Latine pop music continued to thrive and evolve in unexpected ways in 2022. Remezcla is looking back at 10 of our favorite songs of the year in pop and dance music.
The lines of what constitutes Latine pop music continued to be blurred as different genres blended. Karol G stepped away from reggaeton momentarily to deliver one of the biggest songs of the year. The Colombian superstar dabbled in Afrobeats for her feel-good anthem “Provenza.” The music video was the most viewed of 2022 on VEVO, and it helped position her as the most-watched artist on the platform. Bad Bunny similarly experimented with dance music in the dreamy “Neverita” from his blockbuster album Un Verano Sin Ti. We’ll never forget the retro music video inspired by Elvis Crespo’s classic “Suavemente.”
Mexican singer Girl Ultra pivoted from R&B with her breakthrough EP El Sur, reflecting the music of Mexico City’s southside. Argentine producer Bizarrap became a worldwide star this year when he mixed elements of EDM with the hip-hop beats he’s known for. In “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 52,” he teamed up with Spanish singer Quevedo, and the two topped the Billboard Global 200 chart.
Mexican pop star Danna Paola made her return with “XT4S1S,” where she blended electronica with alternative music influences. Brazil shined with the breakthroughs this past year of Gloria Groove and Ludmilla. The women of Argentina also extended their reach beyond their country when rising stars Emilia and Nicki Nicole teamed up for a fierce collaboration.
Check out the full list of our favorite pop and dance tracks of 2022 below.
– Lucas Villa
Emilia, Nicki Nicole - "intoxicao"
It’s undeniable that Argentina’s mainstream is having a trap moment. From Bizarrap to Paulo Londra, we’re constantly hearing about Argentinian stars that are charting hit after hit in the biz – but there’s also empowering femme voices that are equally leaving their mark. “intoxicao” by the popular artist Emilia and the emerging rapper Nicki Nicole is one of this year’s strong female-fronted testaments. The sharp trap-infused pop track, paired with the duo’s edgy flows and catchy chorus make for one of this year’s best pop and dance tunes. In this number, Emilia’s lower range flow seamlessly ties into Nicki’s higher-pitched vocals, demonstrating two diverse singer-songwriter tastes that hail from South America – and we can’t wait to hear what’s next. – Jeanette Hernandez
Princesa Alba - "k-pop star"
After penning a string of songs on female friendship on her LP besitos, cuídate, Princesa Alba came back this year with a different proposition to a new amiga on the album’s deluxe version. “Play with me, estoy aquí / Si dices que sí, prometo darlo to’ lo mío / You know me, te pido una oportunidad / Para probar que va a gustarte,” she croons on “k-pop star” as she shoots her shot with a woman she finds cute. Though the song says she’s attracted by the girl’s “K-pop star vibe,” it’s Princesa and her magnetizing popstar allure that keep us hooked on her cheeky lyrics and her unique way of blending bubblegum pop with reggaeton stylings. Como Princesa Alba, no hay. She remains one of the few Latine acts highlighting the best of the pop sound instead of dialing it down for a mainstream appeal. – Alexis Hodoyán-Gastélum
Debit x Koreless - "Black Rainbow" (Tribal Bootleg)
2022 will be remembered as a landmark year for Latinas in experimental music, and Debit was right in the middle of all of this. After The Long Count — her ambient album in which she used the sounds of ancient Mayan instruments to craft it — she showed her ability to switch gears and deliver some of the best tribal guarachero since the genre’s heyday. Her rework of Koreless’s “Black Rainbow” — as found on the latest installment of N.A.A.F.I.’s Pirata series — gave her the perfect excuse to give us hard triplet drums along with experimental vibes. The tribal revival is upon us, and Debit should be credited as one of the best to do it today, along with her other amazing endeavors as a musician. — Marcos Hassan
Gloria Groove - "Vermelho"
Brazil is a violent country for the LGBTQIA+ population, and it has alarmingly high figures of discrimination towards this community. Thus, it’s remarkable to see drag queen artists like Gloria Groove reaching the top of the industry in the last few years. But Gloria’s versatile vocal skills are the ones to blame for the solid career path that eventually made her one of the main names in Brazilian pop music. In “Vermelho,” she nods to late MC Daleste, revamping his “Dama de Vermelho” while concocting an irresistible pop version of São Paulo’s darkest baile funk side: the overdriven, power guitar-like riffs shaped as beats. — Felipe Maia
