Latine pop music bounced back with a vengeance in 2023. Icons in the genre like Colombian queen Shakira and Chilean visionary Alex Anwandter made triumphant returns while rising stars like Mexico’s Danna Paola and Kenia Os breathed new life into what is turning out to be a burgeoning scene.
Shakira’s return to the top of the charts around the world is proof that Latine pop is back. Pop is short for “popular,” so it encompasses creating a refreshing combination of multiple genres. Shakira revived her pop career by teaming up with Argentine producer Bizarrap for “BZRP Music Sessions #53,” which blended EDM with elements of el movimiento like trap. She dove deeper into reggaeton music in the fiery “TQG” alongside fellow Colombian superstar Karol G. Through both songs, Shakira was able to channel the hurt from her ex’s alleged infidelity into cathartic kiss-off anthems.
More pop stars collaborated with reggaeton acts like Spain’s Rosalía with Puerto Rico’s Rauw Alejandro. After years of dating, they finally came together for the RR EP, which combined both their worlds of music. Sadly, their engagement in the “Beso” music video would lead to a breakup instead. Another epic collaboration happened between two of Chile’s queer icons, Alex Anwandter and Javiera Mena.
Latine pop’s revival has also led to the emergence of new stars. Danna Paola and Kenia Os are putting pop from Mexico back on the map after completing their first U.S. tours this year. Argentina’s Emilia recently released an album called .mp3, where she embraced the sound of pop from the 2000s en español. All in all, Latine pop in 2023 was sensational and a foundational year for what’s to come in this space next.
Read on for Remezcla’s best pop songs of 2023.
— Lucas Villa
Karol G, Shakira - “TQG”
If there is anything that Shakira and Karol G taught us this year, it’s that the bichotas are up. More than a song that calls out their cheating exes (as they should), “TQG” is an anthem for female empowerment and solidarity. With Shakira saying her life improved after her breakup and Karol G saying “te quedó grande La Bichota,” the song is a glorious reminder that we can always pick ourselves back up — and look hot doing it. While the power of “TQG” lies primarily in its lyrical references, the catchy song also highlights the vocal prowess of both Shakira’s classic, raspy chest voice and Karol G’s soft, bell-like sound. — Daniella Tello-Garzon
Alex Anwandter, Javiera Mena - “Unx de nosotrxs”
It was a given that when Chilean electropop trailblazers Alex Anwandter and Javiera Mena first mentioned that they’d joined forces for a song, the outcome would be sheer magic. But the brilliance of “Unx de nosotrxs” went ahead and exceeded all fans’ expectations anyway. The lively track speaks to finding community within the four walls of sticky, crowded discotheques and the simple but exhilarating pleasures of dancing (and cruising) the night away. It’s also a tender and loving ode to growing up queer in Santiago, Chile, and came at a crucial time when organizations like the Human Rights Campaign declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people across the U.S. this summer. “Unx de nosotrxs” is full-on euphoric pop not only because of what it represents but also because of its rapturous beat that nods to alternative deep house classics and its historical ties to queer nightlife, making it one of the most exciting releases of this year. – Nayeli Portillo
Danna Paola - “1Trago”
Danna Paola has proven to be a driving force in the revival of Latine pop. Since returning with the euphoric “XT4S1S” last year, the Mexican pop star upped the ante with the anthemic “1Trago.” Backed by pulsating house music beats, Danna came through with a kiss-off anthem that you can also be enjoyed at the club. With her soaring voice, she delivered an empowering message about overcoming heartbreak by kicking back a few drinks on the dance floor. “A drink to forget you and another one to wish you the best,” she sings in Spanish. Cheers to Danna for bringing back Latine pop with a vengeance. — Lucas Villa
Rosalía, Rauw Alejandro - “BESO”
Rosalía and Rauw Alejandro’s “BESO” put tears in our eyes from the moment the heartfelt and intimate single and music video reached our screens. The candid homemade video compilation revealed the two then-lovebirds’ engagement, giving us hope for true love despite being in the public eye. Musically, the romantic guitars dance on top of a keyboard and a beatbox-like melody that counters the two singers’ polar opposite vocals. On the one hand, we have the Spanish singer’s turbulent, unique vocals, and on the other, the Puerto Rican hitmaker’s smooth, melodious voice. Put them together and the result is a captivating juxtaposition that kept us hooked to their collaborations and personal relationship since day one. Though the duo’s romantic ending didn’t reach a wedding chapel, their EP RR reminds us of what once was – which was possibly one of Rauw’s most creative and daring musical eras yet. – Jeanette Hernandez
