Club Fonograma's Best Songs of the 2010s

     Artwork by Alonso Ayala (@ouchal)

The Club Fonograma staff have reunited to recap the Best Iberoamerican (Latin America + Iberian) music of the decade. This project consists of essays from ex-Club Fonograma writers and friends, along with a full list of our favorite songs and albums of the decade.

Here are Club Fonograma's top 100 songs of the decade. You can listen to songs featured in this list on our Spotify playlist. And also check out all of Club Fonogramas best of the decade recap here.

A few years before small independent music blogs with defined tastes started disappearing and/or losing relevance, Alba Blasi (Extraperlo) and Cristina Checa (Desert) got together as Granit to give us one of the more beautiful, cryptic, and mythical releases from the beginning of the 2010s. Its opener and main piece “Aresta” stunned many music bloggers for its compositional quality, pristine production, and the sheer beauty that came from the communion of dream pop synth chords and Catalan singing. The band would release no more material after this and, considering how Barcelona record store clerks will tell you that getting your hands on their EP will cost a fortune, it has only contributed to increasing their already legendary status. - Pierre Lestruhaut

Through Elisa Punto’s seductive yet disconcerting tonality and a dulcet beat bordering on cumbia, “Humedad” tastefully refashions tropical psicodélica sounds. The warm and almost whispered “hace calor sin sol, hace calor sensual” made those particularly execrable hot, sticky days in the city seem bearable. “Humedad” clearly demonstrates MKRNI’s ability to create music that will get you moving the coffee table out of the way, kicking up heels, and dancing ‘til dawn. - Souad Martin-Saoudi

Maria Magdalena 
“CVMC (Cada vez más cerca)”
This is one of those bubbling hits (up there with Javiera Mena’s “Luz de Piedra de Luna” or Linda Mirada’s “Secundario”) you simply won’t be able to escape from. María Magdalena’s breakthrough single is pop confection mastery. Impossibly catchy, remarkably memorable and entrancingly addictive, “CVMC (Cada vez más cerca)” marks the Chilean disco diva’s peak. Through glossy synths and enduring hooks, the chanteuse rousingly conveys with her stirring voice the electrifying feeling of growing proximity to a lover. - Enrique Coyotzi (from Best Songs of 2013)

La Plata
“Un Atasco”
If “Maps” holds the title of most transcendent song of the post-punk revival, then I see “Un Atasco” holding up as a bold recalibration of the same wave. Not to call it a purist vision (that’s always boring) but as a standalone statement to a particular vulnerability, like anything that marked our preteen and/or adolescence back in the day. For La Plata’s first full length, Desorden, the song was re-recorded and polished off from their 2017 demo. Through these transformations, the song remains an incendiary hit. From the jump it sets off its chaotic moodiness, melded by hooks both clean and asymmetrical. Singer and founder Diego Escriche nails a generation’s failures through direct lines: “A nadie le importa / Son graciosas tus idas de olla / Tu tumba está en la pared” transforming it into a source of power. - Giovanni Guillén

Ozuna & Manuel Turizo
“Vaina Loca”
It’s not hard to see Ozuna’s boyish charm fitting into any musical era. But using that wholesome persona to distinguish himself in música urbana’s global ascendance is savvy as shit. That’s not to say that his music lacks edge – if anything, it highlights the desperation behind many of his hits. “Vaina Loca,” a confessional on the dance floor, is no exception. Manuel Turizo adds some needed grizzle to Ozuna’s sweet heat, combining to make Ozuna’s finest pop moment. - Andrew Casillas

Emilio José
“A amizade (B)”
As left-field and indulgent as he gets, Emilio José is a pop musician deep down. Carlos Reyes saw this when he first came across Chorando Apréndese back in 2009. But the trademark of any Emilio José song is the fluttering and weightless spirit that abounds all his compositions. Only now does it feel like the world has caught up. The latter half of the decade’s most acclaimed albums: The Life of Pablo, Endless and even When I Get Home can be similarly described as divergent works of barely completed tracks mixed with purposeful interludes. “A amizade” is a sweeping and unforgettable song. It's bedroom pop by way of samba and folk naively recreated from a dreamscape. In the years since discovering, I would argue it’s the most realized song moment from Emilio José. When that midsection resets, there is a tense pause that suggests he’ll just move on – never to see it through. But it does find its way, and the lo-fi flutters of tambourine and woodwinds sound fucking massive. - Giovanni Guillén

Whatever praises came their way, whatever they tried to evoke in earlier songs, “Sueños” is the apex of a brilliant vision, everything that Marineros was truly meant to accomplish on their long-awaited debut. Remember the first time you saw Chungking Express? Listening to “Sueños” is like witnessing an endless step printing sequence with Faye Wong and Tony Leung. It’s romantic as fuck. When that chorus swoops in it’s a sea breeze that pulls on all of our emotions. Elsewhere the composition treads gently, steadily adding guitars, shakers and claps while the vocals crave adrenaline. Think of the moody & goth turns of “Ciega, Sordomuda,” think of Faye Wong running on a Hong Kong street actively displaying her restlessness. El amor no es como dicen que el amor es. - Giovanni Guillén (from Best Songs of 2015)

Algodón Egipcio
“El Día Previo”
“El Día Previo” hails from Ezequiel “Cheky” Berto’s 2011 album, La Lucha Constante. The Venezuelan artist delivers well-crafted heart-warming energy song with a subtle yet radical act of love, vulnerability and agency. The song is laced in lo-fi synth pop and dance fabric with layered soundscapes in ethereal melodies; Cheky’s pop aesthetic is experimental and an-all-encompassing kind of art form. The words to “El Día Previo” bridge ominous and jovial attitudes yet resolute of the uncertain yet hopeful future. - Marty Preciado

El Último Vecino
“Un Sueño Terrible”
Spain’s techno-pop sensation El Último Vecino rose to fame in 2013 with this song about desire and expectation. Included in their homonymous debut album, “Un Sueño Terrible” is a declaration of absolute dependence masked in a light synth pop sound mix: fast, brilliant and revolving. If not innovative, at least evocative of past decades, a music that proves itself capable of transporting us back to the eighties through the low, dark voice of Gerard Dòria over the sound of a bright bassline and dreamy synth vibes. - Glòria Guso

Klaus & Kinski
“Eres un sinvergüenza”
A very serious candidate for best band name of the decade, Klaus & Kinski explored many sounds and emotions these past ten years, but despite the constant dilettantism they never betrayed their very ingrained Spaniard indie pop roots. In “Eres un sinvergüenza,” the centerpiece for their very accomplished 2010 release Tierra, trágalos, a traditionally blissful indie pop track hides something darker. Although its title suggests this is yet another song for spewing targeted resentment, it might also seem like they’re addressing the haters who didn’t believe they could pull off the solid records that they did: “Viva el odio que es mi tierra / Sabrás que me has infravalorado.” - Pierre Lestruhaut

Juana Molina
Wed 21 is arguably Juana Molina’s most accessible pop album, while still retaining her essential Molina-isms: from the preciseness of every beat and flutter and looping vocal to the grim, absurd humor showcased in her videos. The unsettling nature of Molina’s visions is just an expression of the surprising turns her songs take. Lead single “Eras” takes the listener on several journeys in the first minute alone, layering the incessant bassline with electronic horror and folk guitar before gasping a demonic chant. This is musical melodrama in septuple meter, presided over by El Bichapong. - Sam Rodgers

White Ninja
“El Alfa”
Ever wondered what a glute bridge sounded like? This bouncy track by Monterrey artists Leo Marz and Octavio Figueroa landed in our top 10 for 2011 and still holds up as a psychedelic synthpop cheerleader – if the cheers were slurs midway through a pleasant drunken evening. “Fuck it up, come again,” he sing-speaks, arm around your shoulder, urging you to get out there and dance a little less concerned about your moves. - Sam Rodgers

“Armar y Desarmar”
It isn’t until nearly the halfway mark that staggered claps and snaps add some clumsy warmth to “Armar y Desarmar.” Before that point, it’s as if Fakuta is singing in a snow covered field empty of everything but her voice. You can almost see the cloud of her breath bloom into the void. The slightly off-beat hand percussion mimics the nervous tendency revealed in “es mi costumbre analizar los detalles en detalles, las acciones por detrás.” And who hasn’t fallen into this trap of overthinking, overanalyzing, dwelling on the details of the past? In the end, the repetition of the song becomes comfortable, even comforting, and Fakuta resigns herself to this cycle of taking apart what she has built, only to rebuild it and take it apart again. - Blanca Méndez

