“First Stream Latin” is a compilation of the best new Latin songs, albums and videos recommended by the Billboard Latin editors. Check out this week’s picks below.
Kany García – Mesa Para Dos (Sony Music Latin)
Standing out in a crowded field of new releases, Kany García‘s stunning new album Mesa Para Dos is music for the soul, and it’s the kind of music that should be enjoyed and appreciated for its aching verses and stellar collaborations. In times when one can feel distant and a little lonely, García gives her fans a seat at the table allowing them to be part of her world. Known for baring all her emotions in her music, feeling at the same time vulnerable and empowered via her lyrics, the songwriting in Mesa Para Dos (Table For Two) is no exception. From beginning to end, the Puerto Rican singer-songwriter explores themes like love, heartbreak and moments of distress accompanied by artists like Carlos Vives, Camilo, Mon Laferte, Pedro Capó and Reik’s Jesús Navarro who helped García bring the quarantine-inspired album to life. García’s seventh studio album was produced by Julio Reyes Copello. While the 10-track set is mostly ballads, look for García’s and Vives melodic, vallenato-tinged track that will get you on your feet. — GRISELDA FLORES
Christian Nodal – AyAyAy! (Fonovisa via Universal Music Latin)
After blessing fans with his debut and sophomore albums Me Deje Llevar (2017) and Ahora (2019), Christian Nodal presents AyAyAy! released via Fonovisa. This time around, the 21-year-old artist opted for a seven-track EP, including his previously released single “Se Me Olvido” and “AyAyAy!” If these singles were any indication—a mariachi-tinged country song and a ranchera-meets-cumbia jam—Nodal did not shy away from experimental fusions on his new production. In “No Es Justo Por El,” for example, Nodal surprises with a tropical-norteño hybrid, where salsa music is the main protagonist. The Latin Grammy-winning artist also keeps faithful to his authentic Regional Mexican roots in heartfelt songs such as “Mi Chula,” “Ojala Fuera Cierto” and focus track “Amor Tóxico.” Proving that he’s changing the game, AyAyAy! wraps up with “Anoche me Enamore,” the mariachi, doo-wop version of the ‘50s classic “Tonight I Fell in Love” by The Tokens. — JESSICA ROIZ
Anuel – Emmanuel (Real Hasta La Muerte)
Anuel’s much-expected Emmanuel is a 22-track tour the force that places the 27-year-old Puerto Rican bad boy of trap on a different level. From street-wise, raunchy fare to soulful, introspective ballads set to complex, acoustic arrangements, Emmanuel –produced mostly by Chris Jeday and Gaby Music– runs the gamut of what is considered a Latin “urban” sound. More importantly, it puts to rest any doubts that could exist surrounding Anuel’s staying power, hit-making prowess and, perhaps more importantly, sheer musicality. The rapper dares to bare his soul in tracks like “Los Hombres No Lloran” (Men Don’t Cry) and “Mi vieja,” which tells the story of his cellmate, who lost his mother while behind bars. Then, he steps right into the disco with up tempo fare like “Así soy yo,” featuring Bad Bunny and boasting an extraordinary arrangement that goes from beats to classic strings. If regaeeton is about competition, Emmanuel will give J Balvin and Bad Bunny something to sit up straight about. — LEILA COBO
Fonseca & Andres Cepeda – Compadres (Sony Colombia / Kobalt)
After teaming up for multiple singles, including “La Promesa” and “Mi Vuelo,” Fonseca and Andres Cepeda have finally dropped their joint album Compadres. Fusing Fonseca’s tropipop sound with Cepeda’s Latin pop melodies, Compadres is home to 10 tracks that bring out the best of Colombia’s music and beyond. In “Ay Esos Amores,” they dip their toes in Regional Mexican waters with a heartfelt ranchera about two friends who love the same girl. In “No Me Busquen Corazon,” a traditional joropo, they team up with El Cholo Valderrama, in “Me Haces Falta” they drop an urban-bolero fusion in collaboration with Llane, and in “La Serenata,” they present an infectious merengue vallenato. Forming part of the set is also “Te Entrego Mi Corazón,” which is not only in support of the Cardioinfantil Foundation but also aims to show solidarity with the Colombian community and raise social awareness about the global pandemic. Overall, Compadres is a beautifully-crafted album that brings to the forefront Fonseca and Cepeda’s friendship and passion for music. Stream and listen to it below. — J.R.
Ricardo Arjona – Blanco
Arjona returns to basics in this 8-track EP, recorded entirely live at Abby Road Studios in London. Here are Arjona’s signature, intimate songs, ranging from lost love (“Morir por Vivir”) to social angst (“Blues de la Notoriedad”). In content and execution, the message remains the same: Beauty is to be found in truth and simplicity. — L.C.
Stream exclusively on Arjona’s website here.
