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 Emilia and Nicki Nicole, Gustavo Benjão, and Nicole Zignago. Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music.
Emilia, Nicki Nicole - “intoxicao”
The Argentinian artists Emilia and Nicki Nicole teamed up for “intoxicao,” a pop and trap-infused single from Emilia’s anticipated debut album Tú Crees En Mí? In the music video, directed by Jess “La Polaca” Praznik, the listener is enthralled from the start due to Emilia’s demanding and pristine vocals, accompanied by the sharp, taunting-like beat. Nicki Nicole’s flow is then introduced, adding an edgy touch to the already catchy single. Point blank: whether you’re captivated by their cynical-like stares in the video or their vocals, what’s clear is that the two have an unmatched presence to fully engage their audience, and we couldn’t stop staring. – Jeanette Hernandez
Nicole Zignago - “7 Letras”
Nicole Zignago presents her first EP, Así Me Siento Hoy, while launching a new single out on all available platforms, “7 Letras.” The track is produced by Manu Laria, the Venezuelan producer behind hits by Kali Uchis, Bad Bunny, Rauw Alehandro, and the list continues. This track explicitly discusses the moment when a message with seven letters comes, anticipating a breakup. With an airy vocal line, reggaeton backbeat, and pop hooks, it brings out Zignango on a bigger scale where global success is possible. And in the end, the music video also conveys the fear we feel when we lose someone we love, and even if it hurts to hold on, it only pushes them and our emotions away, yearning for something we can’t find. — Holly Alvarado
Ruzzi - “Tus Ojos”
Over the past year, Mexican singer/songwriter and producer Marian Ruzzi has slowly unveiled her pandemic nostalgia project Ruzzicovers, reimagining Paradisio’s party classic “Bailando” alongside Esteman and Banda MS pop-crossover “Qué Maldición” with a sexy boost from Tessa Ia. With the EP finally out, we’re now treated to Ruzzi’s unexpectedly subtle rendition of beloved Belanova heartstopper “Tus Ojos.” Trading the original’s disco leanings for a faintly reggaeton-flavored beat, this iteration locks in on the song’s emotional core, prolonging the chorus of “y yo te amo…” into a profoundly romantic mantra. – Richard Villegas
Gustavo Benjão - “Axé”
A well-known figure among contemporary MPB acts, Gustavo Benjão from the group Do Amor to Rodrigo Amarante releases his new album with the eponymous single “Axé.” The song is a copy-paste experiment with Bahia’s axé guitars and electronic pads. With broken tempo rhythmics and lyrics about faith and love, the song subverts the hedonist and pop-fied colors of axé while remounting to its original core and meaning: a powerful energy that pushes us forward and beyond. — Felipe Maia
Vivi Rincón - "If We Lived On The Moon"
When Vivi Rincón uploaded a clip to TikTok of herself singing, she never anticipated it would receive over one million views. But visitors took to her lyrics and recognized the earnest sentiment behind them, and this week, she released the track in full as “If We Lived On the Moon.” In the song Rincón, who is Mexican/Venezuelan and based in Houston, daydreams about a home where she can be alongside her love, pridefully and without reservations. Produced by partner and muse Rachel Caridi, it’s a labor of love that spreads its emotions beyond any one month and roots itself in unflinching hope. — Juan J. Arroyo
Mireya Ramos feat. Adrian Quesada - "La Llama"
The Latine Grammy award-winning vocalist Mireya Ramos is here with “La Llama,” off her debut solo album, Mireya, and it’s a neo-soul, reggaeton infused track that bridges the gap of sounds altogether. With Adrian Quesada of Black Pumas, Ramos intertwines a catchy hip-hop beat as Ramos raps over a few bars, thick low-end bass lines, and a violin that sets the soul-infused duo’s vibe. In “La Llama,” and even in the record itself, Ramos allows her stories to unfold of Afro-Latine pride, police brutality, Black Lives Matter, unbridled love, break-ups, and self-love. And in a way, she creates a booklet of emotions she’s experienced all in the past few years. Ramos not only allows herself to shine but puts the spotlight on other rising Latine artists, such as the founder of the all-female mariachi band Flor de Toloache alongside Gaby Moreno. It’s a project of finding yourself while using soul elements to bring it to life, something Ramos has been able to produce time and time again. — Holly Alvarado