“Para Mí”
While attending an exhibition on the history of electronic music in the summer of 2019, a very pleasant surprise lies at the end of its introductory timeline: a nod to ZZK Records as a pioneering label of electronic cumbia. It’s official, digital cumbia has earned its rightful place among the pantheon of electronic music. Although a lot more dembow than cumbia, Fauna’s “Para Mí” is the most infectious and lyrically inventive single to come out of ZZK. A balls-out banger entirely aimed at the dancefloor, it forgoes the somewhat tiring tendency some electro cumbia had in being more fit for ethnomusicological dissertation. But the real treasure lies behind the ragga-style vocals, as Color Kit and Catar_sys (RIP) give an absolute master class in rhyming. The song was “un golazo de la mitad de cancha,” while playing as the visiting team, followed by a full naked torso celebration. - Pierre Lestruhaut

“Rabiosa” [ft. El Cata]
In the last decade we thank God for Sale El Sol, Shakira’s bright spot in what was otherwise a sometimes cynical chase for the most YouTube views. “Rabiosa” with El Cata (not the English version with Pitbull) was the sweetest, swift take from that album. At under 3 minutes, the song lets Shakira flaunt her charming brand of unhinged, cheeky sex nymph with lyrics such as “Oye papi, vuélveme loca / Arúñame la espalda y muérdeme la boca” that by far out-strip the English version’s tame counterparts. Rrratata! - Sam Rodgers

“Stay Close”
Delorean said goodbye earlier this year but they will be remembered for their unique, at least in the Spanish context, chillwave-blisscore-house-pop sound. “Stay Close” opens the band’s critically acclaimed third album Subiza and talks about the distance between two people over frantic, sunny beats that never drop. The voice is heavily autotuned and, unlike in previous albums, it doesn’t prevail over the rest of the instruments or vocal samples. Even if the lyrics suggest a relationship reaching its end, the rhythm is steady and upbeat, colorful with vocals, samples and effects, never letting the vibe fall into melancholy or sadness.  - Glòria Guso

Kali Uchis
“Nuestro Planeta” [ft. Reykon]
Kali Uchis produced her good amount of catchier, weirder, and more inventive songs than “Nuestro Planeta” in her solid debut album Isolation, so an explanation is needed as to why we’ve chosen to highlight its most chart-friendly and only Spanish language song here. Recruiting both Colombian production duo The Rudeboyz and reggaetón star Reykon, it’s a testament that we’re suckers for emigrants who connect back with their roots in such a big way. Yet the grandest gesture in “Nuestro Planeta” comes from the tension built between the rhythmical backdrop (dembow as 21st century quintessential party music) and the lyrical forefront (the sorrowful disintegration of a relationship), where Kali Uchis’ always deeply intimate lyrics and sensuous vocals find sentiment in a reggaetón lento. - Pierre Lestruhaut

“Lo Que Siento”
The Latinx pop wave from the end of decade circa 2016-2019 was in part directly related to the foundation carved and established by Latinx indie pop acts from the first half of the decade. We understand a phenomenon as Cuco is rare but not new, and undoubtedly holds pivotal space in music history of Latinx indie. Cuco, Los Angeles’ romantic balladeer, first emerged in backyard parties, with lo-fi dream pop to rapidly and rightfully achieve monumental recognition by community, and eventually holding world tours, headlining festivals and signing a seven-figure record deal. Yet Cuco kept the love and commitment towards his sound and identity: a proud chicano representing his community and its cultural elements in his sound and visual aesthetics. “Lo Que Siento” a layered lo-fi bedroom pop song is the composite of sound of Cuco: vulnerability, honest lyrics, heart-warming and synth-laden beats. Oscillating between English and Spanish, this hallmark track explores heartache from a youthful yet mature and earnest approach; a true anthem of love and emotional distress. - Marty Preciado

Luca Bocci
Luca Bocci did not discover gunpowder in his home recorded album Ahora, but with singles such as “Bahía” he reached a level of sensitivity and simplicity that leads you to reconcile with Argentine music of the past, even if you are not a fan. Spinetta, Fito Páez, Charly García, among others are present in his compositions. Nevertheless, Bocci goes further and in “Bahía” he manages to exploit the nostalgic pop idol image that he has been accurately associated with. - Pablo Acuña

Los Macuanos
“Sangre, Bandera, Cruz”
Can music take part in social resistance? An evocative title can raise awareness and create discussion among listeners. The music itself can stir rebellion and provide courage to those who are directly involved, a sign that the response must be global. “☠ / ⚑ / ✞,” a weave of dismal sounds, violent tribal percussions and rare but oh so relevant words, succeeds in all aspects. In the face of a corrupt political system and a failed war on drugs, Tijuana’s ruidosón forerunners, Los Macuanos, have created an immediate anthem. - Souad Martin-Saoudi

Matías Aguayo
“El Sucu Tucu”
The obvious must be stressed, Matías Aguayo alone with his syncopated and converging intonations and hypnotic loops generates the atmosphere of a pagan celebration where the influence of rhythms from all parts of the world can be sensed. “El Sucu Tucu,” hard-hitting and intoxicating, makes one slide into a discoid trance of drumbeats and incantations. A pure moment of total upheaval of the senses triggered by the producers barely controlled madness. The kind of haunting track that continues to haunt us years after. - Souad Martin-Saoudi

Alejandro Paz
“El House”
Straight out of Cómeme’s playbook, “El House” is a life-affirming slice of Latin American-infused electronica that’s driven by a slick liquid house bass line. In it, Alejandro Paz’s desire to keep on dancing to house music with all his descendants until the end of his days, eschews desires of immortality through artistic output and instead embraces the enjoyment of the pleasures of life while we’re still alive and breathing. Although Paz is writing a love letter to a musical genre that’s been generally uninterested with verbal dexterity, “El House” is yet another example of an electronic producer skilled enough in his rhetoric as to elegantly add emotional and humorous layers to his beats. - Pierre Lestruhaut

“En la Obscuridad”
“En la Obscuridad” immediately transports you to a trendy nightclub, laser lights criss-crossing the darkness and sequined dresses shimmering in every direction, the pulsing beat and echoing ohs pushing you onto the dancefloor. In spite of the ecstatic energy of the chorus, in the languid verses that accelerate into desperation, Belinda tells a different story. The story is of a breakup that feels like death, and suddenly the club is straight out of a dystopian fantasy and you’re dancing to welcome the end of the world. - Blanca Méndez

Cardi B
“Be Careful”
“Be Careful” finds Cardi B at her most singular, breaking through her well-fashioned template of brash rap anthems. And while Cardi threatening to cut her partner’s dick off if he dares cheat on her is pretty on-brand, “Be Careful” keeps the aggression mostly on the sidelines. Instead, Cardi’s anxiety and neurosis subsume the track, to the point that the refrain of “it’s not a threat, it’s a warning” seems more pointed at the shooter than the target. She’s definitely not afraid to make you bleed – what’s scarier is thinking how much it’ll hurt her instead. - Andrew Casillas

Hello Seahorse!
“Me Has Olvidado”
At the end of 2009, Hello Seahorse! were the hottest thing in Latin American indie, they rightfully crashed the top spots of Club Fonograma’s best of the 2000s lists, and LoBlondo’s voice was captivating the ears and souls of hipster Latino internet kids. Although their subsequent records were not met with the same enthusiasm as 2009’s Bestia, Hello Seahorse! maintain an aura of mysticism and “Me Has Olvidado” has grown to be the most enduring work of their post-Bestia era. As she laments about the inevitability of being forgotten, LoBlondo’s always astonishing vocals become another instrument in the mix, and the track excels as an epic build up tailor made for arena and festival crowds. It’s 2019, and no, we haven’t forgotten about you. - Pierre Lestruhaut

Triángulo de Amor Bizarro
“Estrellas Místicas”
“Hay tantas cosas que contar tan pocas las que quiero escuchar.” TAB starts “Estrellas Místicas” with the chiming of the jangly guitar and aggressive drums; it’s like a sack of wet bricks hitting the ground. A total jarring experience even after hundreds of listens that get you excited every time. - Pablo Acuña