Ludmilla - "Socadona"
The days when Ludmilla was known as the baile funk one-hit-wonder MC Beyoncé are long gone. Today, she’s at the forefront of Brazilian pop, with several tracks on the top charts, one Latin Grammy on her award list, and an incredible headlining performance in Rock in Rio 2022. “Socadona” points to a new moment of her trailblazing career: the world. Along with Mr. Vegas, Mariah Angeliq, and Puerto Rican producer Topo La Maskara, Ludmilla transformed Caribbean soca into an upbeat pop theme that fits for the underground clubs or sunset lounge parties. — Felipe Maia
Danna Paola - “XT4S1S”
For a large amount of 2022, Danna Paola mostly stayed quiet on the music front. Early in the year, the Mexican pop star teamed up with glam rock band Moderatto to cover the RBD classic “Sólo Quédate En Silencio.” In Aug., she made her triumphant comeback with the single “XT4S1S.” She continued to channel the alternative rock sound of her RBD cover with an electronica twist. Danna sang about a romance that felt like she was in a constant climax. She co-wrote and co-produced the alluring love song with her boyfriend Alex Hoyer. Danna’s freedom in creating her own music translated beautifully into one of the year’s most feel-good anthems. – Lucas Villa
"Quevedo: Bzrp Music Sessions # 52"
Inescapable. There may be no better word to describe Bizarrap’s blockbuster “Music Sessions, Vol. 52,” which saw the enigmatic Argentine producer link up with Canarias rapper Quevedo for one of the year’s most played club bangers. A sonic rollercoaster ride, Bizarrap’s neck-breaking production leads the track from slow-burning ambient atmospheres into prismatic EDM, later waltzing into baile funk and malevolent trap. In perfect sync, Quevedo holds his own at every beat change, pouring the full might of his now iconic baritone into the song’s longing and infinitely memed hook. – Richard Villegas
Girl Ultra - "BOMBAY"
Mexico City’s music scene is activated with the buoyant underground world of electronic house music. Bringing some of this freshness street level is Mariana de Miguel, better known under her stage moniker Girl Ultra, after the release of her latest EP El Sur. Presenting a more dark and freshly experimental direction for the singer, the standout track “BOMBAY” saw her reinvigorate her sound by melding a world where her sultry vocal R&B stylings meet uptempo house and jungle-inspired electronic beats. Highlighting that Girl Ultra has been on the innovative heels of the subculture, the single immerses listeners into a hypnotic dance single that pulsates with the vibes of an after-dark dancefloor rendezvous with a sans-inhibition version of yourself. There’s an ethereal energy ignited through the artist’s use of melodic tension, vocal intonations and past-life house party DJ library knowledge that has us repeating “si, si, si, si, si,” after each spin. – Jeanette Diaz
Karol G - "PROVENZA"
Karol G’s tropical Ovy On The Drums-produced track “PROVENZA” was one of this year’s most played anthems. Not only did it slay on the charts, but it also proved that the long-time collaborators are not a reggaeton one-trick-ponies; their musical palette expands to dance music and beyond. From the start, the iconic intro “Baby, ¿qué más?” on top of the Afro-house track’s mellow ambiance generates a breezy, easygoing tune that’s easily a go-to track on a sun-filled day. There’s just something about the Colombian’s chorus cadence with the melody’s distinctive high-pitched, almost whistle-like component that served as the magic touch on this one. – Jeanette Hernandez
Bad Bunny - "Neverita"
“Neverita” is a perfect example of Benito’s imperial dominance in the music world. “Neverita” was definitely a standout on the amazing Un Verano Sin Ti, but once it was released as a single, it became an event. A melancholic tune in the tradition of Bad Bunny’s best thanks to its catchy one liners and melodic motifs, the song’s charm comes from its ability to morph from four-on-the-floor kick drums to trap beats and back again. It was the musical equivalent of fighting tears while partying, a quality that made it one of the most emotionally satisfying songs of the album. And then there’s the video, which paid tribute to Elvis Crespo’s “Suavemente” and broke the internet for a few days, bringing us laughter and excitement even as Benito sang of heartbreak. “Neverita” reflects el Conejo Malo’s global impact, but in the end, it wouldn’t amount to anything if it wasn’t for his songs’ layered constructs and emotional impact. These are the factors that make Bad Bunny one of the greatest artists of our time. — Marcos Hassan