Alvaro Diaz, Felicilandia (UMG Recordings)
When the global health crisis hit in early 2020, Alvaro Diaz took the opportunity to create a lot of music, telling Billboard, “This pandemic took out the best of me and everything that I created during the quarantine is even better.” Now, the former Billboard Latin Artist on the Rise presents his new studio album Felicilandia, home to 16 conceptual tracks. Inspired by Disney World, Diaz makes sure to give fans the ultimate amusement park experience, starting with the magical 56-second intro. The first official track on the album is his Randy-assisted “OG Black,” a slow-tempo rap song that transforms into a catchy perreo toward the end. In “Problemon,” his collaboration with longtime colleague Rauw Alejandro, Diaz transports fans to outer space with hard-hitting futuristic reggaeton beats. And it’s in songs like “Nitro” and “Casual Day” where Diaz sticks to his trap essence.
He pays tribute to reggaeton de la vieja escuela as heard in “Llori Papi” with his sample of Zion’s “Fantasma” and “18+1” with Hector El Father’s “Los Rompe Discotekas.” More notably, in “18+1” with Jesse Baez, Diaz fuses alternative rock, synth pop and even the sirens you hear on a carnival ride. On “Chinita Linda” with Venezuelan group Rawayana, Diaz flaunts an old-school jazz rap influenced by A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. Including other collaborations such as Tainy, Sebastian Yatra and Feid, to name a few, Felicilandia wraps up with what seems to be Diaz’s mother singing Palito Ortega’s all-time classic “La Felicidad.” Stream and listen to the album below. — JESSICA ROIZ
Nacho, Carlos Vives & Mike Bahia, “La Mitad” (UMG)
Nacho, Carlos Vives and Mike Bahia join forces for a new uplifting track that fuses vallenato and pop with danceable rhythms. In “La Mitad,” they send a positive message and invite the listener to meet halfway if you want to settle any differences they might be having with someone. “The message behind the song is compelling because it talks about the empathy we need to have with others,” said Nacho in a statement. “I’ll wait for you in the middle, your reason, and my truth. Love is a truce no one has to win,” they chant in the chorus. — INGRID FAJARDO
Jorge Drexler & C.Tangana, “Tocarte” (Sony Music España)
Following their 2021 Latin Grammy-nominated “Nominao,” Jorge Drexler and C.Tangana join forces once again on “Tocarte,” a song that Drexler says came first. “It’s the first song that Pucho (C. Tangana) and I wrote. It just came out in a session in my studio in June 2020, together with Víctor Martínez and my son, Pablo Drexler,” he explained in a statement. “This happened over a year ago… before ‘Nominao,’ so imagine how hard it was for us to keep the secret (it was burning in my hands!) until we felt, the whole team, that the right time had come.” “Tocarte” (Touch You), which is a minimalist and rhythmic tune tinged with candombe and carioca funk, highlights the yearning to get physical contact back, especially during the pandemic, at a time when hugs or kisses turned into risky actions. “Being brave or a coward/ Your money or your life/ To put my life on the line/ To go down the drain,” say part of the lyrics. A simple yet cinematographic video, directed in 16mm by Joana Colomar and produced by Zissou, captures touch and desire in an elegant, sensual and poetic way. — J.R.
Eladio Carrion, “Cuarentena” (Rimas Entertainment)
Marking the first single from his upcoming project, Eladio Carrion steps aside from his signature trap beats and drops “Cuarentena.” The saucy reggaeton, featuring infectious electronic beats, was produced by Hide Miyabi, Hydro and Jowny and penned by Carrion. Named after the quarantine, the lyrics tell the story of a girl who’s not only over the pandemic confinement but had moved on from a past relationship. Carrion, on the other hand, can’t forget his past love and is ready to give it another shot. Filmed in New York by director Jose Sagaro, the music video is trending on YouTube at time of publishing. — J.R.
Jonatan Sanchez, “Descansa En Paz” (Gerencia 360)
A second preview of his forthcoming album, the 22-year-old Mexican-American artist offers a somber banda ballad just in time for Halloween/Día de Los Muertos weekend. Titled “Descansa en Paz (Rest in Peace),” Sanchez is making peace with his past, letting go of any demons that lingered from a failed relationship. “You were once again the villain in this story. You’re no longer relevant in my life, rest in peace,” he sings. Penned by Sánchez, the track follows his previously released singles “Ni Yo Me La Creo” and “Se Supone.” — G.F.
Cali y El Dandee & Aitana, “Coldplay” (UMG)
Born from the need to give continuity to their last collaboration (“Más”), the Colombian duo and the Spanish pop singer present a new urban pop-tinged punk collaboration titled “Coldplay.” From the beginning of the song, Cali narrates the breakup and all the song’s emotions to then fuse with Aitana’s higher notes, followed by Dandee’s vocals, which give life to the story of a broken relationship. The lyrics tell the backstory of ending a relationship and the doubts that arise during that moment — including the betrayal of going to see a Coldplay concert with someone else. The track was produced by Andrés Torres and Mauricio Rengifo (Dandee). — I.F.
DIRK, “Vale La Pena” (WMG)
Rounding out our list this week is a refreshing rhythmic-pop tune fused with landó (Afro-Peruvian genre) by Peruvian-born artist DIRK. The 22-year-old newcomer made his debut as a singer-songwriter in 2020 with his English-only album Before, Meanwhile & After. — G.F.
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