Club Fonograma's Best Songs of 2012 (75-51)

075. La Bien Querida - 
Arenas Movedizas
Behind the chicken dance on La Bien Querida's first track and single on Ceremonia lurks a much more fixated look/lick of flamenco passion. Opening with breakneck 80s German synths, Ana starts singing, contemplating the knife in her hand, stony faced, walking slower than when the beats land. You will cry: thumb on nose, tongue out, I told you so. The subtle guitar completes her web, catching her prey at last, and us, hypnotized, press replay. - SAM RODGERS 

074. Helado Negro - Mamember
CF has already patted down the artistic body of Roberto Carlos Lange too many times to count and we continue finding copious amounts of sound art gold dust. I'm not like the TSA or anything, but "Mamember" (off Island Universe Story One) makes feel like we should've have searched his artistic afro, too. I think we could have totally found a baggie full of synthetic analog grains, fit for the disco. - ADRIAN MATA-ANAYA 

073. Daddy Yankee - Pasarela” 
Every other year, Daddy Yankee sneaks a song into our countdown. When asked what he was currently listening to on a radio interview, Alex Anwandter pointed out how spectacular Daddy Yankee’s “Pasarela” was. And it really is (Yankee’s best single since “Pose.”) This is a structural proposition turned into a linear synthesized jam for both, the runway and the dance floor. So blatantly robust and in full sync with Shakira’s and Rita Indiana’s recent hits. MAMBO! – CARLOS REYES 

072. Granit - Marea Viva” 
Being a fervent defender of uncompromising pop beauty means having to deal with the criticism of those who point towards content inadequacy. In other words, what are they singing about? When a song soothes you with such church-like grandeur, when a synth melody so vividly evokes the lure of sea luxury, when two voices sing to you with such angelic force, and when a bridge speaks such glamorous volumes of sumptuousness, honestly, who gives a shit what they’re singing about. - PIERRE LESTRUHAUT 

071. Algodón Egipcio - 
La Espina del Cardenche” ♫♫♫
“La Espina del Cardenche” is a graceful reworking of Cardencheros de Sapioriz’s “Yo ya me voy a morir a los desiertos” by Venezuela’s Algodón Egipcio produced as part of Nrmal’s Norte Sonoro residence series. It masterfully captures the timelessness of the music, playing down the fatalistic quality of the original in favor of the eternal. It builds a strong case for the re-appropriation of folkloric sounds, not as a gratuitous exercise of the digital age, but as genuine engagement and dialogue through music. - REUBEN TORRES 

070. Matilda Manzana - 
Pez Espada” ♫♫♫
Dreamy and earnest, Matilda Manzana's entire album Conjuntos Cartográficos was a 2012 highlight, hands down. But lead single"Pez Espada" should just be played on repeat as an exercise in soothing happiness—kazoos and swordfish, marimbas and gorgeous patterns, what more could you want? With excellent production and an intimate delicacy, I only wish it lasted longer. - CLAIRE FRISBIE 

069. Violeta Vil - 
Lápidas y Cocoteros
Layers, so many layers. In the first single "Lápidas y Cocoteros," off their excellent release of the same name, Spaniard/Venezuelan band Violeta Vil melds dissonant electric guitar over a drony didgeridoo, steady programmed beats and maracas, combined with beautiful repetitive harmonies. Moody and ethereal, and full of contrasts. If this is tropical goth, sign me up! - CLAIRE FRISBIE 

068. John Talabot feat. Pional - 
So Will Be Now..
Closing track of his latest LP, ƒIN, "So Will Be Now..." is arguably the finest one there, and most probably a future classic. This deep house gem, written and produced with Pional, which fuses looming bass lines with inaudible yet compelling vocals invites the listener to raise arms and eyes to the sky and be lulled in slow motion, or just to indulge in the most simple contemplations - depending on the sound system.The Barcelona-based producer’s charm lies in his ability to create both minimalistic and complex layered beats that elegantly confound restraint and grandiose. -SOUAD MARTIN-SAOUDI 

