Every time a new phenomenon starts in pop culture, people bet on how long it will last or how quickly it will be forgotten. If it’s a music group made of young, good-looking artists, their popularity among teenagers is often attributed to these qualities. To many people, it’s hard to acknowledge that the music connects with people simply because it is fun and brings out emotions. Such is the case with Mexican group RBD, made up of singers and actors Anahí, Dulce María, Maite Perroni, Christian Chávez, Alfonso Herrera, and Christopher von Uckerman.
At the peak of their popularity, boosted by the telenovela Rebelde (2004-2006), their music broke beyond the frontiers of their home country. RBD toured throughout Latin America, the U.S., and even Europe, and recorded music in Spanish, Portuguese, and English. Even after the show ended, the group stayed together, releasing original music and performing until 2008.
From starting fashion trends, influencing a generation of Brazilians to learn Spanish, representing Mexico around the world, and inspiring several Latine artists such as Danna Paola and Anitta, RBD’s impact is undeniable. And it remains: in 2021, Netflix announced a reboot of Rebelde and revealed a new version of its iconic theme song.ana
Nostalgia, of course, plays a huge role in how so many people still love the music of RBD, almost 20 years after its release and especially since their catalog came back to streaming platforms this year. But that doesn’t take away from the merits of these songs. Catchy, joyful, and oftentimes dramatic, the music of RBD hits all the right spots that make teen idols and beloved pop stars. From singles to album cuts, here are 15 of our favorite RBD songs.
15. “Para Olvidarte de Mí”
What could be more fitting for a farewell than a song about a love impossible to forget? “Para Olvidarte de Mí” is just that song. After revealing that they’d no longer make music together in 2008, RBD released one last album in 2009 and said goodbye to their fans in the most passionate way: “Uno de estos días (…)/ Volverá de nuevo la melancolía/ Para darte la noticia/ De que no me has olvidado todavía.” It’s like they knew that, years later, their fans would be just one “Y soy rebelde” away from countless nostalgic feelings.
14. “Futuro Ex Novio”
The combination of the six members’ voices and personalities was the magic of RBD. But they also had songs performed by units, including some just by the three women, and some just by the three men. “Futuro Ex Novio” is performed by Christopher, Alfonso, and Christian, singing about a one-night stand with a woman that leaves them broken-hearted. The men of RBD display a vibrant dynamic, as Christopher and Alfonso’s voices contrast with Christian’s higher range.
13. “Quando O Amor Acaba”
RBD’s huge popularity in Brazil led them to record an entire album with Portuguese versions of their songs. “Quando O Amor Acaba” is the version of “Cuando el Amor Se Acaba,” and a good solo performance by RBD’s softest vocalist, Maite. The track was one of the most well-received by Brazilian fans, who praised the singer’s Portuguese pronunciation.
12. “I Wanna Be the Rain”
RBD’s Rebels (2006) featured English-language versions of their hits, as well as original songs for whom RBD counted with a team of heavyweight American songwriters and producers. “I Wanna Be the Rain,” for example, was written by Diane Warren—who wrote for pop music legends, from Mariah Carey to Whitney Houston, Lady Gaga to Rihanna). The harmonization of the RBD members truly shines in this powerful ballad.
11. “Ser o Parecer”
After the recording of Rebelde ended in 2006, RBD stayed together and recorded the album Celestial. While they adopted different visuals, with outfits inspired by street wanderers, the music still had that same sugary feel of their earliest works. “Ser o Parecer” continued RBD’s brand of pop-rock, with lyrics about platonic love.
10. “Wanna Play”
In 2006, reggaeton was nowhere as popular as it is today, even though Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina” was a hit in 2004. For their English debut, RBD bet on reggaeton for songs like “Wanna Play” and made the genre popular to many audiences unfamiliar with it. To match the sexy beats and melodies, their lyrics and choreography for “Wanna Play” were spicier, too, and filled with lots of double-entendres.RBD performed the song at the 2007 Miss Universe pageant, which was held in Mexico.
RBD can put you in your feelings when they sing about unrequited love. Their lyrics were always so intense and unapologetic in how they mentioned impossible love or dying for love. “Inalcanzable” is among RBD’s most emotional songs of this genre.
8. “Aún Hay Algo”
One of Rebelde’s opening songs during its second season was the cute “Aún Hay Algo.” The song speaks of a relationship that goes back and forth, hinting at the romantic plot between the couples from the show. “Aún Hay Algo” has that magical feel of many of RBD’s love songs, with lyrics like “Se dio un amor que puede hacer milagros.”
Mía, Roberta, and Lupita might not have been friends in the first episodes of Rebelde, but the actresses that played them formed a powerful trio on stage. The three women have unique voices that complemented each other very well: Anahi’s was raspy, Maite’s was delicate, and Dulce’s was sugary and high. The sweet, reggae-pop “Enséñame” is one of their best moments together.
6. “El Mundo Detrás”
RBD’s 2007 album Empezar Desde Cero features some of the group’s most mature songs, such as “No Digas Nada” and “El Mundo Detrás.” The latter is a solo by Dulce María, with a beautiful arrangement made of violins. Dulce’s unmistakable voice always made a difference in RBD, even when she was harmonizing with the other members. But in “El Mundo Detrás,” her voice is the main star.
5. “Solo Quédate En Silencio”
Many of RBD’s songs incorporated some sort of dialogue between the female and male members. It was a way to blend their different types of voices into their songs, and to incorporate a bit of the romantic tension from the characters that the members played in the show. “Sólo Quédate En Silencio” is one of these sentimental love songs: “Sólo quédate en silencio/ Cinco minutos/ (…) Te daré el último beso.”
4. “Extraña Sensación”
The groovy “Extraña Sensación” is, probably, the most unconventional song ever released by RBD, for their standards. That’s why it stands out so much in their discography. It’s a different side of the musicality of RBD and showcases them as a group that could’ve very well been successful even without the show to back them up.
3. “Trás De Mí”
In their second studio album, Nuestro Amor, RBD ventured into lyrical themes beyond romance. “Tras De Mí,” for example, is a song about leaving childhood memories behind. The song rendered epic performances, like the acoustic one that opens RBD’s Live in Hollywood concert, and one at the 2006 Latin Grammy Awards, where Christian surprised fans by singing his verse in the same pitch as Anahi’s.
The beginning of everything. The anthem of an entire generation. “Rebelde” was the opening song for the homonym show during its first season, but the chorus line “Y soy rebelde” never ceased to be associated with RBD. To this day, when the song starts playing, the first guitar chords are enough to bring up fond memories to the fans of the show and the group.
RBD’s love songs were usually dramatic, but none was more than “Sálvame.” It is the definite angst RBD song, and it is iconic for more reasons than one: it has extremely depressing melodies and lyrics (“Sobrevivo por pura ansiedad”); and its music video features the group performing in cowboy hats in the snow, with Anahí, Dulce María, and Maite even wearing bikinis under winter coats. “Sálvame” was also one of the most anticipated moments in RBD’s concerts, as Anahí delivered her most theatrical performance.