Música mexicana continued to thrive in incredible ways in 2022. Remezcla is looking back at 10 of our favorite songs of the year across the genre spectrum, from corridos to more traditional Regional and all its new itirations.
The rising Gen-Z stars in Mexico and the U.S. pushed música mexicana to new heights this past year. The biggest success story was the Washington-based trio Yahritza y Su Esencia. Following the release of their debut single “Soy El Unico” in Mar., lead singer Yahritza Martínez made history as the youngest Latine artist to appear on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at 15. Yahritza y Su Esencia’s song debuted at No. 20 on the largely English-language music chart.
Another band that made history this year was Eslabón Armado. The same week that Bad Bunny opened at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with Un Verano Sin Ti, the Mexican-American group appeared at No. 9 with the LP Nostalgia. That marked the first time that a música mexicana album appeared in the top 10 of the chart. While Eslabón Armado is known for their emo sound, their frequent collaborator DannyLux is making a name for himself with his rock-infused corridos.
Back in April, Mexican singer Natanael Cano brought corridos tumbados to the mainstage of Coachella. He also introduced the genre to rising Dominican star Tokischa, who put her own punk-inspired spin on the genre. Cano’s Rancho Humilde labelmate Junior H continued to sell out arenas across the U.S. with his sad boy corridos. Conexión Divina emerged this year while giving more voice to women in música mexicana, as well as the queer community.
These were our favorite corridos and Regional Mexican songs of 2022.
– Lucas Villa
Tokischa, Natanael Cano, “Kilos De Amor”
2022 was a breakthrough year for Tokischa. As a leading Dominican voice in dembow, she collaborated with artists like Rosalía, Marshmello, and Madonna. One of her most surprising collaborations also yielded one of her best songs of the year. She dabbled in corridos tumbados alongside the genre’s leader, Mexican singer Natanael Cano. The two singers teamed up for the emotional love song “Kilos de Amor.” Tokischa gave her most punk-driven performance to date as she sang about dealing out her love like it was a drug. Cano proved to be her perfect complement with his swagger and the Mexican authenticity to the fiery track. Tokischa is welcome to the carne asada any time. – Lucas Villa
Los Aptos - "Confiar En Mi"
A big moment for Gen-Z breakthroughs, Los Aptos joins the ranks of young artists making waves in pushing new frontiers in music. With the release of their latest album, Historias Pa’ Contar, their leading single “Confiar En Mi” stuck out as one of the year’s favorites in the world of sierreño. A refreshing take on the typically sad and bereft heavy genre, an initial soft and despondent guitar melody is uplifted with additional strings and bass lines to move the song along from being doused in the sadness of heartbreak to eventually work through the pain and finding the healing light at the end of the tunnel with a little help from friends. The song encapsulates a common shared experience of rebuilding confidence and self-worth once lost through a relationship while still being able to reflect on a love once shared with grateful eyes. In an era more exposed to discussions around therapy and mental health, we have to stop and appreciate that more hopeful and healthy themes are making their way into popular music. – Jeanette Diaz
Grupo Diez 4tro - "Vida Prestada"
Hailing from Sacramento, CA, Grupo Diez 4tro made an immediate impact on the Regional Mexicano landscape thanks to their sound and charisma, as best heard in this standout song. Propelled by 12-string guitars and contrabajo, “Vida Prestada” lays down a seize-the-day message that emphasizes the short time we have in this earth. Though a pretty hard stance on life in general that never feels heavy-handed, the song feels life-affirming thanks to vocalist Moreno’s delivery and the influence of drill music. The best qualities of Grupo Diez 4tro made a case for the appeal of the entire corridos tumbados genre: you can stare at death in the face, accept your fate, and have a good time before it’s time to go. — Marcos Hassan
DannyLux - "No Te Quiero Perder"
The Palm Springs-born artist DannyLux is part of the new Gen Z-driven alternative Regional Mexican genre. With “No Te Quiero Perder,” he locked in a relatable and modern sad boy alternative sierreño dipped into rock that highlights emotional lyrics on top of a rhythmic acoustic guitar a la norteño. The young Mexican-American’s soothing voice, paired with his innovative, out-of-the-box soundscape, cements him as one of the next generation’s most interesting artists to watch out for. We’re not the only ones paying attention either – music giants like Coldplay already noticed the emerging star’s talent and shared stages with him this year. How’s that for the start of your musical career? – Jeanette Hernandez
