This is a weekly compilation of bite-sized song & EP reviews from our music writers. Discover new favs, read nuanced criticism of the week’s hottest releases & more.Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music .
Karol G – “El Barco”
2019’s Ocean and its title track made a statement: Karol G’s core artistry transcends the genre she’s typically categorized in. Two years later, KG0516 appears to aim to solidify her place amongst reggaetón “Leyendas” like Ivy Queen with more than a couple familiar tracks like the ever-popular “Tusa.” But it’s the smoothly piercing vocals and tender lyrical approach exhibited on “El Barco” that quietly takes home the cake home for me. As the protagonist of the track comes up for air after surviving the sinking ship of heartbreak, Karol G beautifully escapes her sea of monotony, too. Watch her perform the song live alongside the dexterous Lenny Santos on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. —Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo
Los Retros - “It’s Got to Be You”
If you like Los Retros’ sweet and soulful throwback style, he’s giving you just that with his new single “It’s Got to Be You.” Taken from his new Stones Throw EP Looking Back, which was recorded at the same time as his 2019 EP Retrospect, the song features simple, laidback instrumentation that let Mauri Tapia’s romantic lyrics shine through, making us daydream about a love as pure as the one he sings about. —Cheky
Rico Dalasam – “Mudou como?”
Dolores Dala Guardiã do Alívio, Rico Dalasam’s second album, is his rite of passage from upcoming young rapper to resourceful hip-hop artist. In 2016, the artist found his way in a rather original (for Brazil) blend of personal writings and journey through modern social issues—while keeping an indefectible, danceable ambiance. In “Mudou como?” Dalasam does that with dexterity. He trims verses with inside rhymes and blends straight forward lines easily while playing with different flows and vocal intensities. Chibatinha’s ethereal guitar, alongside Mahal Pita’s sparkly piano lines and production sustains Dalasam’s profound cry about real love and daily life struggles.—Felipe Maia
King Boty, Seyer - “Solo Si Me Quieres”
Santiago de Los Caballeros’ producer Seyer has teamed up with Santo Domingo-based MC King Boty on “Solo Si Me Quieres.” Seyer who’s part of a new wave of Dominican Republic-based producers is known for experimenting with Caribbean rhythms, R&B and EDM. This single seamlessly blends the Super Mario-inspired chiptunes with a bouncy reggaeton beat, creating a perfect jam for any “corito” at the beach. —Joel Moya
Santa Madero - "Segunda Cita"
Peruvian synthpop trio Santa Madero are back with a brand new single titled “Segunda Cita,” exploring philosophical concepts of romance and femininity, as well as a bold new sound. The track’s towering, saturated synths provide a striking canvas for singer Karina Castillo’s gauzy vocals, while a critical look at feminine expectancy evokes ‘Girl Gaze’ films like Lolita and The Virgin Suicides, putting an unsettling twist on girly antics. —Richard Villegas
Sonic Emerson - “Todo Va”
In other circumstances, “Todo Va” is the kind of music that could have easily fallen into the trap of coffee shop background noise; thankfully, Sebastián Neyra has the talent and sensitivity to make songs like these into psychedelic short movies for the mind. Faint traces of bossa nova and yacht rock inform the Mexican artist’s take on dream pop, bent to evoke a lysergic sonic world to get lost to. “Todo Va” is a mini opus of abstract musical storytelling, making Sonic Emerson a master of soft psych rock. —Marcos Hassan
Ariel & The Culture ft. feat. Pretty Boy Aaron, Kalid Abdul, Bruhnice –"Push to Start"
Clocking in at under three minutes, “Push to Start” is an unrelenting Spring bedroom jam convening an all star cast of Dallas rappers and crooners including Ariel & The Culture, Pretty Boy Aaron, Kalid Abdul and Bruhnice. Built on a bouncy, jerky bass line, the track is loaded with silky smooth verses all but designed for seduction, which coupled with the lo-fi intimacy of the music video will leave you gasping for air and Gatorade in the best way possible. —Richard Villegas
Thiago França & Meno Del Picchia – “Fluxo Neblina”
Fluxo Neblina is a baile funk study. Anthropologist and musician Meno Del Picchia has joined forces with saxophonist Thiago França to mold an utterly odd simulacrum of the tracks that fuels the fluxos—street parties where baile funk set the tone in São Paulo favelas. Whilst the beat is delivered on a blend of shrilling percurted chords and conga’s pattern, França’s alto sax draws contrasting lines with quirky angles. You won’t expect to listen to this song at a baile funk party and yet music purists would raise eyebrows listening to it. “Fluxo Neblina” is an offspring that connects Sun-Ra’s free aesthetics to rebel, dark baile funk.— Felipe Maia
Baiuca ft. Rodrigo Cuevas – “Veleno”
After dropping “Luar,” the first preview from his forthcoming album Embruxo, Galician producer Baiuca now joins forces with Asturian singer Rodrigo Cuevas to give us “Veleno.” Both artists are known for exploring traditional Iberic sounds from their particular regions, and together they made a show-stopping folktronica moment that wraps us in a dazzling spell with a mix of club production, organic instruments, and mysterious lyrics sung in Galician, Asturian, and Spanish. —Cheky
Ignacio Briceño & Ale Hop - “Triángulo”
Better known for her experimental guitar works, Perú’s Ale Hop changes gears here for her collaboration with singer Ignacio Briseño to deliver exciting results. “Triángulo” is a Velvet Underground-inspired ballad brought to life through trip-hop beats and ambient instrumentation, resulting in a blend of Criceño’s emotive baritone and buzzing electronics, tied together with jazzy drumming and crystalline guitar work. “Triángulo” is a song that rejoices in melodic bliss. —Marcos Hassan