This week (May 25) in Viva Friday, the list of recommended songs, albums and videos includes J Balvin’s new album Vibras, Paulina Rubio’s Spanglish song “Desire” and “Hoy Tengo Tiempo” by Carlos Vives. Also, listen to ChoquibTown’s new album Sin Miedo, Orange is the Black actress Jackie Cruz’s new single “La Hora Loca” and more.
Viva Friday is a compilation of new songs, albums and videos recommended by our editors Leila Cobo, Suzette Fernández, Justino Aguila and Pamela Bustios.
J Balvin, Vibras
Do not call J Balvin a reggaeton artist. While homage is paid to the genre on his new album, particularly when he features Wisin & Yandel, Vibras is truly about vibes; a journey of global beats that defies description beyond “cool.” Balvin pushes the boundaries here, performing mostly solo, and when he does collaborate, he does it mostly with unexpected players. The tone is set with the opening intro, courtesy of Mexican alt-chanteuse Carla Morrison, whose beautiful, distinctive voice heralds this is not your run-of-the mill urban album. Things then segue into Balvin’s ultimate global anthem — “Mi Gente” — which sets the tone for an album that manages to be Latin, universal and completely different. — L.C
Listening Pick – “Ambiente”
Paulina Rubio, “Desire (Me Tienes Loquita)”
Paulina Rubio joined the Venezuelan singer Nacho to release her new bilingual single “Desire,” a pop song combined with urban rhythms, which is a very common fusion for the Mexican singer. The song itself is colorful and the lyric has a romantic touch. “Desire” was released with a music video that shows Rubio getting back into dancing. — S.F.
COASTCITY, “Besos Pesos” featuring Girl Ultra
COASTCITY’s self-titled EP has arrived with Miami-based duo Jean Rodríguez and Danny Flores at the helm. Seven tracks, including a “Desconocidos” remix, introduce a debut body of work being dubbed “Caribbean soul.” Sensual grooves, upbeat melodies and fresh collaborations with the likes of Mexico’s Mariana de Miguel (known for her R&B offerings as Girl Ultra) add to a riveting movement. — J.A.
Jorge Vazquez, Pasional
Tango gets a new face with Jorge Vazquez, a singer from La Plata, Argentina who won a Gardel award last year, went on to win reality TV show Elegidos (la música en tus manos), and got a recording deal with Sony Music. Vazquez’s Sony debut, Pasional, features mostly redone classics (“Amnesia,” “Historia de un amor”), and features a handful of guest artists like Nahuel Pennisi, Franco Luciani and pianist Arthur Hanlon. Exquisitely performed arrangements push the genre forward, and the set remains faithful to the traditional tango sound thanks to a velvety, expressive voice. — L.C
Listening Pick – “Buenos Muchachos,” an homage to classic tango written by Vazquez
Carlos Vives, “Hoy Tengo Tiempo — Pinta Sensual”
Carlos Vives has renewed his sound with his new single “Hoy Tengo Tiempo — Pinta Sensual.” Vives’ traditional vallenato has been fused with dancing pop rhythms and trumpet sounds, and the song’s romantic lyrics detail all the feeling behind the conquest of a woman but in a jocular way. Listen to the song and enjoy the music video, also released today. — S.F.
Jackie Cruz, “La hora loca”
Actress Jackie Cruz (Orange Is The New Black) has long explored her musical side. With “La hora loca” (The Crazy Hour), the first single from her upcoming solo debut, she’s found her stride. Set over a catchy cha-cha trumpet groove, this sexy vamp has Cruz rapping and singing in English and Spanish with tons of attitude. The end result is plain fun. Let yourself go. –L.C.
Tim McGraw, “Nunca Te Olvides de Amar”
The country star may be the last person you’d imagine foraying into Latin territory, but here he is, with an all-Spanish version of his positive anthem “Humble and Kind.” In a time of deeply divided politics and sentiments, the translated version is welcome and touching. McGraw admits he has an accent, but it doesn’t detract from the song’s message of love and optimism, translated by hit-maker Claudia Brant. — L.C.
Il Volo and Gente de Zona, “Noche Sin Día”
Il Volo has become the latest pop act to join the urban movement along with Cuban duo Gente de Zona via their new song “Noche Sin Dia” (Night With No Day). The song takes care of the musical standards of both groups, making the rhythm of the song fit in an organic way. — S.F.
ChocQuibTown, Sin Miedo
ChocQuibTown has released Sin Miedo, their 6th studio album. The set includes 13 songs that bring hip-hop, Jamaican dancehall, afrobeat, reggaeton, R&B and funk guitars and modern rhythms to the table. The album is definitely a representation of their culture. — S.F.
Listening Pick – “Ay Dios” with Carlos Vives
El B, “Van Damme”
El B pushes his traditional social poetic commentary to the sideline and plunges into a pool of fitting sarcasm on the explosive “Van Damme,” the second single from his Scorpion King Mixtape. Not shying away from hard-hitting lifestyle declarations, El B skillfully spits rhymes proclaiming presence and originality. — P.B.