“Nunca Paran”
“Nunca Paran” [was] billed as utopian, a celebration of perfect moments. Even with the best intentions that kind of party music will overindulge in too many ideas while forcing joy down our ears. But here those elements come together and play out as natural as watching a sunset. What begins submerged in heavy, chopped and screwed soundbites breaks through and turns weightless. There’s merengue that sneaks up and entices, there’s Marta Sánchez’s “Desesperada” vibes that want more than a simple 90’s flashback. On the chorus the low-key vocals cling to a light reggaetón, celebrating both the past and the future. A future that clearly belongs to MULA. - Giovanni Guillén (from “Nunca Paran” track review)

Longtime readers of Fonograma already understand our devotion to Chilean indie – but one thing that was unexpected was how this would converge with trap music’s meteoric rise. Gianluca’s earlier mixtapes and singles hit all the checkpoints of cloud rap and sad eboy music – something that signaled potential but was just short of greatness. “Bart” marked a turning point in the 22-year-old’s artistic evolution. Stripped of digital excess, anything that could be confused as run-of-the-mill, Gianluca gave us his most cutting and vulnerable song to date. Take the opening line, “Me siento como Bart cuando vende su alma,” the sentiment never reaches a beat drop and the lyrics carry on against limited fragments of R&B, guitar, and autotune. The drums do hit but only after the midway mark, slow and subdued. The depression fog doesn’t lift, not completely, but that was never the point. Gianluca sounds free. Sometimes that’s enough. - Giovanni Guillén

Dávila 666
“Esa Nena Nunca Regresó”
Any song that causes your mom to sing the chorus within 30 seconds of playing it must contain some inkling of genius. Either that or it’s just really damn catchy. Somehow I suspect that “Esa Nena Nunca Regresó” is both. While I admit that the whole sunny, 60s garage rock revival mostly eluded me, there’s no denying that Dávila 666 rocked the [start of the decade] like no other Iberoamerican act, delivering an excellent album that is all but devoid of fillers. Also, Scarlett Johansson was at their Cinco de Mayo party in New York. Probably. Maybe. - Reuben Torres (from Best Songs of 2011)

“Rutas Circulares”
In “Rutas Circulares” Belén Vidal tackles R&B, house, and even hip hop, but although the formula is a little less danceable and euphoric than what we enjoyed on her debut album, it continues to be effective. Her voice and the way in which she told us about interstellar trips already had us in love. Now, by magic, or rather, with the art of doing magic that this woman possesses, we have encountered the voice of a BFlecha with many more nuances, one that allows us to believe in the possibility of pop music that is both idiosyncratic and contemporary. - Pablo Acuña

Selena Gomez
“Bad Liar”
“Bad Liar” starts with Selena Gomez’s signature talk-singing – soft, static, and unbothered. The muffled claps in the background are even less bothered, but the low thrum of bass holding it all together hints at disaster. Then the chorus kicks in and we hear what Gomez is really thinking (or trying not to think about). As blasé as she tries to sound in the verses, she knows she’s a bad liar. The breakdown (breakthrough?) at 2:37 is exquisite in its rawness, a beautifully acted unmasking that’s more performance art than revelation, as she knows we all saw past the mask from the start. - Blanca Méndez

El Columpio Asesino
“Toro” was an instant hit and remains El Columpio Asesino’s best-known song to date. It even has a tribute remix album featuring contributions by Dënver, Algodón Egipcio, Balún and others. Included in the band’s fourth album, released in 2011, the song recalls decadent, dark and fuelled by drugs, sexual encounters over a simple bassline. The lyrics are sung alternately by both male and female lead singers, almost as two parallel soliloquies, in a style close to spoken word recitation. Synthesizers, motorik drum beats and a strummed guitar line drive the monotonous debut melody to an epic climax embellished with heavy moaning. - Glòria Guso

Kali Mutsa
Diving into the majestic depths of Kali Mutsa means to give three-fourths of yourself away to a world of crafty rituals, afflicting gastronomical feasts, and powerhouse operas. In its demo version “Tunupa” was already a standout, but its finished edit substitutes the demo’s program-based skeleton and reconditions the adventure with the warmth and romanticism of woodwind instruments. This healing piece achieves the sort of celestial plethora that can only be experienced by immersing your soul into the fragmented pupils of a black cat. A boundless, irresistible, and velvety single that placed Celine Reymond on our list of platform-hopping visionaries. - Carlos Reyes (from Best Songs of 2011)

“El final de la noche”
What to make of SVPER’s still relative obscurity? They had the bangers, they had CANADA directing their videos, and they had the support of the most relevant Iberoamerican music blog (it’s worth noting the band did have a much better name back then). Although their penchant for krautrock-like repetition and textures set them apart from most artists aligning themselves with global pop sounds, their craft was a brand of hook-centric pop that was as highbrow as it was accessible. Their biggest and catchiest hook formed the base for “El Final de la Noche,” which was curiously released the same year that the hook from M83’s “Midnight City” invaded every disco in Europe and beyond. SVPER still remains the obscure favorite of a few music nerds, and “El Final de la Noche” their most accomplished track to date, admirable for its melodic ascendance, and memorable for its colossal catchiness. - Pierre Lestruhaut

Tony Gallardo II
“Líder Juvenil”
2010 Latinx pop’s most resonant weirdo, Tony Gallardo spent the bulk of the decade specializing in unapologetic dissonant decadence. While his María y José project is the crystallization of his modus operandi, the tracks under his own name are where one can unpack his sound. “Líder Juvenil” is the moment where all the plumbing is exposed – where Gallardo’s ear for melodies best married concentrated cacophony. House, disco, new wave, hip-hop all simmering until they overtake everything else in your ear holes. It’s audacious in its self-consciousness – and it’s fantastic. One day we’ll all remark how only a small number of people got to hear Tony Gallardo in his heyday, but all of them ended up being able to bend metal with their minds. - Andrew Casillas

“Sigo Sin Entenderte”
Among crispy beats, Jamie James, better known as Louta, takes us beyond time, to a place where catchy melodies and lyrics touch the bittersweet irony and impact at first sight. “Sigo Sin Entenderte” releases a new kind of sound party, loaded with keyboards, synthetic sounds and everyday reflections where dance and synergistic energies intermingle. - Pablo Acuña

Jessy Bulbo
Equal parts songstress and sorceress, Jessy Bulbo might be the most powerful rocker in Mexico. Bulbo's “Belzebú” can be heard as a downtempo and delirious inversion of M.I.A's “Paper Planes.” At the same time, the track’s hypnotic spells of piano breaks serves as a reference point to White Magic, among other analog dissensions in the mapping of the witch house field. Throughout her dark prayer to Belzebú (or Lucifer), Bulbo medidates on the poetic journey of the diabolic figure. Ultimately, I am left wondering when will we see the immersion of a new Mexico City banda dedicated to the realization of the Cult of Bulbo. - Adrian Mata Anaya (from Best Songs of 2011)

C. Tangana
“Antes de morirme” [ft. Rosalía]
With the aid of producer Alizzz, El Madrileño embraces life in an almost hedonistic, rebellious manner in one of the many highlights of his short career. The precise inclusion of “Antes de Morirme” in the teen show Elite, in addition to the unforgettable contribution of a then soon-to-be-global Rosalía, complement Tangana’s vision of a resonant, universal feeling. What would you do before your life is over? In the Spanish rapper’s playground, this means going against social expectations while fulfilling personal desires and out of reach dreams. “Antes de Morirme” is a catalyst, a millennial anthem that’s as empowering as vulnerable. - Enrique Coyotzi

Siete Catorce
“Flor de Lirio”
Deliriously entrancing and structurally unnerving, the hard-hitting opening track of Siete Catorce’s EP2 exalts the Mexicali producer’s innate talents. He juxtaposes bleak sentiments with feverish cumbia, plus an auterish stamp equally influential and difficult to be surpassed. The ruidosón movement may have been ephemeral, but “Flor de Lirio” encapsulates the ambitious peak of its sound and serves as a testament of the genre’s peculiar craftsmanship. - Enrique Coyotzi

“Casa Latina”
Just like P.D. James’ Children of Men, “Casa Latina” imagines a dystopian era where dehumanization is almost inevitable. It has the aesthetics of Javiera Mena’s “Luz de Piedra de Luna” but turned into a horror scene: “Bebe, has sido un amigo fiel, no me fragmentes yéndote.” The end of the world is a pessimistic thought with endless possibilities to reflect on, Anwandter comes out as a digitalized (but very human) Brian De Palma in his narrative methods of questioning life’s artificial nature through text, and practicing an unrestrained-resolving mode of the medium. - Carlos Reyes (from Odisea album review)