Mala Rodríguez – MALA (Universal Music Latin)
Seven years since her last album, the Spanish rapper, emcee and singer strikes back with MALA, a magnetic and poignant set with songs like “Mami,” “Peleadora” and “Dame Bien.” Showcasing her chameleonic ability to go from a hard-core, edgy rapper (“Nuevas Drogas”) to a vulnerable, flamenco-inspired singer (“Mami”), the Latin Grammy-winning artist proves to be one of the baddest in the game. A standout in the album is “Dame Bien” featuring Guaynaa and Big Freedia becoming an instant hit with an infectious reggaetón/perreo beat. About her album, which was completed amid a global pandemic, MALA said in a statement: “I am MALA (bad) since I began. Throughout the years I’ve defended my name and this project has everything that I am: emotion, sentiment, strength, hope and passion … A little bit of me for the fans that have always been there and for the new ones.” — G.F.
Chiquis, Becky G – “Jolene” (Universal Music Latino)
Chiquis and Becky G have teamed up to revamp Dolly Parton’s 1974 hit “Jolene,” giving it a saucy Western-cumbia twist. “We’ve been wanting to do this for such a long time,” Chiquis said of the song in an Instagram Live. “I have a good friendship with Becky, both of us respect each other. We didn’t know if we were going to do a Regional Mexican song or a reggaeton but we did something completely different.” Becky, who joined the live, said everyone is excited with the outcome. “This song is a gem and singing it in Spanish is such a good representation of where we come from,” she added. “Jolene” is the lead single off of Chiquis new 10-set album Playlist, which dropped today. Both artists said a homemade music video will premiere on June 12. Listen to the audio below: — J.R.
Ricky Martin – Pausa (Sony Music Latin)
Surprising his fans with a new EP titled Pausa, the first collective set since his 2015 A Quien Quiera Escuchar, features collaborations with Sting, Carla Morrison, Pedro Capó, Diego El Cigala, among others. Packed with introspective, poignant and melancholic lyrics, the six-track set is born from a state of vulnerability and the need to heal through music. “[Through this music] I share my fears, my insecurities, my moments of panic that I’ve felt throughout this quarantine,” the Ricky Martin tells Billboard. Martin opens his set with “Simple,” his stunning collaboration with Sting — who sings in Spanish — setting the tone for the rest of the album: simple yet forceful and grand. He closes with “Cántalo,” the previously released collab with fellow Puerto Rican hitmakers Residente and Bad Bunny. A thought-provoking and powerful song of resilience and Puerto Rican pride. See a break down of all the collaborations featured on Martin’s Pausa here. — G.F.
Marta y Micó – “El Son del Runrún” (Satélite K)
Spanish duo Marta y Micó’s “El Son de Runrún” is a candid poem swaying to the cadence of Cuban son. The single off its third studio album Mapa de Sombras Cotidianas marries in unison the unambiguous sound of singer Marta Boldú (Marta) and the peripatetic guitar chords by writer and poet José María Micó (Micó) -former winner of Spain’s Hiperión Poetry Prize and Generación 27 de Poesía, and translator of Dante’s Comedy. A simmer synthesis of nuances and flexibility, Marta’s orotund vocals are undergirded by Micó’s harmonious vocabulary in a song about the temptations of the night that take by surprise the listener and spectator: y al final de una jornada, en que de tanto de ver, acabé por no ver nada/ salí al mundo a pasear, con el cuervo del pecado, a diestra y siniestra lado (and at the end of a day, after seeing so much, I ended up not seeing anything/ I went out into the world for a stroll, with the raven of sin willy-nilly.) — PAMELA BUSTIOS
Natanael Cano ft. Ovi – “Bien Tumbado” (Rancho Humilde)
Natanael Cano teams up with Ovi for “Bien Tumbado,” the opening track of Rancho Humilde’s Corridos Tumbados Vol. 2 album. With melodious requintos, the Mexican star and emerging Cuban/Puerto Rican artist harmonize about being bosses. “I was 20, I began working and battling it at a young age… serious people with money, you can’t defeat me,” says part of the lyrics. Corridos Tumbados Vol. 2 features the label’s regional urban artists, such as Cano and Junior H, who are leading the corridos tumbados movement. Listen to “Bien Tumbado” below: — J.R.
Jona Camacho – Memento (via Peer Music)
The up-and-coming Colombian singer-songwriter, featured on Billboard‘s Latin artist to discover during quarantine list, places all bets on funk and 90s R&B tunes for his debut album titled Memento. Offering an escape through his fresh beats and youthful, raw lyrics about love and lust, Jona Camacho’s first collective showcases his vocal abilities and songwriting prowess. The 13-song set was recorded between Bogotá, Colombia, Mexico City and Los Angeles. All tracks were penned by Camacho. Included in Memento is the previously released the Vanessa Zamora-assisted “Te Choca Te Checa,” an ultra-nostalgic track which Camacho and Zamora navigating a far from perfect relationship but after spending time together and apart, they learn to heal, reflect and embrace the intricacy of their relationship. Stream Camacho’s first-ever album below. — G.F.
