Welcome to another installment of Up on the Sun's 2011 Review. We've been counting down our favorite songs, shows, national and local releases of 2011. This installment takes a look at 2011's coolest Latin tunes. Enjoy!
If the 2010 Latin Grammys are any indicator, last year was a big year for Spanish language music. This year? Maybe, not so much.
Puerto Rican duo Calle 13 dominated the award ceremony with their fourth release, Entren Los Que Quieren, while Shakira's Sale El Sol earned the Colombian hip-shaker Person of the Year and Best Female Pop Album honors. Both albums released late last year, and infected radio airwaves and nightclubs alike in 2011.
Although this year may not have been strikingly remarkable in terms of commercial releases, it still yielded some pretty awesome jams.
10. Don Omar featuring Lucenzo - "Danza Kuduro" Desert island dreams are made of this sort of stuff. A great dance beat and catchy hook all wrapped into one tropical pop tune. The track got an extra boost when it received the Pitbull treatment.
9. El Komander - "Fiesta en la Playa" Narcocorridos have had a strange stranglehood on music listeners in the valley and across the continent for some time now. With the drug war raging on in Mexican borderlands and other regions, their popularity continues to grow. El Komander is one of the premier bullet-proof-vest-wearing corridistas; "party at the beach" keeps the accordions blazing while focusing more on beers and bikinis, than uzi's and funerals.
8. Franco De Vita con Alejandra Guzmán - "Tan Sólo Tú" The only ballad on our list, this lovely duet is bolstered by the gritty vocals of former Spanish rock bad girl, Guzmán.
7. Shakira - "Rabiosa" One of the culprits from 2010 that we couldn't get enough of. "Loca" was undeniably infectious but "Rabiosa" had us foaming at the mouth for more. The 2011 video release helped keep the album relevant well after its initial release. Try not rolling your r's after listening to this.
6. Don Tetto - "Mi Error" Driving bass lines. Wicked guitar riffs. Heavy drum smacks. It's rock and roll, but you know ... in Spanish.
5. Calle 13 - "Latinoamérica" This track celebrating and empowering Latino-Americans, helped Calle 13 nab seven awards this year including Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Record of the Year. This rapping poem laid over a traditional folk beat champions all the things that cannot be bought.
4. Kinky - "Intoxicame" Fortunately Kinky is around to quench my insatiable appetite for groovy electronic music. You might recognize the band's song, "Mas" making the rounds on a certain Taco Bell commercial.
3. Toy Selectah - "Half Colombian, Half Mexican Bandit" Want to know how they're getting down at Mexican raves? Throw in Toy Selectah's debut, Mad Decent and turn it up to 11. The freestyling conjectures of Toy Hernandez are kinda sorta amazing.
2. Davila 666 - "Diablo" It's like an I.V. drip full of lo-fi retro goodness. How can you resist?
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1. Zoé - "Labios Rotos" When I discover that I like a song I have this terrible habit of listening to it over and over and over again. "Labios Rotos" is perfectly melodic and dreamy and impossible not to give it more than one whirl. The track is the best thing to come out of the group's MTV Unplugged Session, Musica De Fondo, although it could have easily found its way onto the Drive soundtrack and been perfectly at home. The album has some amazing unplugged versions of some of their best hits to go along with this particular diddy; the only new song on the offering.