Los Espíritus
Back when the dream duo of Lido Pimienta and María y José first got together for their Los Espíritus project, we all had a proper freakout. Now, after some time away, revisiting their work still evokes the same magic. “Pacifico-Atlantico” is a stream of consciousness love letter, narrated by the lovely and achingly earnest voice of Pimienta. The steady drum and resolute synths sail with determination across the seas – of societal expectations, prejudice, and closed-mindedness – that separate lovers. The twang of strings buoys the melody and punctuates the messy rhythm – and what an honest, beautiful mess it is. - Blanca Méndez

“Hace Mucho Tiempo”
The flute flashes a warning in the beginning of “Hace Mucho Tiempo,” and the otherwise leisurely pace of the song is hastened by the urgency of the trills in a morse code pattern of sorts that pierces through, almost as a caution to the object of Arcángel’s affections. His nasal tone riding the relaxed cadence of the drums lulls you into swaying along and getting lost in the cozy rhythm and cursi verses. Nevermind that what he’s saying in the hook is creepy af because, in the end, it seems like the woman he’s singing to doesn’t exist outside of his dreams.  - Blanca Méndez

Los Blenders
“Meta y Dinero”
Los Blenders’ title track is the earnest shout of sun-kissed euphoria. The perfect soundtrack to being lovesick. “Meta y Dinero” is bathed in surf rock and skate-punk intertwined with lyrics about youthful summer love. Loaded in dissonant guitar riffs and catchy melodies, the song captures Los Blenders’ sound identity. Hailing from Coapa in Mexico City, Los Blenders, more than music, served as a space of expression and gathering for youth seeking a space of belonging. - Marty Preciado

“En la Naturaleza (4-3-2-1-0)” [ft. Pedropiedra]
When Gepe’s “En la Naturaleza” was released some seven years ago, reggaetón and música urbana were in a very different place than what they’re in right now. So much, that my Best of 2012 blurb for this song praised its ability to bring together the disparate worlds of Latin indie and reggaetón, two camps that never even used to flirt with each other back then. Things have changed. Like Gepe, many of your underground artists have since then toyed with dembow and reggaetón, and a few novel mainstream urbano artists have even been praised by Pitchfork. Which means that, although Gepe’s conquista experimental feels a lot less edgy and distinctive in 2019 than it did in 2012, it also paved the way for what eventually turned out to be an inevitable trend: that reggaetón was ready to infuse all corners of the Latin pop music landscape. - Pierre Lestruhaut

Danna Paola
“Agüita” is like the Newport ad of pop, a brilliant and luminous invention that assures the listener total bliss. Written and co-produced by Javiera Mena (alongside Cristian Heyne), the song delivers all the trademarks of Javiera's best singles but with a notable hint of excess, embracing Paola’s higher-pitched vocal range to display an even wider range of feelings: vulnerable and suggestive, fun yet resolute. Don't even bother thinking of a genre for it, just file under “alive with pleasure.” - Giovanni Guillén (from Best Songs of 2013)

Until late 2019, it looked like Buscabulla were going to leave us with only scraps of their hushed brilliance. While it appears that they’re heading into the next decade where they left off, it’s helpful to remember why they were so beloved in the first place. And “Caer” is their clear high-water mark. Raquel Berrios’s vocals remain a wonder, melting into the track as the groove kicks into gear at the end of the first minute. Those vocals remain at the forefront as the track winds and turns through tempo changes and ethereal guitar noises, but Berrios stares it all down with power and precision. A powerhouse vocal performance for a powerhouse song. - Andrew Casillas

“En Medio de una Fiesta”
“En medio de una fiesta” is one of Dënver´s filthier tunes – a late seduction night scene set to a pulsing disco beat. The song flows slowly, picking up rattling hi-hats and strobing synthesizer as it oozes along the dancefloor. Meanwhile, Milton Mahan allows plenty of space for us to set images in our heads. But the band´s message is so clear there’s no need to imagine it: Dënver took the euphoric ache of classic disco, spiked it with their own obsessive brand of romanticism and teenage angst, and set a blueprint for everyone to worshipfully follow. - Pablo Acuña

J Balvin
If I can brag for a moment: when this song came out, I wrote on this site that “what J Balvin’s doing is changing the game,” and that he was “like Bosé with bottle service.” First of all, I did not mean to disrespect Miguel Bosé like that, as surely that man has a taste for the finest liqueurs that the rest of us could barely comprehend. But otherwise, “Ginza” remains a revelation four years later. Música urbana didn’t need J Balvin in order to thrive, but there’s no argument that he didn’t make it a better world. - Andrew Casillas

Casper Mágico, Nio García & Darell
“Te Boté (Remix)” [ft. Nicky Jam, Ozuna & Bad Bunny]
Amid all the celebration of overcoming a bad breakup and satisfaction of kicking someone to the curb, “Te Boté” remains deliciously somber. Even as these men, one after the other, brag about all the women they’ve been with since, how much better off they are now, there’s an underlying sadness to it all. And it’s these melancholy undertones that hold all the power. Sure, it’s easy to latch onto the braggadocio as a big “fuck you” to the one who did you wrong, easy to run with the anthemic hook that makes sure everyone knows you won the breakup, but the song is most honest in lines like “no te voy a negar que te sufrí y la pasé mal” because it’s the suffering that birthed the song, not the triumph of overcoming it. That part’s clearly still in progress. - Blanca Méndez

“La Nueva Ciudad”
Let’s start by privileging the facts: Balún, without a doubt, is a gold standard of dream pop music of the 2010s. “La Nueva Ciudad,” Balún’s display of virtuosity, is framed with synth-laden beats weaved with pounding bass drums while showcasing Angélica Negrón’s textured angelical voice. Balún intentionally and beautifully intersects dream pop and dembow resulting in ‘dreambow’; showcasing not only sound hybridity but the idiosyncrasy of diverse intercultural mixtures. The syncretism of Balún’s dreambow sound is synthesized in “La Nueva Ciudad,” a monumental song perfectly displaying lyrical capacity paired with range of breath; stretching the boundaries of both its own sound and form. Balún achieves sound versatility, lyrical potency and music impact in such a meticulous and elegant manner; one of the best acts in this decade. - Marty Preciado

Linda Mirada
Let’s get this out of the way: this is the best bass line of the decade, full stop. Build a statue for it and place it in St. Peter’s Square with all of the other beatified. Sacrilege aside, this remains a remarkable slice of slithering sophisti-pop. Grooves for days, yes, but it’s all about the execution: Linda Mirada channeling her inner Daniela Romo while Tangerine Dream-like ecstasy envelops the walls in fire and glitter. That Linda Mirada didn’t blow up is a crime. But in “Secundario,” we stan. - Andrew Casillas

The evolution of Arca as an artist has been a fascinating process that has developed in the eyes of the music industry. The Venezuelan artist captivated her own and strangers with her industrial production in Yeezus and FKA Twigs’ EP2, and then consolidated her sound in the mixtape &&&&&, where she exhibited her hybrid envelope between dissonance and hip-hop. But it was in the 2016 mixtape Entrañas where Arca anticipated the deconstruction of the vocal ballads in Spanish that would define her self-titled album. “Desafío” is a perfect example of the novel launch experience. As one of the most powerful moments of Arca, the distraught vocals of Ghersi repeat the phrase “Hay un abismo dentro de mí” in a painful way. The different layers of synthesizers come together to forge a feeling of catharsis and transcendence that perfectly complements the conceptual approach to sexuality and sadomasochism present in the video. Cathartic, provocative and sensual in equal measures “Desafío” showcases how unique of an experimental artist Arca is. - Pablo Acuña

Chancha Vía Circuito
“Jardines” [ft. Lido Pimienta]
The music of Pedro Canale is the sound of an archivist / producer with an ear to the gods and a heart that vibrates to the frequency of a seductive, enigmatic Earth. His ecological soundscapes are teeming with life: they are all mutating landscapes, fertile jungles and tropical, avian trills. The rhizomatic power of “Jardines” is both astral and tectonic, meditative and transportive. It feels rooted in the land and suspended in ethereal, cosmic fantasy. This is also the sorcery of Lido Pimienta whose multidimensional imagery transports us to a place in space and time where Colombianos and ancestros converge, weaving their memories in a cosmic pilgrimage to mark the end of linear thinking. “Jardines” is a metaphysical epiphany: an interruption to the logic (and the illusion) of time itself. By the end of the track, we like Lido, are begging (“¡Quiero ir!”) to be let in. - Zé Puga

