Welcome to LATINA’s weekly roundup of the best new music. This week’s list features new albums from Mexican-American singers Becky G and Chiquis, while newcomers Flores and Eva Westphal make their marks with promising debut EPs.
Also on the list, Christina Aguilera tackles ranchera in “La Reina” and Colombian singer Feid salutes classic reggaeton in “Castigo.” Mexican-American singer Alaina Castillo proves why sad girls always finish first in her new single, Maffio taps the world for his mind-blowing “Eso Es Mental” album, and Trueno celebrates Argentina in “Bien o Mal.” Check out the list below.
Becky G, “Esquemas”
Becky G is back with her new album “Esquemas.” The 14-track LP includes the Mexican-American singer’s global smash “Mamiii” with Karol G. “It’s totally become this beautiful, amazing moment for me that really represents everything I’ve always been about, which is female empowerment, collaboration, and a celebration of our culture,” Becky G told LATINA. With success in the pop and Latin markets, she blends both of her worlds throughout the album. Becky G embraces a funky disco-pop sound in the dreamy “Bailé Con Mi Ex” and gives doo-wop a trap twist in “Flashback” featuring Elena Rose. The sonically diverse album comes on the heels of Becky G celebrating a decade in the music industry. About what she’s learned in those 10 years, she said, “You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t, so just do what you want to do. Live in your truth and own that.”
Christina Aguilera, “La Reina”
Christina Aguilera has released the music video for one of the best songs on “La Fuerza” EP. In the song “La Reina,” she tackles the ranchera genre with a powerful response to a Vicente Fernández classic. “I always pay tribute to the greatest and Vicente Fernández is one of them,” she said in a statement. “His song ‘El Rey’ talks about being the king and how great it is. With ‘La Reina’ I reply to this great classic emphasizing how a king wouldn’t be a king without his queen.” The Ecuadorian-American artist remains a true queen as she belts her heart out in a passionate performance. In the music video, Xtina brings that strength to life while performing the song in a ravishing red gown.
Chiquis, “Abeja Reina”
Chiquis is carrying on the legacy of her late mother, Jenni Rivera, in “Abeja Reina.” Like Jenni, the Mexican-American singer has become a strong female voice in the male-dominated banda genre. “It feels good to represent women in this genre and show them that si se puede,” Chiquis told LATINA. On the 18-track LP, she gives banda music a new twist. In the empowering title track, she owns her fierceness over a corrido-infused sound. Chiquis also comes through with party anthems like the flirty “La Ex” and the banda banger “Entre Besos y Copas.” She pays tribute to her mom with an R&B-inspired take on one of her biggest hits, “De Contrabando.” With the 10th anniversary of Jenni’s passing coming up, Chiquis added, “I want [people] to remember her as the woman that went through so much. That was not supposed to make it, but made it because of the courage that she had, and she would not accept no for an answer and she would find a way.”
Flores, “The Lives They Left”
As an Indigenous Mexican-American artist, Flores has become a voice for the people who share her roots on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. On her debut EP, “The Lives They Left,” she reflects on growing up in the border town of El Paso, TX. “My EP is a tribute to honor the sacrifices of my family, a love letter to our heritage,” Flores told LATINA. “[It’s] an intimate view into my head, through my journey of love, culture, revival and hope.” As one of R&B’s most promising new artists, her soulful voice soars in songs like the breathtaking “Nopales” and the powerful “Brown.” About the latter track, she added, “I wrote this song to the 10-year-old me, the young indigenous kids who are from Mexico and Latin America who are all too often left out of the conversation. That we are from this land, we are not invaders or illegals and deserve to be treated with dignity and humanity.”
Maffio, “Eso Es Mental”
Maffio’s new album “Eso Es Mental” lives up to its name. As the Dominican producer told LATINA, “Eso es mental (That is mental) is one of my favorite phrases. The mind is powerful and we live with different types of machinery around us, but the true machine is you. Everything is possible if you put your mind to it. Everything is mental.” The mind-blowing LP features collaborations with acts from around the world, like Latin boy band CNCO and dembow star Kiko El Crazy in “Teteo” and Colombian trio ChocQuibTown in “Jaguayuken.” The latter song is an ode to the video game “Street Fighter” and Goyo serves a fierce Chun-Li look in the music video. Maffio even brought back the Baha Men for the red-hot “Fire.” He proudly waves his Dominican flag in “R.D.,” which features the country’s merengue legend El Jeffrey. Maffio’s album has something for everyone.
Trueno, “Bien o Mal”
Argentine artist Trueno is emerging as one of the most promising rappers in Latin music. He recently made global headlines when Gorillaz invited him to perform with them at the Quilmes Rock Festival. In his album “Bien o Mal,” Trueno celebrates the culture of his country. Argentine-Spanish singer Nathy Peluso features in “Argentina,” their anthem where Trueno shouts out 23 provinces. He also teamed up with Argentine hit-making producer Bizarrap in the reggaeton banger “Jungle” with Randy. The most poignant song on the album is “Tierra Zanta,” which features Argentine folk artists like Victor Heredia and La Charo. Embedded in the empowering rap track is a sample of Argentine icon Gustavo Cerati’s “Sulky.” Trueno can work his impactful rap flow around any sound.
Eva Westphal, “Beautiful Little Life”
Eva Westphal is celebrating self-love with her new EP “Beautiful Little Life.” The Nuyorican singer-songwriter reflects on her personal triumphs and the healing she’s done to reach a happier place in her life. The title track “Beautiful Little Life” is a symphonic and gorgeous ballad that reflects Westphal’s brighter perspective. “[The song] encapsulates everything I want to say with the tracks on my EP,” she tells LATINA. “In the past two years, I’ve become stable in my recovery from an eating disorder, I’ve stopped drinking, and I’ve grown more connected to friends and family and the world around me. I am so grateful to be alive and this song tells the story of why.” Westphal’s intriguing introspection on the EP also includes a celebration of her queer identity in the heartfelt song “She’s Mine.” This EP is like musical therapy that soothes the soul.
Alaina Castillo, “Sad Girls Always Finish First”
Fresh off performing at Coachella and opening for Coldplay, Alaina Castillo has returned with her new single “Sad Girls Always Finish First.” The Mexican-American singer opened for Coldplay’s concert in her hometown of Houston on May 8. In the hypnotic bop track, Castillo sings in English and Spanish about how sad Latina girls like her are continuing to pull ahead in life. “[It’s] a song about acknowledging the feelings that one would normally hide just to fake a smile and act like it’s all okay,” Castillo told LATINA. “It’s about self-sabotage and manic thoughts that get turned into moments of confidence that help us realize we’re all a little messed up and that’s perfectly fine.” With artists like Omar Apollo and Kali Uchis, Castillo is part of a new wave of artists with roots in both the U.S. and Latin America who are giving pop music a more fresh and worldly sound.
Feid honors reggaeton’s legacy in his new single “Castigo.” The Colombian singer-songwriter, who is leading a new wave of reggaeton artists from Medellín, samples the genre’s greats like Yaga y Mackie and Nicky Jam. “Castigo” is also a welcomed return to Feid coming through with perreo-ready bangers. With his emotional vocals that set him apart in reggaeton, he salutes women who want to go out to the club and have a good time getting down to perreo. That message also comes through in the second half of the music video, which features a woman singing the song as she’s living her best life. “The last part of the video is all performed by a woman and it’s also showing that ‘Castigo’ is a song that’s very dedicated to women,” Feid told LATINA.