16 New Songs to Listen to This Week From Carlos Cruzalegui to Joaquina

Lead Photo: Photo by Giuseppe Falla.
Photo by Giuseppe Falla.
Read more

This is our weekly compilation of bite-sized reviews of newly released songs by our talented music writers. Discover new favorites, read nuanced criticism of the week’s hottest releases, and much more. Who knows, you might walk out of this with a new fave or two. Some of the featured artists include Carlos Cruzalegui, Joaquina, and Isabella Lovestory. Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music.

Carlos Cruzalegui, rulolo - “PARA QUÉ”

Peruvian singer-songwriter Carlos Cruzalegui’s latest feat, the sweeping “PARA QUÉ,” overflows with stacks of vocal warps and wintry synths. The rulolo-produced heavy electronica tones throughout “PARA QUÉ” hint that Cruzalegui is amid a major transformation, both sonically and on a deeper philosophical level, as the “Extrañaría Extrañaría” singer leans into a more agile tempo and ambient soundscape. The track’s video also doubles as a cinematic piece of performance and visual art that feels like stepping into Cruzalegui’s fever dream. — Nayeli Portillo

Joaquina - “Pesimista”

Reigning Best New Artist winner at the Latin Grammys, Joaquina pours her heart out on her new track, “Pesimista.” The 19-year-old singer-songwriter admits on the pop ballad that though she’s not a pessimist, she would fall apart if her relationship took a turn for the worse. “It’s about being far from the person you love and wishing that they were living all of these new experiences and things with you and seeing them everywhere you go,” she adds in a statement about the song. The impressive lyrical storytelling takes listeners into her mind, especially because “Pesimista” reads like a reflective diary entry. The road to the release of the Venezuelan-American’s sophomore album has us feeling anything but pessimistic. — Chelsea Quezada

Isabella Lovestory - "VIP"

Isabella Lovestory is giving a new meaning to “VIP.” With a hard-hitting ‘00s Southern rap production backed by a booming bass and her signature trap synth vibe, the Honduran-Canadian pop star curated a new bad b*tch anthem with major IDGAF energy. The unapologetic grimy earworm is worth a double-take. At first, you may be stunned by the bold lyrics, but later, the same words will provoke you to ooze the singer’s same confidence – and that’s enough to keep us hooked and ready for her upcoming album drop this fall. – Jeanette Hernandez

Elsa y Elmar - “VISTO (feat. Álvaro de Luna)”

Getting left on read is a near-universal experience in today’s digital age. Elsa y Elmar tackles the messiness of thoughts that can often follow a love story ended too soon. Through a buoyant pop melody laced with electro-synths, the artist unravels the disappointment that lingers after a past lover has left her dreadingly on seen. In comes feature Álvaro de Luna, whose verses provide a reflection from the other half of the story. Together, the duo, along with the visuals, create a narrative around distracting themselves from the thoughts of missing each other and wishing it had worked out, but simply not capable of reaching out after the dooming act of being technologically forgotten. – Jeanette Diaz

JEDET feat. Villano Antillano - “Sex Tape”

Hailing from Spain, multidisciplinary artist JEDET hits the ground running with her new EP, THE DOLL, launching a bombastic single alongside Puerto Rican superstar Villano Antillano. The song “Sex Tape” finds the two bombshells teaming up to compare notes on their sexual conquests and how they can reminisce by revisiting their romps on video. The collaboration had been a longtime fan request of the two divas, and considering the success of their solo projects, this perreo is bound to be an all-inclusive club banger. THE DOLL will feature a wide array of guest artists — such as Ms Nina, Kenya Racaile, BEA PELEA, and Cocco Lexa — who are sure to make it an unmissable album. — Juan J. Arroyo

Ela Minus - “Combat”

Electronic musician Ela Minus is back with a new song that series as a grand statement delivered in a grounded manner. “Combat” is a beatless track that verges into ambient territory, creating a mood through synth patches and sustained notes. However, the track is anything but serene background music, instead evoking something that involves the listener in every step of the way. By the time her vocals enter the picture late into the song, “Combat” becomes as much a rallying cry as a piece of abstract art, giving us electronic music that is both relatable and forward-thinking. — Marcos Hassan

Meridian Brothers - “Mandala”

Meridian Brothers leader Eblis Álvarez has long been described as a musical scientist, and in the new video for “Mandala,” we get to see the madman hard at work in his sonic laboratory. Surrounded by shelves of synthesizers, stacks of percussion instruments, and bouncing back and forth between his guitar and double base, Álvarez cobbles together a mesmerizing stream of consciousness on the ongoing evolution of tropical music. The track harkens to funky, vintage barranquillero deep cuts that tease the African highlife and champeta motifs of Meridian Brothers’s next LP, Mi Latinoamérica Sufre, out July 12. – Richard Villegas

Aaron Frazer - “Dime” (feat. Cancamusa)