Javiera Mena
“Ahondar En Ti”
Album opener of one of the seminal pop albums of this century, “Ahondar En Ti” initiates with a heavy beat and spacey sound effects, asserting disco as a foundation before giving way to Javiera’s emotional inflections. Her phrasing, both percussive and delicate, is especially heartbreaking when she sings “tú no me des la espalda, no, no me des la espalda / Me enamoré también de cuando me das la espalda.” - Souad Martin-Saoudi

Neon Indian
“Polish Girl”
“Polish Girl” may be Neon Indian's most straightforward pop statement to date, a song that infects every indulgent nerve in whatever part of the brain processes music. But that’s no reason to accuse the song of being some kind of red herring, everything about “Polish Girl” matches the dense sci-fi aesthetics of Era Extraña. Just as classical works go through dynamic changes, this is an allegro movement bursting in chillwave crescendos and a brilliant trip into a grooving territory that Alan Palomo is in full control of. - Giovanni Guillén (from Best Songs of 2011)

Tony Gallardo II
“Juventud Guerrera”
Another cannon in the arsenal of the #PopInsurrection of 2015 came from the prince of irony, cynicism, (and ruidosón) himself – Tony Gallardo. Sculpted as 80s New Wave, “Juventud Guerrera” was a “call to arms” but also the sublime recognition that we are already here. We have always been here. From the Young Combatants of Chile (contemporary Chilean pop being one of the catalysts that differentiate María y José from his Tony Gallardo II moniker), to the Indigenous / Anarchist youth of Mexico and the Black Militants of Baltimore, Ferguson, and Chicago – Tony’s declaration of anti racism and militancy feels timely but not tawdry. Far from being some cornball ass number, “Juventud Guerrera” acknowledges that we will die in wartime. Your proximity to the battlefield itself is subjective – the psychological and material realm of genocide and trauma is all encompassing. - Zé Puga (from Best Songs of 2015)

Astro’s first long-winded single “Ciervos” simulates the spacing, elevation, and movement of a post-industrial world where the variables of a natural environment and a human-built environment are still struggling to find order. And just like that, frontman Andrés Nusser and his Astro clan make it really clear that they’ll use every technique they know (even if they turn out excessive) to force you to puke all logical narratives and all your city demons. - Carlos Reyes (from Best Songs of 2011)

“Una Naranja”
How Diosque went from a decent singer-songwriter crafting romantic acoustic tunes to a fascinating synthpop maestro dropping dancefloor poetry is best represented in “Una Naranja,” the second track in Constante. From the instant the groove from the synth progression kicks in, it’s clear that this is a special song by an artist that was finally breaking out of a self-imposed shell of secure folk melodies. Working with members from the very underrated synthpop band Michael Mike must have surely helped unleash the pop prodigy that Diosque had only previously teased. But at a time when being labeled as an Argentine indie folk singer-songwriter made you seem awfully predictable and safe, “Una Naranja” and its perplexing accompanying video, made clear how much Diosque was ready to take aesthetic and melodic risks. - Pierre Lestruhaut

“A Marte”
“Voy a Marte, a buscarte...” Being an English-language blog, it's kind of a built-in belief that listeners from anywhere can appreciate the music we cover. “A Marte” is no exception; the second we hear that rapturous fanfare transform into symphonic R&B, all concerns on translation disappear. And yet, the narrative Belén Vidal describes is a whole different matter. Confronting such a simple play on words (amarte vs. a Marte) has never felt so intense; loving someone, after all, is a scary thing. BFlecha understands there’s no going back, the journey’s already begun. All she asks from us is that we root for her. - Giovani Guillén (from Best Songs of 2013)

Rita Indiana y Los Misterios
“El Juidero”
We can’t put a definition to this music, but for the moment, let’s call it Música Dominicana with universal eye. “El Juidero” is a juggernaut, a truly unstoppable scary force, it’s a horrific depiction of justice negotiated “a lo Jack Veneno.” Think of Omega and Eryka Badu as Bonnie & Clyde, “ni con bengay se mejora.” Blaxploitation. The ‘undocumented history’ of politicial and civilian assassinations in the Dominican Republic during the 70’s. “El Juidero” is the scene of a nation impacted by “el Trujillismo y el Balaguerato.” - Carlos Reyes (from El Juidero album review, and “El Juidero” video review)

It’s hard to digest that it has been 8 years since Fakuta released this gem, the second single from the album Al Vuelo. Airy and sprawling, “Aeropuerto” is exposed through a romantic open-heartedness that is all Pamela Sepúlveda. In 2011, this pro forma pop song intimidated us, and it keeps doing the damage, as it coasts on gentle programmed drums and synths as sharp as gasps. However, it’s Sepúlveda’s wistful, memorable hook, journeying through a series of gates to someone forever on the other side that pushes “Aeropuerto” to its peak. Collapsing into an agile vocal solo, “Aeropuerto” ends on an ethereal and emotive note, introducing the beloved era of Fakuta’s spare pop music. - Pablo Acuña

“Baby Tropical”
Like the 2014 NBA Finals, I still can’t believe that “Baby Tropical” happened – that this feral, oscillating, whirlwind of digital sounds actually came together out of the human brain. It remains not only one of the most difficult electronic-pop songs from the Latinx world, but its unapologetic Latinx-ness was ahead of its time. Filtering sounds from across the diaspora, from cumbia to bachata to ruidosón, “Baby Tropical” makes no compromises in its sound. This is to Iberoamerican music what Boris Diaw was to the stretch 5: underrated but essential. - Andrew Casillas

Bam Bam
One of Mexican rock’s shining lights this decade, Bam Bam never put it all together better than on this indie anthem. Few bands exploited tension better than they did, and “Abismático,” with its maniacal chants and booming percussion, wanted nothing more than to rip the guts out of all that anxiety. But this is also a band with a flair for the dramatic, and they knew exactly when to kick that guitar solo into high gear. If indie rock is a genre in decline, “Abismático” gave it one of its last moments of absolute triumph. - Andrew Casillas

“No Eres Tú”
“No Eres Tú” presents itself with a disembodied armor of disco sequences, and a whispering disco string announcing a hurtful realization: “Te he conocido todo este tiempo / me he dado cuenta quien eres tú.” Vocally, Mamacita could be described as an encounter between “upside-down” Diana Ross and Las Chicas del Can, occasionally exploding into the fetishism of Mariah Carey’s songbird abilities. A consumption song had rarely been this introspective. To feel like you’re not yourself once in a while is a beautiful and thrilling thought. - Carlos Reyes (from Best Songs of 2011)

“Pienso en tu mirá (Cap.3: Celos)”
Rewinding to Ceremonia 2019, I find myself lost in the crowd by myself, anxious for Diosalía’s performance. Without any further notice, I had the flamenco diva at my sight, astonishing red dress; I did not notice how sexy she could be in real life. With the help of El Guincho and the crowd palms, the backbone of “Pienso en tu mirá” started to form. I couldn’t think of a better opener. The third chapter from El Mal Querer receives the nickname ‘Jealousy’ and speaks precisely about a toxic relationship in which men exert violence against women, in this case through intimidation. Rosalía sings “Pienso en tu mirá, tu mirá, clavá, es una bala en el pecho,” through warm electronic sonorities with an “alternative” character. After my trip to Ceremonia, I will remember Rosalía as one of those artists with a unique personality, unmistakable. A remarkable achievement, at this point in her life. - Pablo Acuña