067. El Remolón feat. 
Lido Pimienta - Atras
Those used to Lido Pimienta's sweet voice and innocent demeanor may be taken aback by what she's done on El Remolón's "Atras." There's a growl in her voice that's aggressive, almost sinister, just daring you to cross her. She makes it clear that she's not taking shit from anyone. The song may offend some sensibilities, but don't be mad at Lido for being too much woman for you to handle. - BLANCA MÉNDEZ 

066. Café Tacvba - Tan Mal
Los Tacubos made an awful move pushing “De este lado del camino” as their album’s first single. The slow-burning number isn’t half bad, but with songs as rhythmically strapping as album standout “Tan Mal,” they could have made a far less disorienting comeback. Rubén Albarrán had not offered such suspended vocals since “El Baile y El Salón,” but instead of a disco song, we are presented with a dualistic number that negotiates whispers and aggrivating cries through a skillfull pull-and-push structure. Next single Tacubos? - JEAN-STEPHANE BERIOT 

065. quieroStar feat. Mamacita - 
Destrucción Total” ♫♫♫
"Destrucción Total" is Chilean pop partnership bliss. Mamacita's normally sultry voice here is icy, matched perfectly with the ethereal quieroStar. The twirling and pinging of lasers, like being inside a spaceship control station, adds whimsy to this apocalyptic love story. If these are end times, sign me up. - BLANCA MÉNDEZ 

064. Natalia Lafourcade 
feat. Adrián Dárgelos- Mujer Divina
If you've played this album as many times as we have, you probably can't read Mujer Divina without thinking mujer, mujer di-vi-i-ina. What makes this song stand out on an album full of beautiful vintage postcards is the fact that it finishes before you realize: so perfect in its build up, duet, break, and harmonies, it never seems to repeat itself, already sounding so familiar. “Tienes en el ritmo de tu ser / todo el palpitar de una canción”: to the creator, and re-composer, simply divine. - SAM RODGERS

063. Poliedro - NUR” ♫♫♫
In which Poliedro lets the melody loose. Well, maybe not so much a “melody,” but some bits that you can actually hum! “Nur” sees Poliedro drop some of the mystery from La Manifestación by laying on every damn side effect this side of the Wilhelm Scream. But it’s not all acceleration by cacophony: this is still as slow building and nuanced as ever. And you can’t help but wonder what’s next. - ANDREW CASILLAS 

062. Santos - La Quebrada” ♫♫♫
“Solo quiero bailar, disfrutar esta noche contigo amor.” Depending on your level of cynicism, these words can either sound like a tired cliché of Latin American dance music, or a timeless invitation toward pure, liberating joy. Tijiuana-bred Santos has crafted a perfect marriage of ominous melody and entropic groove that nothing if not a call to transgression through the body. It is five minutes of raw desire crooned over melting bass lines and floating, almost freeform organ work. To recapitulate NME writer Barney Hoskyns, it is “a carnal music of total release.” - REUBEN TORRES 

061. Francisco y Madero - 
Mamacita” ♫♫♫
Whenever I listen to Francisco y Madero’s own sampledelia, images of me having breakfast at my grandparents’ table, while enjoying classic radio station El Fonógrafo, come to mind. The pure sensations of those antique relics I grew up hearing make themselves largely present in “Mamacita”. An irresistibly charming psychedelic lounge take serves as a senses-altering time machine. While Pesina’s Mexican-folklore trademark ultimately permeates this band, it is Jess Sylvester’s woozy vocals that mark the difference between Pesina’s other projects.  - ENRIQUE COYOTZI 

060. Al Cruzar La Calle - 
Romanticismo Ultravioleta” ♫♫♫
"Adiós, mundo cruel." So begins the melodramatic cry from Linda Sjöquist on "Romanticismo Ultravioleta." Written out, that may look like some heavy adolescent angst, but when actually sung out, whistles, hand claps and all, it's more like a musical number in which toast can fly and all your friends are good at choreography. Yes, I just described the "Mushaboom" video, but that's only because Patrick Daughters should've given this song a video as equally magical. - GIOVANNI GUILLÉN 

