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.
Arca – “Yo Sí (Alma)”
The MUTANTS1000000 community, formed during quarantine by Arca stans, released the fourth installment of their ongoing compilation series to benefit POC, queer, and trans lives. Included in the 40-track volume, MUTANTS 4: LOVE, is Arca’s new track “Yo Sí (Alma),” a delicate, heartwarming piece that flows like a stream-of-consciousness exercise. She sings in a pitched-up voice about having faith in each other in times of uncertainty, and it has us weeping already. —Cheky
Ozuna, Ovi – “Envidioso”
This is Ozuna’s best in months. Right in time for topdown weather, the Puerto Rican reggaetónero taps Rancho Humilde’s rising star for a braggadocious summer anthem. The harder, trap approach comes naturally to the Cuban corridor tumbados artist and suits the Puerto Rican vet nicely here, while the cold visuals lend a hand to fans with a lazy TikTok dance smoothly thrown in. Cheers to having fun whilst flipping off the haters. —Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo
JOP ft. Alemán – “Like Viento”
Trap remains peerless when it comes to being the soundtrack for both hustle and bragging rights. With so much trap in today’s pop, the style might seem to run out of steam but, thanks to JOP and Alemán, it retains its bite. Both artists inject wiseass grit to make “Like Viento”—a great anthem that switches between street-level rhymes and autotuned melodies. “Like Viento” lifts the beat up into something greater than the sum of its parts. —Marcos Hassan
Drik Barbosa ft. Psirico & RDD – “Seu abraço”
Since her 2016 debut single, Drik Barbosa has never enclosed herself in labels like rapper, MC or singer. It’s not by chance that the only (literal) label she pledged allegiance to is the Lab Fantasma, São Paulo’s creative platform led by Grammy nominee Emicida. The collective provides the basis Drik needs to explore her artistic intentions, whether she’s playing the rap lyricist role or taking advantage of her soulful voice. She took the latter approach for “Seu abraço,” a mellow pagodão with Lovage-like guitar lines and airy vocal shots. The outcome, a dimmed-down afrobeats through Brazil, is the work of French-Brazilian musician Damien Seth and authentic Salvador-made RDD—alias for Rafa Dias, who also produced Anitta and Cardi B’s “Me Gusta.” — Felipe Maia
Urias – “Foi Mal”
The return of Urias finds the Brazilian artist releasing a dreamscape, R&B-forward single “Foi Mal.” Presented as a part of the “Black Voices” series—a collection of songs showcasing the global Black experience—the transgender model turned musician tapped into a softer, more emotionally-driven route than accustomed. The single follows the mental untangling of the narrator’s own shortcomings that follows the end of a toxic relationship over an electro-tinged psychedelic track encumbered by alluringly sensual vocals. —Jeanette Diaz
Ruiseñora & Le Parody – “Palio”
Spiritually speaking, it has been a tough year, and even something as cathartic as public displays of devotion and lamentation is not an option for most of us. Le Parody and Ruiseñora have come up with an ingenious way to celebrate Semana Santa with their track “Palio,” a song rooted in old-school cantos accompanied by modern production that makes Easter devotion go hard. “Palio” connects the melancholy of religion with our mood in a big way. —Marcos Hassan
Barzo, Pahua – "Bahía"
From the minds of Costa Rican producer Barzo and Mexican vocalist Pahua (also known for her long running band project Sotomayor), the ocean currents have brought to shore a new collaborative aquatic fantasy titled “Bahía.” Teaming with groovy synths, hypnotic bass lines and Pahua’s sultry vocals, the track unfolds like a headlining club performance by The Little Mermaid’s Ariel, who instead of seeking her prince charming in some enchanted kingdom would rather find herself on the beaches of Tulum. —Richard Villegas
Graveola – “Nosso Estranho Amor”
Don’t run to the next-door Genius platform or Twitter thread in search of hidden meanings behind Graveola’s guitarist Luiza Brine broken-hearted “volta pra casa” (“come back home”) chant. “Nosso Estranho Amor” is nothing more than a song about a sorrowful breakup. That’s the beauty of it. Unpretentiously, the music collective from Minas Gerais—Brazil’s hilly landlocked state—crafted a pleasing piece about feeling painful at heart. Such a simple and powerful take would not be achieved without the song’s blend of post-rock elan and old school experimentalism. The spaced-out drums, wah-wah’d and overdriven guitars and snappy bass lines give the song that ‘70s and 2020’s indie vibe. — Felipe Maia
Sycco – “My Ways” (Buscabulla Remix)
Rising Australian pop artist Sycco (pronounced “psycho”) dropped her bright new single “My Ways” back in February, and now we get to hear Buscabulla’s tropical reinterpretation of it. While the original features a glossy production with nods to ‘80s synth-pop, the Boricua duo took it to the afterhours zone, adding a darker ambiance and Latin percussion fills, while Raquel Berrios supports Sycco’s vocals with additional lines that are in line with the lyrics about losing one’s mind during the quarantine. —Cheky
Bflecha – "Blázares"
After a year of silence, cerebral Catalonian producer Bflecha has returned to the airwaves with a brand new slice of avant R&B in “Blázares,” a minimalist ode to transformative love. Built on a sort of sonic collage, the track juxtaposes sparse bass lines and ethereal arpeggios against a mounting wall of noise and feedback, while Bflecha’s earnest, vulnerable vocals plead with a paramour to open their heart so she can rekindle a flame long dimmed. —Richard Villegas
Nina Dioz ft. Rebeca Lane – “Kamikaze”
Known for her feminist-fueled flows, Dioz’s latest brings on more diverse genre infusions and an even more assorted (all female) feature line up. On Kamikaze, she teams up with Rebeca Lane to riff off on an empowering anthem that calls out machismo, the femicide crisis acriss Latin America and provides musical space that celebrates all the gatas “brujas, guerreras [and] cabronas luchando la marea!” —Jeanette Diaz