The catchiest Latin songs usually fall into one of two categories: the ones that we can’t stop dancing to, and the emotional ballads that send us into an ecstatic fit of histrionics as we sing along. Poetry combines with rhythm in the perfect chorus of a Latin song, whether the words are in Spanish, English or Portuguese. For Chorus Week at Billboard, we’ve rounded up ten of the 21st Century’s best.
Don Omar ft. Lucenzo, “Danza Kuduro”
Not surprisingly, some of the best choruses of Latin songs are step-by-step instructions for dancing to them. Don Omar just has to put his hand in the air and we follow with “la mano arriba, cintura sola, media vuelta.” The urban latino superstar’s nod to the infectious Angolan dance kuduro, featuring Lucenzo, spent 15 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart and 32 weeks atop Latin Digital Songs. It lives on as a zumba favorite.
Calle 13, “Atrevete te, te”
Although it’s quite wordy, this cheeky chorus has a magnetic appeal. It opens the song and sets the comical tone, even injecting English to rhyme “lighter” and “wiper” with “street fighter.” A staple Latin party song, the carefree wittiness is too fun not to sing along to.
Daddy Yankee, “Gasolina”
In 2004, Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina” introduced the world to the music that everyone would soon know as reggaeton. It helped that the gritty beat accompanied an easy-to-sing chorus. As the song steamed up dance floors in the summer of 2005, “dame más gasolina” became a widely heard catch phrase. And the rest is history.
Marc Anthony “Vivir Mi Vida”
There’s nothing quite like Marc Anthony’s 2013 “Vivir mi vida (Live My Life),” which peaked at No. 1 on Hot Latin Songs and has become a Latin salsa anthem. The feel-good track is a must during the singer’s concerts, and one that is sure to get everyone singing-along to the simple yet catchy hook “Voy a vivir mi vida … La la la la.”
Son By Four, A Puro Dolor
Performed by a previously unknown boy band called Son By Four, “A Puro Dolor” was the first huge Latin hit of the 21st Century, spending 20 weeks on top of Hot Latin Songs and raking in four awards at the 2001 Billboard Latin Music Awards. The romantic track ranks at number one on Billboard’s ten-year Latin Songs of the 2000s Chart. This is the kind of ballad whose chorus (“estoy muriendo por verte”) you sing into your hairbrush in the bathroom, and cranked up in your car. If you know your Latin pop, you’re probably humming it right now as you read this.
Carlos Vives, “Fruta Fresca”
Who doesn’t love a chorus that starts with a chant? “Si, si, si!” kicks off the hook of this joyous love song, which then expands into a melodic cheer. The accordion-filled vallenato anthem hit No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart in just the second week of the 21st century (topping the tally for six weeks), and remains Vives’ biggest chart hit to date.
Michel Telo, “Ai Se Eu Te Pego”
We know a song is a winner when the chorus is so catchy that you sing it even when you don’t know what you’re saying. With “Ai Se Eu Te Pego,” young Brazilian country-pop singer Michel Telo had people around the world practicing their Portuguese. Released in 2011, “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” was the Billboard Latin Music Awards’ Song of the Year in 2013.
Shakira, “Waka Waka”
If you’re a soccer fan like us, Shakira’s “Waka Waka” song was probably stuck in your head all through the summer of 2010, during the World Cup. The fun, celebratory song not only had a catchy chorus that we all tried to sing (even if we weren’t sure what the lyrics were saying) but it also had a must-try choreography that made it almost impossible to not want to move your hips Shakira style.
Juanes, “La Camisa Negra”
“Camisa Negra” was Juanes’ biggest hit back in 2005, and was included on his third studio album Mi Sangre. Its chorus turned the song into an anthem for Juanes with only one sticky line, “tengo, tengo la camisa negra”. And, of course everybody started to wear a camisa negra (black shirt).
Jenni Rivera, “Basta Ya”
The late Jenni Rivera was a master of the emotional sing-along song. Of all of her hits, we choose “Basta Ya,” because sometimes we all need to shout “enough!” at the top of our lungs.