“Frío” – Omar Apollo
Submitted by: @tyewrite
This track is Apollo’s first song written entirely in Spanish. When he was back in his hometown for his brother’s wedding, he was making up beats in the attic he used to live in. From his interview with NME magazine, Apollo stated, “Once I was back in LA I brought it to my homie Kenny Beats. The song is about not wanting to repeat the same cycle of emotions — but also about being stuck in that cycle too. Coming in and out of the cycle of a relationship.” Apollo is a young Latinx artist that is emerging rapidly in the mainstream media, exploring new depths with incorporating Spanish lyrics to appeal to a bigger audience.
“Callaíta” – Bad Bunny
Submitted by: @eliii.gz
For non-Spanish speakers, Bad Bunny’s song “Callaíta” is about a closed off introverted girl who likes to party like crazy and live her life to its fullest potential. With it debuting at No. 8 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart back in June, fans seem to be loving it. This party hit is dedicated to all the shy girls who love to unleash their wild side once the night comes around.
“Paisaje Japonés” – Mon Laferte
Submitted by: leslieiggie18
Norma Monserrat Bustamante Laferte, who is professionally known as Mon Laferte, is a Chilean-born Mexican dual citizen singer-songwriter. Aside from singing she is also an actress. Mon Laferte is currently the most listened to Chilean artist on Spotify all around the world. The talented musician began playing the guitar at the young age of 10, and later started a music conservatory when she was 13. From working hard at a young age she achieved even more accomplishments and has become one of the most successful Latina artists in the world today.
“Enamorada de Ti” – Selena
Submitted by: @thedailytitan
“Enamorada de Ti,” which translates to “In Love with You,” was written by A.B. Quintanilla III and Pete Astudillo. In 1989 Selena was signed to EMI Latin Records and soon released her debut album under their label. Around that time her brother, Quintanilla, wrote and produced a lot of her tracks. As you listen closely to the lyrics Selena is singing about how crushed and lost she is by her love interest leaving her. She wants to express to her lover that she simply cannot live without him and without him she is nothing. In 1990 Selena performed the song at the Tejano Music Awards with her three backup dancers, matching dance moves that were popularized by Michael and Janet Jackson in American pop culture around the same time. She ended up taking home the award for the Tejano Music Award for Female Vocalist of The Year.
“Itotiani” – Chicano Batman
Submitted by: @matadorama
In a Facebook post, Chicano Batman said that Itotiani meant “Aztec dancer” in the Nahuatl language. Taking the time to listen to the song, you might think that the track is about a girl. The song emulates the feeling of your heart beating rapidly and the intense energy of your soul being reborn. The band continues by describing this female as mystical and beautiful, her soul spreading love. They are simply hypnotized by the spiritual being standing before them.
“Mi Negrita” – Devendra Banhart
Submitted by: snappedbykay
American-Venezuelan singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart spoke to Pitchfork in old interview, stating: “In Spanish, I can have a lot more flexibility. I have a limited vocabulary — in English and in Spanish — but with Spanish I can get more into the sound of the words, I can have more fun with it. I can even get more autobiographical in Spanish. I feel comfortable revealing more, expressing something sincere about trauma or pain, which is not really a space I’m comfortable occupying.” All throughout Banhart’s musical career he has had a funny way of expressing love and heartbreak through his lyrics. Heartwarming and melancholy at the same time, he has it all.
“Amor a Primera Vista” – Los Ángeles Azules ft. Belinda
Submitted by: aracastillo_
This summer jam mixes classic Mexican cumbia elements with hints of reggaeton. Well known Mexican musician Belinda collaborated with Descemer Bueno and Palencia to write “Amor a Primera Vista.” They wanted to reveal a story about two people meeting each other during a night out on the town and instantly having a romantic connection. Having a crazy night with someone you just met is probably something many people would like to experience. It’s the classic love story you would see on the movie screen packed into an easy listening track that everyone will love at a party.
“La Bamba” – Ritchie Valens
Submitted by: brendanreedcrabb
Pacoima native Ritchie Valens created a smashing Mexican folk song that continues to thrive decades after his tragic death. The lighthearted hit is extremely popular among mariachi bands and played at weddings. The lyrics, “Para bailar la Bamba se necessita una poca de gracia” means “To dance La Bamba you need to have a little grace.” Valens talks about having big ambitions, being willing to climb to the heavens and being filled with optimism. It resonated with the young teens during his time, especially with the Latinx community. Valens left a huge impact on the Latinx culture and audience, and united, the community was able to catch a glimpse of becoming the first Mexican rock star.
“Lo Que Siento” – Cuco
Submitted by: @snappedbykay
Possibly the youngest and most successful Latino artist thriving in the music industry right now is Cuco. In this Spanglish song, Cuco expresses how he daydreams of that one specific person, but he has been hurt so much in the past it is hard for him to let his guard down. In an interview with Genius he said, “’Oye cariño, solo pienso en ti’ — ‘carino’ is like an endearment term for like dear, or sweetheart. ‘Solo pienso en ti’ means, ‘I only think about you.’ And then, ‘When I wake up in the morning until I go back to sleep’ — it kind of says it within itself. It’s like, ‘Hey dear, I just think about you day and night, I can’t get over you.’ It’s how I am. If I’m into you, I’m pretty obsessive. I kind of hate that about myself. I’m super emotional — like, fuck, I like this person. The whole song in general is me being emotional as fuck. I think my whole career in general is like this roller coaster of me showing my feelings.” Perhaps the reason why Cuco is so loved by a young Latino audience is because he is making his dreams come true when he had very little, and he makes simple lyrics about love that most can relate to.
“La Camisa Negra” – Juanes
Submitted by: @andrews_drinks22
“La Camisa Negra,” which translates into “Black Shirt,” was written and recorded by Juanes but inspired by Colombian singer-songwriter Octavio Mesa. While the song received much success, it was controversial when it was used to support neo-fascism in Italy. Aside from that it is a club favorite if you are in a Spanish speaking country. The song is actually not about a black T-shirt; instead, Juanes is talking about a love that didn’t work out and how his soul feels empty and black. Heartbreak is a common theme in every genre of music, but the way Latinx artists express their feelings and creativity pulls at people’s heartstrings, and having a deeper connection with fans.