These Are The Songs That Saved Us In 2020
After what feels like an entire decade, we’ll soon be able to say adios to 2020. In what will go down as an unprecedented year, full of drama, pain, and loss (with a good mix of hope and inspiration), there was at least incredible music released throughout the year by some of our favorite artists.
A positive byproduct of the global pandemic was the explosion of creativity among Latin artists. With all of us in lockdown around the world, artists hunkered down in their home studios and started churning out new content.
And perhaps as a symbol for 2020, songs got deeper than ever this year. Artists worked on projects that explored topics such as mental health, Black empowerment, and self-worth. Many others were borne out of solitude and introspection, resulting in material that was often deeply personal and cathartic.
Bad Bunny, Yo Perreo Sola
If I’m being realistic Bad Bunny’s entire album YHLQMDLG is what got me through this god-awful year, but “Yo Perreo Sola” definitely earned a top spot.
Bad Bunny released Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana (I Do Whatever I Want) on a leap year, in true Bad Bunny fashion. But the accompanying music video for “Yo Perreo Sola” is what had people talking – with Bad Bunny in full drag and looking damn fine.
Anuel AA, No Llores Mujer
After debuting the track on The James Corden Show during a performance that gave me goose bumps, I knew this song was going to be one that many of us had on repeat. The track is a cover of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” and it’s definitely one that helped many get through 2020.
Alejandro Fernández, Mentí
Alejandro Fernández’s return to mariachi, the genre closest to his heart, features new songs written by a wide range of exciting new writers, from Joss Favela to Edén Muñoz, and is produced by Aureo Baqueiro, known for his pop fare. The resulting album sounds authentic but contemporary, as highlighted by the exuberant yet evocative “Mentí.”
Bad Bunny & Jhay Cortez, Dákiti
Off of Bad Bunny’s third (not first and not second!) album of 2020, “Dákiti” helped make El Ultimo Tour Del Mundo, the highest charting all-Spanish album ever.
Dua Lipa, Physical
What can I say about Lipa’s Future Nostalgia? The word ‘iconic’ comes to mind. This was one of the first major album drops that happened near the beginning of COVID-19 shutdowns, and it kept me from going stir-crazy. From the pop-synth ’80s influences to Lipa’s all-too-relatable attitude toward love and relationships, I love this project wholeheartedly.
The Weeknd, Blinding Lights
When The Weeknd dropped After Hours, I did not know what to expect. I initially wasn’t a fan of the first single, but after he performed ‘Scared to Live’ on Saturday Night Live, I knew the album was going to get me in my feelings, and I was right. The Weeknd has a way with making heartbreak sound so beautiful that you actually forget that’s what he’s singing about.
Ozuna, Del Mar
Ozuna loves acronyms. But ENOC, which stands for El Negrito Ojos Claros (The Black Kid, Light Eyes) is his nickname. This 20-track tour de force is capped off by “Del Mar,” easily my favorite track from the album.
Arcangel, Un Año Tarde
Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion, WAP
Few songs had people googling three simple letters as much as this song did, which is unofficially this year’s anthem. Although the lyrics ruffled the feathers of many conservatives, it also received praise for its sex-positive vibes and strong beats.
Myke Towers, Girl
A complete 180 turn. Myke Towers has come a long way since the release of his debut album El Final del Principio in 2016.
Black Eyed Peas & Shakira, Girl Like Me
The Black Eyed Peas placed all bets on Latin and on familiar melodies and samples for their comeback set, Translation, which debuted at No. 3 on the Top Latin Albums chart.
Featuring a brew of Latin collaborators including J Balvin, Ozuna, Shakira and Becky G, among others, the sample-heavy album delivered two No. 1 Hot Latin Songs hits that ruled over half the calendar year: the Corona-sampling Balvin collab “RITMO” and Ozuna-assisted “Mamacita,” which borrows the melody of Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita.” But it was their collab with Shakira that I couldn’t stop listening to.
Camilo, Por Primera Vez
Latin pop of late has become the realm of the 35-and-over crowd, as reggaetón and trap are voraciously consumed by younger audiences. Enter Camilo, whose sweet, mid-tempo love songs and equally sweet, high-pitched tenor remind both teenagers and their grandparents that it’s cool to fall totally in love.
Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande, Rain On Me
Even if you didn’t make it out to a club or bar in 2020, it was basically impossible to escape this Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande bop. It debuted at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and was the seventh most streamed song of summer 2020 and the most streamed song by a female artist globally during the season.
ChocQuibTown, Que Me Baile
The Colombian trio’s sixth studio album is a beautiful made-at-home set that houses 11 eclectic tracks that are pop-forward, but still place ChocQuibTown’s distinctive fusion of Afrobeat and music from Colombia’s Pacific coast at the forefront. Featuring collaborations with Becky G, Manuel Turizo, Rauw Alejandro and more, the 11-track, quarantine-born set is definitely on 2020’s repeat list.
J Balvin, Rojo
This 10-track set is J Balvin’s most ambitious album yet, musically and visually. Packed with back-to-back hits such as the edgy, futuristic pop anthem “Blanco,” heart-wrenching ballad “Rojo” and hard-hitting reggaetón track “Negro” — the three tracks on the album that also best showcase Balvin’s versatility as an artist.
Papi Juancho, whose title riffs off Maluma’s nickname of “Juancho” (short for Juan Luis), features a handful of duets with old and new school reggaetón stars. But it’s the track “Hawái” that really stole the album’s thunder and for good reason, it’s the blockbuster single that makes clear this kid from Medellín is a global act.
Ricky Martin, Cántalo
In what’s Martin’s first album since 2015, Ricky Martin doesn’t hold back. Packed with introspective and melancholic lyrics (hello, 2020!), the Grammy-nominated EP is borne from the need to heal through music and features some incredible collaborations – Sting, Carla Morrison, Pedro Capó and Diego El Cigala, among others.
So what were the songs that helped you get through 2020? Did we miss any on this roundup? Let us know!
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