Famasloop - "Caníbal"
The three-time Latin Grammy-nominated band Famasloop released their newest single, “Caníbal,” off their fourth highly-anticipated album Lo Más Seguro Es Que Quién Sabe. Between the post-disco sounding alternative track and the hypnotizing wide-ranging vocals, the Venezuelan band has created a bop that embodies an infectious chorus on top of a dance-worthy electronic beat. Towards the track’s ending, the experimental synth elements serve as the cherry on top of the already pleasant sonic journey. Let’s just say that we can’t wait to hear the full album! – Jeanette Hernandez
Duplat, Rap Bang Club - “Todo Sería Más Fácil”
A rising star of earnest, quirky Colombian indie pop, Duplat has released a romantic new single titled “Todo Sería Más Fácil,” highlighting the very real challenges of making a relationship work and the even trickier art of letting go when it doesn’t. Joined by the deep-voiced wordsmiths of Rap Bang Club, the stylish, fairly wavy track is a fluttering prayer of all-consuming heartbreak — like listening to Juan Gabriel after taking a few puffs of your favorite green. – Richard Villegas
Dona Nyna, Juju Rude, Amanda Sarmento - “Baby Hair”
A drill jam with R&B hints, “Baby Hair” features some of the best of Rio’s MCs today. Juju Rude leads the way with harsh bars about an impossible love of a favela drug lord and a girl boss. With soulful vocals, Amanda Sarmento shifts pace from melodious tones to sped-up rhyming. Dona Nyna closes the triptych with the same MC-to-singer verve of her peer and invites the listener to keep on listening to her new EP, Dona, a compact that also brings on other female artists from Rio like Iza Sabino. — Felipe Maia
maJa - “Lucid Dreams”
Dozing off into a dream-like state is almost needed while listening to maJa’s newest track, “Lucid Dreams.” The Dominican singer-songwriter, who discovered her love for composition mid-quarantine, takes flight in a soft yet passionate soprano voice that soars over a gentle melody that almost reminisces on the early days of Billie Eilish while still giving maJa room to grow into her own. The track unfolds with a hush-like wakeup from the guitar after maJa starts to challenge the questions of existential dread into the bridge, building up a lullaby of sorts. But, in the end, it’s about asking yourself the hard-hitting questions while falling asleep, and maJa uses her sound to do just that. — Holly Alvarado
Mike Rodz - “Kelly KaPOOR”
Indie pop-trap artist Mike Rodz tickled many listeners with his catchy single “Desde Que Te Conocí” from last year’s album MI VIDA Y SUS LOQUERAS. This week he’s back with a new lo-fi sound that continues the same irreverent lyricism that’s become one of his calling cards. The production, courtesy of Kheb, oscillates between a chill-hop sound and minimalist perreo, purposefully never settling on a uniform vibe. Mike’s raps are equally schizophrenic, painting a lovelorn story that has his emotions pinballing in his head and heart just like the beat. It’s another snappy track that’ll have you looking forward to more from Mike on the mic. — Juan J. Arroyo
Cazzu - “Nena Trampa”
Cazzu, once again, reaffirms why she’s at the top of el movimiento in Argentina, and it couldn’t be more prevalent with “Nena Trampa.” And now, the long-awaited anticipation of her sophomore album is here, and we have her newest track accompanied by an artistically driven video that sets the tone. In “Nena Trampa,” Cazzu combines art, matured avant-garde sonics, and an appreciation for classic Argentinian sounds that evolve into something she can claim as brand new. Even though the artist constantly changes with her work, she never loses sight of what makes her unique. The music video was conceptualized by Cazzu and directed by Facundo Ballve. The imagery alludes to the power of a black widow and the way she works to take care of her nest. The choreography, created by Denise De La Roche, is spectacular, giving Cazzu a more intimate feel with the project. The track and video are now available on Youtube. — Holly Alvarado