Junior H, Luis R. Conriquez - "Los Botones Azules"
This collaboration was going to be a big event no matter the result. That being said, both artists turned in a classic. “Los Botones Azules” followed the tradition of corridos about drug trafficking and the people behind them, the good life that this has given the protagonists while also observing the many dangers of their trade. Through banda sinaloense-adjacent arrangement and a bouncy pulse, Junior H and Luis R. Conriquez came off as ice-cold killers in their lyrics, dropping slang-heavy bars to lay out a self-mythologizing track that begs to be played multiple times. Songs like “Los Botones Azules” are as pervasive as reports from a warzone. — Marcos Hassan
Conexión Divina - "Odio"
Back in Sep., the all-women sierreño trio known as Conexión Divina — comprised of vocalist and guitarist Liz Trujillo, bassist Sandra Calixto, and requinto player Ashlee Valenzuela — made their debut with “Odio,” the ultimate unrequited love anthem. The airy, diaristic ballad shows Trujillo at a complicated crossroads where she agonizes over a lost love while expressing her exasperation. She’s well aware that she’s in the throes of an unsustainable romance but still yearns for the object of her affection to come around and see her for who she is. “Odio” is also a momentous occasion and marks a progressive (and long overdue) turning point in música mexicana, as Trujillo and Valenzuela are two openly queer artists in a largely heteronormative genre still laden with machismo. — Nayeli Portillo
Itzel Vida feat. Grupo Diez 4tro - "No Me Vas A Convencer"
While most breakout stars from the new school of corridos tend to stick to their trusty bajo sextos, this year, Baja California singer Itzel Vida boldly branched out into banda sinaloense with the lovelorn torch song “No Me Vas A Convencer.” Joined by her meteoric Cut Throat Entertainment label mates Grupo Diez 4tro, the song unfolds as a banda slow burner dissecting the aftermath of a fiery but ultimately doomed romance. Vida and Grupo Diez 4tro frontman Jesus Moreno have it out verse by verse, playing a dangerous game of chicken and speculating who will be the first one to fold and apologize, all while the blaring brass section infuses their dialogue with cinematic drama. – Richard Villegas
Grupo Frontera, “No Se Va”
One of Colombian group Morat’s hits found a second wind this year through another band. In 2019, Morat first released “No Se Va” as a single from the album Balas Perdidas. The original version has over 237 million streams on Spotify. This past year, Texan band Grupo Frontera experienced a breakthrough year with their cover of “No Se Va.” The sweet love song received a regional Mexican update with a cumbia twist. In a live performance, Grupo Frontera’s lead singer, Adelaido “Payo” Solis III, injected “No Se Va” with mexican soul that has helped the song connect with a new audience. With over 150 million streams of their version on Spotify, Grupo Frontera is here to stay. — Lucas Villa
Eslabón Armado, DannyLux - "Si Supieras"
After striking a sensation with their first collaboration “Jugaste Y Sufrí” last year, rising Gen-Z artists Eslabón Armado and DannyLux are respectively leading the way on the modernization of more traditional tropes of Regional music. Teaming up again, they released another major hit with this year’s “Si Supieras.” Featuring on the tracklist of Eslabón Armado’s most recent album release Nostalgia, the sierreño stars navigate through an easy-flowing, string-reliant ballad as the two vocalists share verses on the heartbreaking nature of running into someone you love who seems to have happily moved on without you. We also have to love their chorus wordplay, which nods to their prior hit by leading off with “Jugaste Y Sufrí,” making their collaborations feel like a continued saga that we hope continues to deliver more emotionally loaded bangers we can all enjoy singing along to – regardless of relationship status. – Jeanette Diaz
Yahritza y Su Esencia - "Soy El Único"
As interest in corridos continues to grow on a global level, young artists within the regional genre keep shattering records previously set by their predecessors. At just 15 years old, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and Yakima, WA, native Yahritza Martinez made history as the youngest Latine artist to ever chart on Billboard’s Hot 100 with her debut single “Soy El Único.” Backed by brothers Jairo on the bajoloche and Armando “Mando” Martinez on the 12-string guitar, the all-acoustic, soul-bearing torch song quickly won over regional traditionalists and heavily online Gen Z audiences alike. Each melancholic, heartwrenching hook (penned by a then-13-year-old Yahritza) showcases her raw, unremitting croons as she veers from lamenting a lost love to aching for closure, sometimes all in the same breath. — Nayeli Portillo