Nathy Peluso – “Buenos Aires” (Sony Music Latin)
Nathy Peluso’s “Buenos Aires” previews her forthcoming full-length debut album. The Barcelona-based singer’s second single is an ode to her native city, a jazzed-up tune of wobbly beats shrouded by the cosmoses of Luis Alberto Spinetta’s backing band and recorded in his Buenos Aires legendary studio La Diosa Salvaje. Anchored by the full-bodied bass by Javier Malosetti and Guillermo Arrom’s deftly harmony guitar chords, the versatility of Sergio Verdineli on drums and Andres Beeuwsaert’s sublime keys, the song was produced by Rafa Arcaute also on synths. The nostalgic tune is ushered by a music clip directed by Argentinean Orco Videos (Duki, Lali, Paulo Londra) that echoes Peluso’s childhood in Argentina paired up with quarantine images at her current home in Barcelona. — P.B.
MONOGEM – “Paraíso” (distributed via AWAL)
Los Angeles based Mexican American musician Jen Hirsh, who goes by moniker MONOGEM, releases “Paraíso” (Paradise), a weightless bossa nova-textured single of fluid forms. Co-written alongside Kyle Patrick and Will Snyder who also produced the song, the self-released new single is a gathering of MONOGEM’s signature electro-pop and alt-R&B sounds that open an opportunity to paint the world in different colors. Her soothing and lithe vocals married by the pleasing chords of the acoustic guitar, samples and synthesizer, become a passage to a parallel world, a timeless capsule where freedom and isolation are necessities to arrive to the place she yearns to escape to: take my money, no lo necesito, libres y solitos/ En la playa, todos mis amigos en mi paraíso (“take my money, I don’t need it, free and alone/ At the beach, all my friends in my paradise.”) — P.B.
Bunbury – “Los Términos de Mi Rendición” (OCESA distributed Warner Music Spain)
Bunbury strives to connect with the listener throughout “Los Términos De Mi Rendición” (The Terms of My Rendition), a direct testimony about the possibilities in life that results in a vindication of his beliefs. A timeless song of dissatisfaction and indifference with a hint of hope, the last single off Posible, his latest studio album, is based off a phrase by Henry David Thoreau about human vulnerability and her/his desire to front the essential facts of life. Clad in a melon suit, Bunbury segues between a piano and his electric guitar submerged in the stillness of Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles, CA in a music video directed by Jose Gael. — P.B.
Rita Indiana – “El Zahir”
Rita Indiana rides the unpredictable beat of the Dominican gagá and its numinous expression throughout “El Zahir,” her new single inspired by the homonymous piece written by Jorge Luis Borges in 1977 which tells the story of a man and its obsession over a coin he’s given at a bar. “It speaks of money and the shape it takes in myth, religion and life itself,” stated Rita Indiana about a gagá tune which fiddles with electronica and her signature post punk tones skirted by trap bravado: una moneda en un bolsillo e’ bien poco/ según un ciego puede volverte loco/ una moneda con do’ cara y tu nombre/ por varias vendieron al hijo del hombre (“a coin in a pocket is very little/ it can drive you crazy says a blind man/ a double sided coin with your name/ for several they sold the son of man.”) Her uninhibited musical mind shares a space with noise musician and producer Sakari Jäntti who sings in Norwegian about “slaves being buried with their masters to become rich in the afterlife.” “El Zahir” follows “Como Un Dragón,” the first single off her forthcoming Mandinga Times. Like its predecessor, the second single’s music clip was directed by Indiana’s partner Noelia Quintero, who introduces a note of levity to a somber matter with the use of puppets, masks, and old-school Disney images. — P.B.
Bandalos Chinos – “Mi Manera De Ser”/”AYNMG” (Casete)
Argentinian ensemble Bandalos Chinos renovates its pop-rock sound building bridges between the blustery rock ‘n roll of the 80s and the forlorn acoustic ballads of the 90’s with two songs of disparate tapestries which review history with a contemporary and forward-thinking outlook. The bouncy “Mi Manera De Ser” (My Way of Being) is suggestive of the raucous and palpable stadium echoes with the rich vocal performance of Goyo Degano, the brassy guitar riffs by Iñaki Colombo and Tomas Verduga, and the synth-electric keys by Salvador Colombo with Matias Verduga on drums. ”AYNMG” is a soaring ballad undergirded by the gloomy bass strokes by Nicolas Rodriguez which speaks about life and its brutalities as is violence against humans. The songs preview the band’s upcoming album produced by Adan Jodorowsky at Sonic Ranch in Texas. Fused in an almost six-minute clip, the music videos were filmed by director Tomas Terzano and cinematographer Sebastian Castillo. — P.B.
Descemer Bueno – “No Debí Dejarte Sola”
Descemer Bueno has a knack for writing songs of loss even when the beat is uptempo. “No Debi Dejarte Sola” (I Shouldn’t Have Left You Alone) seeks to recover the girl, and manages to incorporate every memorable element of songwriting without sounding like mish-mash. The song starts with Bueno singing simply over guitar and piano chords before it goes into a mid-tempo pop/rock with a hooky chorus that’s beautiful, memorable and where Bueno allows his raspy, imperfect vocals to be front and center. J.R.