrián Romero, one of the few Christian artists who dares to decentralize his music and collaborate with other artists outside the genre, shows once again that he is a poet of composition, with lyrics that manage to zoom in on the emotional complexity of being human in many existential-but-everyday issues — and through his music, invite his listeners to introspection. — LUISA CALLE