For his latest single “Dime,” Aaron Frazer tapped Chilean artist and fellow singing drummer Cancamusa to complete his gentle picture of new love. This soft and soulful Tropicalia-scented jam is actually inspired by heartbreak, but instead of going down the sour route, the pair reminisce in English and Spanish about the best bits of a failed relationship, capturing the swooning essence of blooming romance. — Cheky

Superfónicos - “La Semilla”

Austin Caríbe-cumbia rockers Superfónicos stay grounded and embrace the fluidity of life in their latest single “La Semilla.” The track, warmed with lush instrumentals and zigzagging guitars, is a preview of their forthcoming album Renaceré via Austin’s own Spaceflight Records. “La Semilla” calls attention to the ways we can be led astray but offers us a reminder that the biggest form of guidance can come directly from our past: “El camino alumbrará,” “Nunca te pierdas en los espejos negros de la modernidad/y todas sus trampas.” — Nayeli Portillo

Noreh - “Aguas Profundas”

Venezuelan singer-songwriter on the rise Noreh is out with a new single just a few months after the release of his EP, Baladas Tatuadas Vol. 1. “Aguas Profundas” is an emotional message to a past lover who is moving on with someone new. Noreh reminds them that the current connection doesn’t hold a candle to the one they once had: “No te confundas/Porque lo nuestro fue de aguas más profundas.” Tapping into his familiar bossa nova sound, the ambient guitar and his raspy tone complete the heartsick feeling. — Chelsea Quezada

Lucho SSJ, Duki - "CASABLANCA"

Lucho SSJ and Duki partnered up to release a dancehall trap single, “Casablanca,” part of the 22-year-old’s upcoming MTFC album. Produced by Buenos Aires-based Awesome Pierre, the song incorporates a contagious and compelling trap beat with gentle – yet driving – guitar chords that open the way for the two artists to lay their flow over. Together, they trade verses about their hard-earned luxuries, money, and lifestyle. But the real standout here is the music producer behind the rappers’ bars who understood the assignment. – Jeanette Hernandez

Jazlyn Martin -"Perfect"

A rising newcomer, Jazlyn Martin shares a stunning debut single with “Perfect.” The songstress delves into her most vulnerable self on the track, as she untangles the meaning of the word and the unrealistic pressures that it so often carries. As the orchestral string-backed R&B melody carries on, so does the realization that true beauty lives in the acceptance of imperfection. It is in the euphony of her soothing, velvet vocal tones alongside a warming piano play that provide a refuge of reassurance for listeners to join in on her journey of stepping closer into her authentic truth on her introductory single. – Jeanette Diaz

Teff - “Suerte”

Born in Caracas but raised in the U.S., Stephanie “Teff” Martínez has always been drawn to the magic of music. As a songwriter and audio engineer, she’s found success, including a Latin Grammy nomination. However, she’s a versatile singer as well. This week, she releases her newest single, “Suerte.” The song is an upbeat celebration of mutual love, propelled by a joyous tropical pop sound. The size of the audience for this vein of music shouldn’t be underestimated, and Teff knows how to deftly channel all the elements that make the genre successful. With “Suerte,” she’s created a track that can become many listener’s summer favorite. — Juan J. Arroyo

Los Bitchos - “Don't Change”

Against all odds, fun-loving instrumentalists Los Bitchos have delivered an instrumental track that could well become the song of the summer. “Don’t Change” is a lively and warm song that features evolving melodies and a beat you can dance to, as well as many twists and turns that make it an engaging listening experience. In short, the track is a blast to listen to while remaining easy on the ear, with guitar riffs riding mightily like surfers on a wave. If you still have doubts about it, just watch the video and let yourself go with the flow – Marcos Hassan

Javier Arce, VRDNYN - “JRMNT”

For over a decade, Cocofunka has been one of the biggest pop-rock bands in Costa Rica, and while lead singer Javier Arce has stepped out with several solo singles over the years, he’s finally ready to unleash his debut album on the world. The first taste arrives with “JRMT” (or “Juramento”), a slinky, melancholy earworm about the unbreakable bond between two people, steeped in house bass lines and disco flourishes produced by VRDNYN. The video follows a sleekly dressed Arce through San José with eery shots in tunnels, gas stations, and a Chinese restaurant, all to the song’s pulsating beat and an oddly accurate representation of the wild, random turns of a fun night out with friends. – Richard Villegas

Perdido - “Aqui”

Carioca artist Perdido strips down to little more than an acoustic guitar and his bare voice and gives us an autobiographical ride on “Aqui,” his new single, right after his 40th birthday. Accompanied by a self-directed video that feels like a nostalgic time machine, “Aqui” is Perdido’s brief, heart-wrenching account of how time has changed him in four decades while always staying true to his dreams, managing to make us shed a tear or two in under two minutes. — Cheky