J Balvin & Willy William
“Mi Gente”
Hearing the words “Mi Gente” will always make me think of “My People... Hold On” by Alabama’s soul / disco dream Eddie Kendrick. My People was a prayer for Black resilience in the early 1970s, a time period in America defined by the post counter culture, the Civil Rights movement, and Cold War 1.0.  It was the dawn of urban guerrilla warfare and Black militant insurrection. “Mi Gente” sounds nothing like “My People...” but it does embody its populist spirit: dance floor unity in the face of anthropocentric annihilation. J Balvin  shouts out “Colombia” and Willy William stands in for “Francia.” Beyonce? ....she manages to stay true to herself while shading America: “Houston” – to the applause of anti-nationalist hearts worldwide. The gang donated “Mi Gente” proceeds to people across the Caribbean and Mexico whose lives were devastated by catastrophic storms, earthquakes and indifference. So when J Balvin claims “mi música no discrimina” and Beyonce answers “lift up your people from Texas, Puerto Rico, dem islands and Mexico” the words just hit harder. - Zé Puga

“Inténtalo” [ft. América Sierra & El Bebeto]
Perhaps the most dated-sounding song on this list, “Inténtalo” brings with it a flood of nostalgia for all the wonderful kitsch that came with the emergence of tribal and its short-lived residency on every quinceañera DJ’s playlist. The young trio from Monterrey pulled out all the digital bells and whistles for this surprising megahit that either awakens in you the desire to stomp around a dancefloor or to shut down the party altogether. Polarizing as the song was in its prime, it marked a cultural triumph that I’m surprised I haven’t yet seen resurface in meme form on TikTok, where it appears that Mexican American teens like to congregate and commiserate over how Mexican they are. - Blanca Méndez

Empress Of
“How Do You Do It”
Sensorially lush and structurally intuitive, the astounding “How Do You Do It” is the indispensable core to Me, Lorely Rodriguez’s first LP – and the materialization of her process of identity building. Essentially intimate, her lyrics move and transform, refusing the false clarity of orderly language, adjusting her writing to her subject. Her vocals, pure and exuding confidence and energy are haloed by the pulsing bouncy sound generated by xylo sounding synths that electrify dance floors. “How Do You Do It” carries in itself the marginal mystic of everydayness human relations. - Souad Martin-Saoudi

Plan B
“Si No Le Contesto”
The early decade single from the Puerto Rican duo was far from indicative of the current Latin urban explosion. But it’s one of those early examples of reggaetón going full pop while maintaining certain quirkiness to resound in the underground (take for instance Flyback’s woozy tropical take). An ex’s post-breakup jealousy is described with relatable precision and almost comedic swag by cousins Chencho and Maldy. Their chemistry is furtherly elevated by the avant-garde production of Haze, which transforms “Si No Le Contesto” into one of the decade’s ultimate anthem. - Enrique Coyotzi

Los Amparito
“4500 millones de años de soledad”
Built on flourishing vocals, layers of traditional Mexican music and kaleidoscopic sequences, “4500 millones de años de soledad” emerged as a succession of consistently mastered sonic explosions. If the track was mind-blowing back in 2011, it feels even more transcending over time. The project led by Carlos Pesina had managed to give regional folkloric sounds a digital fix up, creating an ethereal moment, a state of floating. - Souad Martin-Saoudi

Julieta Venegas
“Te Vi”
“Te Vi” begins with a big beat and off-kilter keyboard and ends with a spacey dissolve, but its brightest moments are less flashy. Venegas’ vocals are wide-eyed and soulful, while never revealing too much about the relationship at hand. Because it’s not important what happened, what’s important is what’s happening. “Te Vi” isn’t merely about unrequited love, it’s about the small moments when even a distant glance consumes your life to seemingly no end. And how you can’t do anything about it. And how that feeling sucks. But it’s also a tender, complex human emotion. That’s what this song is about, and it’s as weird and beautiful as anything that Julieta Venegas has ever put to tape. - Andrew Casillas

Los Rakas
“Abrázame (Uproot Andy Remix)” [ft. La Favi]
How in the hell is this song only nine years old? The texture of this now classic feels timeless – well, at least as old as 1992. “Abrázame” is Los Rakas’ trademark hip-hop meeting homeland reggaetón and Uproot Andy’s Casio chords (via the “Hold Yuh” riddim). It’s an upbeat sing-along that captures a summer of passion meeting its end: “Mira como tú me tienes / borracho y arrepentido.” Oh, to be young and in lust, dewy-eyed and heartbroken. - Sam Rodgers

Several years before we had Arca the transgressive non-binary conceptronica music icon, we had Arca the hard-to-categorize anonymous musical project of a Venezuelan prodigy. Her body of work since then has been consistently shapeshifting, always giving the middle finger to anyone who has ever attempted to classify her music. Arca’s largely unnoticed 2012 debut EP Barón Libre, closed out with “Spira,” a 7-minute dumbfounding upsurge of slick R&B melodies, chopped and screwed-style vocals, and a hallowed choir epilogue, that still constitutes one of her finest tracks to date. It belonged in its own universe of holy-fucking-shitdom, as it both alienated and fascinated almost all our staff, something that Arca has continuously kept doing throughout her career. As we look back at all the crowning successes she has accumulated since then, we’re swelling with pride from having been advocates from the very beginning. - Pierre Lestruhaut

Playa Gótica
“Reptil No Gentil”
It’s been a few years since the rapture of “Reptil No Gentil,” a thunderous record with enough dynamite to make its auteurs – Playa Gótica – one of the breakthrough powerhouses of the last decade. Simply put, “Reptil No Gentil” is a pop jewel in an album the band once described as “rotten,” full of “darkness.” The rotten darkness of the album and its revelatory first single was actually just a panoramic take on hallucinatory dream pop lambasted against melodic feedback, and cascading synths. The cinematography of Playa Gótica is a blazing portrait of cathartic heartbreak that stands naked & raw against the backbone of funky baselines and twangy, sparkling guitars. The susurrant voice of Fanny Leona sings in a soft melancholy but she also speaks riot girl and 80s (dark) balladry. Based on the quiet despair of the track’s lyrics, our protagonist won’t be escaping the purgatory of heartbreak anytime soon but the repetitive escape mantra of “alejarme de ti / olvidarme de ti” arrives just in time for the rapture: cascading noise and coruscating synths. - Zé Puga

“Revista de Gimnasia”
Thank God that Dënver were (*sniff*) a duo, because we can definitively say they are our favorite Chilean band of the decade. Among their top tracks (No. 2 in our 2013 list) is this ode to disco strings and unnerving storytelling. With pounding bass and dance floor-ready melody “Revista de Gimnasia” aims for both triumph and coquettishness, revealing a worrisome undercurrent of power play and exploitation. Who in the narrative is really saying “No entiendes nada?” - Sam Rodgers

Whitest Taino Alive
“Mi Bandera”
Immersing yourself in the deep waters of Latin rap can be an intimidating endeavor, in that a lot of it is coded in local slang and outlined by specific socio-political contexts you might not be familiar with. Which is why, whenever something from the underground of Latin rap music managed to tilt our heads, it was either because the rhyming aimed for broader themes or because the beats weren’t lagging too far behind the more progressive trends set by the U.S. industry. In the case of Whitest Taino Alive, it was both, and nowhere was this more evident than in their 2014 hit “Mi Bandera.” For starters, the beat is absolutely massive. Sampling the horn section of merengue star Fernando Villalona, the shit is hip-hop as party music in its finest version. And although WTA’s rhymes had Dominican slang everywhere, their relentless and witty pop culture references welcomed everyone into their own idiosyncrasies. - Pierre Lestruhaut

Carmen Sandiego
“Mi Novio Gremlin”
This understated song could be classified as mumblecore folk-rock. It’s like a student film that gets picked up at a film festival. Flavio Lira’s distinct vocals evoke thoughts muttered under breath, jotted down in a diary. Every descending phrase finishes with an ascending enunciation as the narrator bittersweetly signs off on hope. The accompanying video of a shirtless thot underscores the tricky balancing act of lusting after and knowing better. - Sam Rodgers

Helado Negro
After a decade of assertive experiments and a profound exploration of his compositional skills, Roberto Carlos Lange delivers This Is How You Smile, his most refined work to date. The LP’s centerpiece, the exceptionally beautiful “Running,” is a hypnotic meditation led by unadorned piano chords and the singer’s heartfelt coos. “You got me running on my mind” is a sweet revelation, a direct mantra that envelops Helado Negro’s simple but enthralling message. - Enrique Coyotzi