Shakira - “BZRP Music Sessions #53”
Undoubtedly one of the biggest smashes of 2023, Shakira’s “men ain’t shit” anthem broke records, trended online for days, and has permeated pop culture all year. Did we mention it came out in January? At the insistence of her son, Shakira met with Argentinian producer Bizarrap, and the rest is history. The electronic ‘80s synth beat is inspired by the English band Depeche Mode, according to Shakira. Lyrically, she effectively ended her ex-husband Gerard Piqué: “Ah, mucho gimnasio / Pero trabaja el cerebro un poquito también.” Shakira is clever enough to play with diction and inflections to call out Piqué and his new girlfriend, Clara Chía, by name. We don’t see main pop girls get vindictive often, and maybe it’s because they do it well enough to cut deep. Colombia’s national treasure dropped one of the most scathing tracks of the year and has reclaimed her place in Latine pop. — Chelsea Quezada
Kenia Os - “Malas Decisiones”
The new era of Latine pop is safe in the perfectly manicured hands of Kenia Os. The Mexican pop star heralded a strong revival of the genre with her K23 album, which came out late last year. In 2023, Kenia scored one of the biggest Latine pop hits of the year when the fierce and flirty anthem “Malas Decisiones” went viral on TikTok. Backed by bouncy beats courtesy of hit-maker JonTheProducer, she sang about getting caught up in a naughty night of mischief. The futuristic music video as part of the Universo K23 short film helped the singer earn her first Latin Grammy nomination. Kenia brought big “soporten” energy to Latine pop. — Lucas Villa
Nutopia, Martox - “Otro Tiempo”
This shimmering crossover set a high bar for indie pop at the top of the year. “Otro Tiempo” is the culmination of Nutopia’s transition from Boricua indie rock stalwarts into bonafide pop masterminds — a journey we’ve followed from the melting synthpop of previous release “Suerte” through the neon nostalgia fest of recent single, “Palomino.” Likewise for Dominican duo Martox, Eduardo Baldera’s throbbing bass lines and Juan Miguel Martinez’s soaring falsetto pair exquisitely with Nutopia’s sumptuous guitar riffs and throwback vocoders, adding some welcome grit to their polished brand of beachside disco. The result is a dance floor daydream of euphoric days past that longs for even better days ahead, with an added reminder that type-casting the Caribbean exclusively as perreo territory is, frankly, myopic. – Richard Villegas
Mijita - “Temporary Love”
In truest Pieces fashion, Mijita is taking charge, combining the restlessness of New York’s nightlife and the spirit of her community to soundtrack her own late-night adventures and block parties. 2023 saw Mijita taking creative bounds with her music, dropping a handful of singles that showed a brilliant side to her take on Latine bedroom pop. But her track “Temporary Love” is a y2k showered earworm that culminates in a colorful and eccentric blend of vibrant personality and unmovable energy. Mijita is the embodiment of a growing but ever-present culture of Latine youth cultivating a rich and luscious New York nightlife. “Temporary Love” translates the playfulness and vibe of going out with the girls into sound. It captures this feeling of euphoria, the beat ready to be syndicated as the soundtrack to a Saturday night birthday dinner with a visit to Marquee right after — an endless high that is fleeting. Despite having a strong creative identity at an early stage of her career, Mijita is crafting her own songs for the club. — Alan Baez
Emilia - “GTA.mp3”
Argentinian songstress Emilia’s nostalgia-laced dance pop banger is a worthy entry into her catalog. Drawing inspiration from ‘90s and early 2000s motifs, “GTA.mp3” is an empowering and sensual track that sees her take control in a relationship over an exhilarating house beat. The track was produced by Zecca and the minds behind Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito,” Andrés Torres and El Dandee. In the music video, she creates her avatar and inserts herself into her GTA-esque video game to virtually fulfill a fantasy. As an artist in every sense of the word, she understands how a visual should be delivered, with killer choreo to boot. — Chelsea Quezada
Marina Sena - “Que Tal (feat. Fleezus)”
“Que Tal” by Marina Sena and Fleezus chronicles the early stages of a budding relationship — a back-and-forth between two lovers who yearn for a deeper connection with each other. Echoing the excited anticipation felt through the lyrics of the song, the music itself contains a dreamy, upbeat rhythm that sounds like a mix of pop and Alté, a Nigerian genre that fuses dancehall, soul, afrobeat, and other styles. In collaboration with Luri Rio Blanco, “Que Tal” was written by Marina Sena and Fleezus themselves, taking us through a personal showcase of the Brazilian pop star and grime rapper’s musical and lyrical talents. – Daniella Tello-Garzon