059. Ases Falsos - Salto Alto
 In "Salto Alto," we can sense defeat from Cristóbal Briceño towards the pedestrian innocent way of thinking (“Aquel que nunca ha hecho nada quiere hacerme ver/Que todo es tan fácil de hacer”). But, is it really as simple as jumping into the Mapocho River to commit suicide? It might signify the chance of washing the self-being, or finding new opportunities in a unknown place. After all, when the current has finally dragged him to the shore, he encounters a “world never imagined.”- ENRIQUE COYOTZI 

058. La Ola Que Quería Ser Chau - 
Plastic Ono
This unusually long tune by forever young-at-heart cool kids La Ola Que Quería Ser Chau, represents a notable growth in the band’s short, yet wise career. “Plastic Ono," (the final track on their recently released La Fuerza del Cariño) maintains the scintillating and cheering spirit that has charmed us all, further extending on an astute, winsome structure that accomplishes epic proportions. It demonstrates maturity and vision, never draining La Ola's particular effervescence. - ENRIQUE COYOTZI 

057. Nite Jewel - 
One Second of Love
The robust vocals, wonky bass, and pristine synths on "One Second of Love" mark a new direction for Ramona González, aka Nite Jewel. Instead of the raw, at times disorganized sound of her previous work, she takes charge on this song, evoking the elegance and poise of disco divas and '80s pop queens. Makes me wish she'd take a cue from Javiera Mena and cover Daniela Romo in a near future. - BLANCA MÉNDEZ 

056. Sudakistan - 
El Movimiento” ♫♫♫
Although this seems to be a time where erratically raucous punk rockers like Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall serve records at an indigestible pace, Sweden’s coolest (perhaps only) South American rockers Sudakistan have treated us to a single snack so far. More than a perfectly paced and distinctly structured rock song, “El Movimiento” is an emancipating force: by the time the suspiciously circumspect intro leads way to utter abrasive delirium, the “movement” flusters you, absorbs you, and directs you to follow its lead. - PIERRE LESTRUHAUT 

055. Los Blenders - Ah Oh!” ♫♫♫

054. Las Amigas de Nadie - 
“Tronador” ♫♫♫
We weren’t buying an ounce of Las Amigas de Nadie’s not-ready-to-make-nice bearing until Sincronía came along. The all-girl Peruvian band went from plain kitsch to multidimensional before our very eyes. Album standout “Tronador” is a pop song in bare configuration. Sure, it sounds like something you wouldn’t want to touch (because of its blown-out voltage power effects), but to the ear, this plays like a melodic stroke that echoes from the most remote magnetic fields. – CARLOS REYES 

053. Alejandro Paz - “Duro
There are enough perreo songs about hitting it hard (“dame duro papi”) to fill an iPod. Chilean techno wizard Alejandro Paz has crafted an assessment of such phenomenom. When Paz shouts “yo quiero estar duro, un poquito mas duro,” it’s hard not to think he’s warming an erection. And so he triggers techno with the same sexual core that has come to define perreo. It’s high on stamina, transgressive in its build up, roaring in its release, and towards the end, a bit flaccid. But not for too long, Paz escalates his beats right back up for a second round. – CARLOS REYES 

052. Arca - “Brokeup
FUCK THE RAP GAME. Arca's Strech 2 went harder than 95% of this year's rap albums. And let's just keep in mind how almost none its voices (or samples) can actually be understood. "Broke Up" finds Arca marching along synth-built walls and reminding us why he is not of this world. It's a contorted performance that can set off and exhaust (in a good way) any mind that dares put a real face to this music. - GIOVANNI GUILLÉN 

051. Ases Falsos - 
“Misterios del Perú
Where does the story of our continental youth as sung by Ases Falsos commence? El Señor de los Milagros is an image of Christ’s crucifixion located in Lima, Perú; painted by a black slave in the 17th century, it continues to be strongly venerated all across the country. Behind a staggering 90’s alt-rock thunderous riffage, Ases Falsos thus begin Juventud Americana by directing us towards the most distressing details of our own past. A shell-shocking opener for a bravely inspiring and prodigious album. - PIERRE LESTRUHAUT