Triángulo de Amor Bizarro
“De la monarquía a la criptocracia”
The guitar in “De la Monarquía a la Criptocracia” crowds the soundscape, emanating from the center, colliding with the walls, and bouncing back on itself, like cigarette smoke and the heat of too many bodies fogging up a poorly-ventilated basement bar. Isabel Cea singing sweetly in the midst of it all sounds submerged, yet her cool composure conceals the sinister ticking of a time bomb, the rattle of the last screw coming loose. In the end, through a crack in her composure, Cea implores “arréglame, arréglame, arréglame,” but it’s hard to believe that’s what she really wants. - Blanca Méndez

Los Claveles
“Nacional 42”
“Nacional 42” is a dissertation of Spain’s highway A42, described by Los Claveles, as the horrific intersection where ruin and routine meet. Like some classic road songs (AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell,” The B-52’s’ “Roam,” etc.), this is not the most optimistic song out there. On the contrary, it’s an emotional tragic squash that at times feels profane and brutally disenchanting. The dexterity of guitar riffs outlines a doodle that feels humid, harmonic, and hazard. The band sings about a road without a landscape and sing-prays they don’t die among the dried flowers that populate a road God seems to have stopped watching over. A man’s confrontation to the road parallels with that of his love life; it haunts him in triumph and hardship, and it keeps him away. Guilt and redemption flirt with the track’s hooks, even saving some room for irony as they claim that love is to be afforded. A42, where religious entity is put into question and nostalgia reaches its saddest course. This is carved to-the-bone harmonious poetry, so austere and so achingly human. - Carlos Reyes (from Best Songs of 2011)

Cardi B
“Bodak Yellow”
A menacing and insurgent energy surges through the genetic structure of “Bodak Yellow,” one of the most iconic and essential tracks of our bloody, restless, and brooding decade. “Bodak” is a whole mood: tempestuous, warlike, and steeping in an ominous, sinister cauldron. Anarchy is the appropriate signifier – not only does Cardi sport it on her shoulder, she embodies its iconoclastic, restless spirit. Inspired (and vetted) by the notorious Kodak Black, “Bodak” was the Trojan horse for an album that cemented Cardi’s legacy and posture as a world class pop star, one of hip-hop’s most essential (and discerning) voices. Hate it or love it, the energetic rupture of Cardi B’s debut at the top of the pops was a pivotal moment within music history. Cardi’s position as a Black Caribbean woman and a (former) sex worker are essential compounds of Cardi’s already iconic legacy. Her assault upon the respectability politics matrix has already advanced the mainstream’s conversation around issues of criminality, sex, gender and work. Young, Black, gifted and conflictual, Cardi don’t need more press but certainly deserves all the praise.  - Zé Puga

Lido Pimienta
“La Capacidad” [ft. Las Acevedo & Diana Pereira]
Listening to Lido Pimienta’s work and any other contribution she’s turned to gold is such a salve. It’s unrepentantly her own creation and vision, unlike anything else out there and unphased by those who don’t want to get it. “La Capacidad” speaks directly to an individual’s sense of agency and to a woman’s right not to put up with the patriarchy, even if it’s couched within a loving heterosexual relationship. Sonically, Pimienta makes the woke mission statement “No nací para retrasar el feminismo mundial” triumphant and transcending. - Sam Rodgers

“Malamente (Cap.1: Augurio)”
The first single out of Rosalía’s second album El Mal Querer, “Malamente” announced what was yet to come: a diversion from the more traditional flamenco sound of her debut album Los Angeles in the direction of a melting pot of musical references including pop and reggaetón, and a big step towards her international recognition. The videoclip for the song caused sensation by mixing iconography related to religion and old Spanish traditions (such as bullfighting) in a peri-urban truck and car tuning setting, Rosalía being also accused of cultural appropriation. Almost whispering, the singer’s voice alternates with the sound of flamenco inspired, syncopated handclapping, telling a story about love and despair. Although quite different from the rest of the tracks in the album, “Malamente” has had its stylistic continuation in further singles released by Rosalía, often featuring other musicians, in 2019.  - Glòria Guso

Rita Indiana y Los Misterios
“Da pa lo do”
Every hipster listening to Vampire Weekend should feel fooled after listening to “Da pa lo do,” this is bona fide tropical bravura. This is Rita’s most heartrending moment in [El Juidero]. The story of two motherless brothers sharing a small bite of food and singing “Da pa lo do” brought me to tears. The kinetic powers of the lyrics are sustained by a strong muscle of drums and electronic pastiche, adding up to a song that transcends all walls of global pop. The stunning track with the stunning strings and the wounding palos has a wonderful video helmed by Engel Leonardo. This time around we’re taken to a land of faith, borders, and brotherhood, where the roads are redirected by the wind itself, and Rita Indiana makes a Marian apparition as a Blessed Virgin Mary. A video that excels in proportions, colors, and especially in the narrative of its rhythm. - Carlos Reyes (from El Juidero album review, and “Da pa lo do” video review)

Ases Falsos
“Venir Es Fácil”
The astonishing single that distanced Ases Falsos from Fother Muckers involves a startlingly detailed narrative about the migration of an African man into the American continent. In its narrative and tone, Cristobal Briceño´s delivery gives the whole thing a nail-biting and hostile intensity. In reality, the song is about the history of Occupé Bayenga, a Congolese striker playing for Chilean soccer club Deportes Copiapó at the time the song was released. Bayenga woke up the curiosity of Briceño to write confrontative lyrics that sound cheerful during the entire song: “Dime africano, ¿qué estás haciendo por acá? ¿Qué te parece el español? ¿Fue drama la alimentación? […] Te vi mirando a esa mujer, anda y ocupa tu poder.” Soccer and talent, in one song. There are many more and others will come. - Pablo Acuña

Alex Anwandter
“Siempre Es Viernes En Mi Corazón”
Is there a way to break free from the constraints imposed on us by political, religious, and economic institutions? Alex Anwandter has a few answers to this question, but we must warn you, they are as jubilant as they are nihilistic. “Siempre Es Viernes En Mi Corazón” is first and foremost a celebration of escapism, very much in the vein of the disco and house bangers that defined gay culture in the 1970s and ‘80s. But as Anwandter made the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights one of the central components to his art, “Siempre Es Viernes” is also his nihilistic call for the destruction of this world and its oppressive institutions. Bringing together the liberation of disco with the nihilism of punk, the success of the track ultimately lies in the elegant communion of these two cultures that often clashed with each other in the late 1970s. This song ultimately asks if there can really be any liberation without destruction. - Pierre Lestruhaut

Bad Bunny
“Solo de Mí”
Released in December 2018, as a prelude to X 100PRE – Bad Bunny’s album debut – “Solo de Mí” shifted Benito’s sound and soften the textures of his previously released tracks. “Solo de Mí,” produced by Tainy and La Paciencia, stands as a manifestation to Benito’s eclectic approach to morph and shape sound. This trap pop-infused ballad with gradual transformation into a heavy sub-bass energy served as a powerful message of self-determination, agency and respect; all these values clearly represented in the visual delivery of this track. The video stars a woman portraying a domestic-abuse survivor lip-syncing the lyrics as an anthem of empowerment and resolute standing towards her desires. A ballad about self-love and determination, el Conejo Malo delivered one of the most earnest and heart-warming songs of his musical journey that spearheaded one of the most important and valuable albums of latinx music history.  - Marty Preciado

Füete Billēte 
“La Trilla”
Füete Billēte’s function to “bring explicit rap back to Puerto Rico” encountered a feverish, grandeur scope with “La Trilla.” More than the quintessential pussy-popping hit and bro anthem of the year, “La Trilla” is a triumph of whimsical invention. Rendered in sun-kissed drops, Füete Billēte is alternately sympathetic and critical of the fantasy realm of hip-hop music. They subscribe to compact, weirdly witty transactions that embrace and humanize the continual thought of rappers as social fuck-ups. Instead, they unveil their urges into the foreground, breaking any lyrical and medium confinement on their way. “Mami móntate aquí / vamo a doblar trilla,” croons the chorus as they sanctify a night of drugs, sex, and chamomile. More than a remedied, sentimental track to fill the vacancy of quality urban music in the region, “La Trilla” is a provocation turned tour-de-force. An eventful track that excels in scope, structure, and execution – songcraft that’s defiant of the zeitgeist, disproportionately yearning, and devastatingly beautiful. - Carlos Reyes (from Best Songs of 2013)

