This is our weekly compilation of newly released bite-sized song reviews from 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 Bebo Dumont with Elena Rose, MONOGEM, and Jovaan.
Bebo Dumont x Elena Rose - “NAVIDÁ”
‘Tis the season to drop all the holiday bangers. With “NAVIDÁ,” the Puerto Rican artist Bebo Dumont and the Venezuelan singer-songwriter Elena Rose bring us a rhythmic and flirty dancehall-infused track about their partner being their ultimate Christmas present. Though it may sound cliché, the duo’s calm voices paired with the soothing and mellow track complement the sweet truth about gift-giving: there’s no need for Santa Claus when lovers have each other. Whatsmore is that this isn’t the only collaboration between the two; there’s a second duet brewing that we’re dying to hear next year. – Jeanette Hernandez
MONOGEM - “Holiday”
Los Angeles singer-songwriter Jennifer Hirsh has been releasing vivid, synthpop-flecked alternative R&B stunners under the moniker MONOGEM since 2014. On the glowing “Holiday,” she renders a dreamy ambiance through light, layered falsettos that are just as sweet as they are soothing. The single marks Hirsh’s first MONOGEM release since her bilingual debut album, last year’s Gardenia, where she paid homage to her family’s Guadalajara roots across its 12 tracks. Soft staccato chords balance out Hirsh’s gossamer vocals in this wondrous and warm ode to nostalgic holiday merriment. – Nayeli Portillo
Niña Dioz, Chocolate Remix - “Bellaka y Romantika”
Vente Cariña, the new collaborative EP from Mexican rapper Niña Dioz and Argentine reggaetonera Chocolate Remix, is the kind of project that seems fated in the stars. Featuring a production assist from El Licenciado, the MCs gave us the first taste of their Avengers-level crossover back in Nov. with the cumbia-inflected “Rolita Punk.” Now, with “Bellaka y Romantika,” the pair harken to classic ‘90s perreos while running through some of their favorite qualities in a lover; the godly combo of heartfelt romance and raunchy bellaqueo. – Richard Villegas
A1 NWG x Jolhe - “MACHINEO (Carly Musa Remix)”
When A1 and Jolhe first came out with “MACHINEO” a few months ago, it was a trippy song laced with electronic cues sung in a catchy, particular cadence. Now, on a whim, they got the bright idea that it can be turned into a dembow and recruited producer Carly Musa to do the honors. The result is hard to deny: the track hops now, taking on a warm tropical twist that makes it perfect for blasting at the beach (if you’re lucky enough to live away from winter weather). It’s another terrific example of how to reinvent a song and give it a second life that might even extend its stay in listeners’ rotations. — Juan J. Arroyo
Safiyah Hernandez - “Pink Sunglasses”
For her latest single, up-and-coming singer-songwriter Safiyah Hernandez immerses herself in vibes from the past. Inspired by the ’70s film American Graffiti — itself a nostalgic trip to the ‘50s — ”Pink Sunglasses” both embraces and deconstructs the yearning for a time past thanks to the use of the broadest of imagery from the decade; additionally, she uses the sound of early rock n’ roll and soul to underline the message. Yet Hernandez does without pursuing a retro sound, giving us a song that sounds as current as anything in pop at the moment, using hooks and emotion to bring it to life. — Marcos Hassan
Quevedo, Myke Towers - "Playa de Inglés"
After an eventful 2022 – which included dethroning Harry Style’s “As It Was” on Spotify’s Global Top 50 chart back in July – Madrid-born, Canary Islands-based reggaetonero and singer Quevedo closes out the year with the hypnotic “Playa de Inglés.” Much like his “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 52” performance, the Ovy On The Drums-produced single moves in a more EDM-inspired direction. Rap and reggaeton heavyweight Myke Towers swoops in on this dancefloor energizer fitted with bustling and icy electronica instrumentals, as the Canarian singer reminisces about a once-in-a-lifetime escapade in paradisiacal Maspalomas’s Playa de Inglés. – Nayeli Portillo
Jovaan feat. Wisin - “Embustera”
There’s a distinctive flow coming from Puerto Rico’s emerging rappers. We’ve heard it through Young Miko all year, and today, we’re embracing it in Jovaan’s new baddie anthem, “Embustera,” featuring the reggaeton pioneer Wisin. In this track, we’re treated to el movimiento’s new wave with Jovaan’s smooth and catchy cadence where he particularly extends a word to add emphasis. Not to mention his unmatched OG style of half of El Dúo de la Historia with Wisin’s signature hard-hitting rhyme scheme that adds that magic touch of TBT reggaeton. Showcasing two generations in one track is a way to champion new talent – and we’re hyped to listen to more of Jovaan’s music. – Jeanette Hernandez
Verito Asprilla - “Pa que bailen” (Cerrero dub mix)
It has been a spectacular year for music out of Colombia’s Pacific Coast, and Tumaco rapper Verito Asprilla is rapidly becoming a rising star to watch. One of the newest additions to the Discos Pacifico roster, Asprilla made a splash over the summer with her thumping reggaeton single “Pa que bailen,” which this week gets a revamp from producer and label head Cerrero. While the song was already able to spark a hefty dance floor throwdown, Cerrero’s hypnotic dub machinations give it a wavier, more absorbing quality, as if your boozy brain were throbbing in sync to the bass. – Richard Villegas
GRIIEGO - “Ä$TRØ$”
Puerto Rican singer-producer GRIIEGO’s most recent album, METEORA, was a hyperpop/dance smorgasbord inspired as much by 100 gecs as it was by emo rap. This week, he releases the new single “XLOSASTROS (LOHICEYO),” which he touts as his first trap outing. Fans will instantly recognize it as his own, not shying from what’s made him appealing to those seeking out his brand of sound while also giving them a taste of how his range can also encompass the rising Latine trap wave. Melding genres has become the name of the game, and GRIIEGO is an artist who shows out-of-the-box ways to do so without losing the essence of what listeners crave. — Juan J. Arroyo
Colectiva - "How Do You Like Your Ladies"
Some songs and videos can’t be separated into two different entities. That’s the case of “How Do You Like Your Ladies.” This London collective have penned a riotous dance song that brims with rage and ecstasy, all horns and intricate basslines that strand the line between jazz, salsa, and even prog rock. The song fittingly soundtracks a visual that shows these musicians in a sort of modern-day coven ritual, dancing around a bonfire, laughing, and painting their faces. The result is a defying piece of art by women who seek their own satisfaction, soundtracked by one of the most fire instrumentals of 2022. – Marcos Hassan