Rauw Alejandro, “Todo De Ti” (Sony Music Latin)
A departure from his signature urban-leaning sonority, Rauw Alejandro released a dance-pop track with summer anthem potential. Produced by Mr. NaisGai, “Todo De Ti” allows Alejandro to show off not only his dancing abilities and roller-skating skills, but also his chameleonic abilities to shift gears and go from hard-core reggaeton to a sweet, groovy pop tune. Spreading ’80s dance-floor nostalgia, the track is accompanied by an atmospheric video directed by Marlon Peña. Watch for smooth dance moves and a cameo by four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal who joins Alejandro and company in a skating ring dance battle. — GRISELDA FLORES
Nella, Doce Margaritas (Sony Music Latin)
Nella’s superpower is a sweet-but-throaty voice that cuts through the clutter with compelling elegance. No wonder the Venezuelan singer won the Latin Grammy for best new artist in 2019. And no wonder that, despite her youth, she’s eschewed reggaeton for a jazzy pop style laced with Spanish touches that allows her voice to float over simple-yet-rhythmically complex arrangements. Nella is a protégé of acclaimed Spanish producer Javier Limón, who penned and produced most of this sophomore album. Although there is more “commercial” fare, like the uptempo opening track and single “Solita,” produced by Julio Reyes, and “Volare” alongside Pedro Capó, Nella is at her best when she gets introspective. “De Vez en Cuando,” set over a solo piano that initially evokes the short pieces of Spanish composer Enrique Granados and then devolves into a Cuban son, is sheer beauty. This is a set to savor with time and perhaps some cognac. — LEILA COBO
Danny Felix, “Con Sinceridad” (UMG Recordings/Fonovisa)
Danny Felix is an up-and-coming regional urban singer-songwriter and producer you should not sleep on. After penning and/or producing songs for Natanael Cano, Luis Coronel and Karol G, to name a few, the Phoenix-based artist presents his new single “Con Sinceridad.” As one of the exponents of the trap corridos movement, Felix stays faithful to his innovative mariachi tumbado fusions charged with captivating requintos and bass undertones. In “Con Sinceridad,” he sings about a toxic relationship that has come to its end. — J.R.
Adriana Ríos, “Ahí Va La Loca” (AfinArte Music)
Rising regional Mexican artist Adriana Ríos puts her mature and powerful vocals at the forefront in her new mariachi-powered ranchera track “Ahí Va La Loca.” Penned by the Tijuana-born artist, the song is about a confident woman who’s built up the courage to end a toxic relationship. “If I find out the truth, know that I will never forgive you,” she sings boldly. — G.F.
Los Plebes del Rancho de Ariel Camacho & Christian Nodal, Recordando a una Leyenda (JG Music/Universal Music Mexico)
Six years after regional Mexican star Ariel Camacho died in a car accident in his native Sinaloa, Mexico, his band Los Plebes del Rancho de Ariel Camacho keeps his music and legacy alive, dropping a joint album with Christian Nodal dubbed Recordando a una Leyenda. Born during the quarantine lockdown and recorded in three days, the 10-song set is an homage to nine of Camacho’s timeless hits in addition to their original collaboration “2 Veces,” which hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Regional Mexican Airplay chart this week and entered top 10 on Latin Airplay. The album fuses Los Plebes’ distinctive sierreño sound with Nodal’s innovative ranchero and mariachi melodies. “It’s been a huge responsibility,” founding member César Sánchez tells Billboard. “There’s been many ups and downs but we continue to evolve and give it our all. We’re all conscious that Ariel is seeing us from above and that he’s very proud of us for not letting his boat sink.” Standout tracks on Recordando a una Leyenda, as recommended by the group itself, include “Por No Perderte te Perdí,” “Ya Lo Supere,” “Amarga Derrota” and focus track “Hablemos.” — J.R.
Leonel García, 45 RPM (Sony Music Mexico)
Mexican singer-songwriter Leonel García released his eighth studio album as a soloist titled 45RPM, and while 22 songs may seem like a lot, it’s worth listening to from beginning to end. García starts the album with a 17-second intro, a meditation-like soundscape that cleanses and prepares the mind for the next 21 tracks that cleanse your soul, allowing for reflection on self-love, toxic masculinity and relationships. 45 RPM, the title derived from the most common form of the vinyl single and its play speed, artfully fuses García’s signature sounds such as pop, R&B and soul. The album is mainly Garcia but features a handful of collaborations with artists such as Ximena Sariñana and Pedro Capó. — G.F.
Pepe Aguilar, “Traigo Ganas” (Equinoccio Records)
After venturing into Latin rock and pop ballads, Pepe Aguilar returns to his roots in new single “Traigo Ganas.” A fast-paced mariachi with honest lyrics, “Traigo Ganas,” which in English means “I have desires,” tells the story of a man who wants to fall in love again despite having no luck in love. “I want to love and to be loved/ I got rid of a toxic love/ I want to love, for someone to tame me/ Because I’m tired of the bars,” says part of the song. In a previous interview with Billboard, Aguilar said he’s working on a new album with romantic rancheras. “I haven’t worked on something with mariachi in six years,” he admitted. “Traigo Ganas” is a preview of what fans can expect. — J.R.
Juan Pablo Vega, Juan Pablo Vega (Warner Music Mexico)
Colombian singer-songwriter Juan Pablo Vega is best known in some circles as a producer. After all, he helmed Debi Nova’s Grammy-nominated album 3:33, which also won the Latin Grammy for best engineered album last year. But Vega is a recording artist in his own right who is increasingly unafraid of taking risks in his off-center pop. His self-titled sophomore album drives the point home, including an all-instrumental track, “El Vacile del Tío,” dedicated to his bass player, along with tracks like “Eso Que Me Das” with Estemán, which blends disco with Brazilian beats, and the Beatles-esque “Joderlo Todo.” It’s eclectic but still cohesive, atmospheric but highly melodic. And a great example of the variety that can still be found in good pop. — L.C.