“A quien amas en realidad es a mí” [ft. Lido Pimienta]
What makes “A quien amas en realidad es a mí” so compelling is the way in which it brilliantly accomplishes to combine heavy tropical percussion and ardent synth progressions with Lido Pimienta’s raw, funny and witty account of teenage love and lust (“todo lo que tenía puesto era de segunda, pero mi ropa interior sí era nueva”). Encapsulating the band’s web-configured vision, the track showed how loneliness, heartbreak and angst can also fit with catchy playful electro-pop. - Souad Martin-Saoudi

María y José
Fuck Bruno Mars. Tony Gallardo made the best song about a grenade in 2011. Remember that ending scene in Reygadas’ Batalla en el Cielo when a Mexican army retrieved a colossally large Mexican flag from Mexico City’s Plaza de la Constitución to the wounding drums of an infantry band? Well, “Granada” is the song that should’ve followed during the ending credits. This visceral piece starts on the edge of redemption and marches its way into a baroque, step-by-step danced tragedy about losing sanity. Gallardo is not looking to catch a grenade, he’s searching for the peace that will make his body and torn-to-pieces heart even. - Carlos Reyes (from Best Songs of 2011)

Rosalía & J Balvin
“Con Altura” [ft. El Guincho]
“Con Altura” led Rosalía into a foreign terrain: an urbano soundscape. Borrowing from dembow and reggaetón, Rosalía delivers one of the most celebrated tracks post-El Mal Querer. Bathed in deep old school reggaetón rendition and Rosalía’s lyrical and dance manifestation of flamenco; “Con Altura” provides one of the most beloved jaleos – ¡La Rosalía! – J Balvin’s straightforward infectious chorus, and a looped hypnotic sample by Frank Dukes accompanied by producer’s El Guincho intensified kick drums. The 2019 summer hit is the composite of El Guincho’s vision and support to Rosalía, “Con Altura” mirrors El Guincho’s nuanced approach to genre-bending, a meticulous care of sound and storytelling that we have been exposed to since El Guincho’s earlier musical days. Rosalía and El Guincho continue to be a winning team, and with J Balvin on this track, it only positioned the trinity at a higher level. - Marty Preciado

Javiera Mena
“Otra Era”
Javiera Mena’s third album approaches a glossier production through club bangers that expanded on her already impressive sonic palette. However, the title track “Otra Era,” is as affecting as her own classic body of work – ballads where words are cautiously chosen and melodies punch with meaningful impact. “Y llévame a otra era,” the singer pleads in the climax. Yet she was in that new era, one that she built with chameleonic grace and visionary instincts. - Enrique Coyotzi

“Por la Ventana”
Music’s impact alters our relationship to the past; there’s the reality of our true experience and the past we wished we had lived through. Look under any YouTube music video and you’ll more than likely spot that obligatory sentiment that goes like: I was born in the wrong year. We should all count ourselves blessed to live in the age of Gepe. In 2010 there was no song as infectious and simultaneously heartfelt as “Por la Ventana.” It was the kind of song that abounded in charm and confidence, unbothered to perhaps be misunderstood (those YO’s left people quite shook) or be written off as corny. This was Gepe’s first pure pop moment – battling charges of too singular for mainstream, too darling to fit in with real indie (this was 2010 and the cynicism that gave us Hipster Runoff was still long felt). But if you were open to the YO’s, if you submitted to the acoustic guitar, and eventually let the break down of electronic textures and handclaps just do their damn thing then it hooked you and nothing else mattered after. A star was born. - Giovanni Guillén

“Me Gusta la Noche”
“Me Gusta la Noche” is the sound of 2011 condensed into six minutes of sweaty, wide-eyed euphoria. But behind the beatz lies a heart about message about “dancing your dreams,” where big hearts give way to big dreams – an optimism that could have only felt right at the turn of the decade. It’s a testament to a time, early in this century, when pop music looked ready to give in to big, glittery dance-punk (think “House of Jealous Lovers”). That period quickly died for a number of reasons (best recapped in Lizzy Goodman’s excellent book Meet Me in the Bathroom), but “Me Gusta la Noche” exists as a reminder of the madcap glory of when indie rock bands rejected lo-fi skuzz in favor of chaotic and glittery pop wonder. - Andrew Casillas

“Los Adolescentes”
“Los Adolescentes” consolidated itself as Dënver’s mainstay track and mirrored the composite sound of the duo, Mariana Montenegro and Milton Mahan. The heavy-drenched synth band front loaded Chile’s indie pop re-emergence in the early 2010s, rightfully accompanied by acts such as Gepe and Javiera Mena. “Los Adolescentes” encapsulates mesmerizing harmonies and forthright lyrics that twirl with few words yet orchestrates a towering sound of lush dream pop, a staple sound of the early 2010s decade. The song layers reverb, punctuated synth arrangements and soothing melodies, all embalmed in the upbeat electronic energy. “Un día me dices quiero, al otro me dices tal vez.” “Los Adolescentes” enshrined the anxieties and dreams of whirling thoughts of love and euphoria; released by Cazador in 2010, the second single to offspring from Música, Gramática, Gimnasia, its soaring melodies served more than a song; but the anthem of an unclenched-jaw generation doused in hopes about a new decade. - Marty Preciado

For both mathematicians and the math-averse, “B33” presents a reason to get excited about physics. The precision of the production alone is exhilarating – clean synths, sharp beats, pristine vocals, all in meticulous layers. When BFlecha in the chorus sings about ecuaciones and vectores and la cuarta dimensión, it’s like looking at the glittering command center of a spaceship, as sensual as it is mechanical. Her focus propels her into space and beyond, taking you with her. In the beginning of the video for WJSN’s “Secret” (one of the best K-pop songs of the decade), the group asks: Have you ever felt the cosmos inside of you? BFlecha certainly has, and listening to “B33,” you can too. - Blanca Méndez

Alex Anwandter
“Cómo puedes vivir contigo mismo?”
In May 2012, when the video for this track came out, RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 4 was airing, the season that found the critical mass of its LGBTQIA+ audience, long before the mainstream started watching or being interested in drag and long before the critical acclaim of Pose. The video honors the same early ’90s ball culture of the latter, transporting Paris Is Burning to Santiago, Chile – the perfect imagery for the high melodrama of the song. Imagine not being moved to vogue at 2:45. Yas, gay anthem: “Siendo solo lo que soy / Es que entiendo lo que es real.” Yas, queer hipster king! - Sam Rodgers

El Guincho
The sonar echoes opening makes you feel like an underwater exploration and then finding a gap, a free space through which you can get in deeper: a soundscape fueled with steel drum patterns and syncopated waves of handclap beat. The audacious tropical collage leaves you with a surrealist impression of insular isolation and freedom. As if he was letting us resurface to catch our breath, El Guincho then breaks the melody to claim “Solo yo te pido que te quedes en donde puedas alcanzar lo que quieras conseguir. Y en cambio tú me pides que me quede donde puedas vigilarme hasta que te canses de buscar” before diving again into the waves. As the song comes to an end, you find yourself longing to revel once more in those rapid waves of rhythm. - Souad Martin-Saoudi

Javiera Mena
“Luz de Piedra de Luna”
There is a special, unmatched joy that comes from adding songs to the canon as soon as they are released. The minute “Dancing On My Own” debuted was there ever a doubt it would go down in history? Mena arrived, took home the perfect score, and the single to ensure that legitimacy was “Luz de Piedra de Luna.” The track is disco ascension at its finest. Javiera unravels it all with precision and restraint. The ballroom excess is filtered through pulsating synths, Lido Pimienta’s coos are enchanting, and the chorus descends with the full force of decades of queer music behind it. Category is: Legendaric. - Giovani Guillén

Natalia Lafourcade
“Hasta la Raíz”
It’s a long train ride, steady, quieter than you’d expect, lots of time to think as the landscape unfurls outside your window. When the ticker tape of fields and the wave of hills in the distance lulls you into stillness, it gives you all the room for contemplation and realization. The guitar in “Hasta la Raiz” is the chugging train, sturdy and focused and reassuring. Lafourcade’s voice in the verses echoes the determined movement of the guitar. Keep going, keep working, if you’re too busy to think about them, you’ll forget. But you can’t always be resolute as the vehicle carrying you. In moments of stillness you remember. Because some people have a hold on you like that, no matter how much you try or how much you think you’ve let go. They have roots in you so deep they’ve become tangled with your own. When the song slows to a stop and you step off the train in a new place you know that, despite the distance traveled, that person remains with you. For better or worse, they’re a part of you now. - Blanca Méndez