New Releases

SEX AND LOVE (Deluxe)

Enrique Iglesias

Shakira.

Shakira

Loco De Amor

Juanes

Globall

3BallMTY

3.0

Marc Anthony

Vengo

Ana Tijoux

Soltando al perro (USA)

Jesse & Joy

En Tus Manos

Los Rieleros Del Norte

Albums From $5.99 Latin Platinum Pop

Un Día Normal

Juanes
Recorded in Los Angeles, CA, and co-produced by rock en español expert Gustavo Santaolalla, the second album by Grammy-winning Juanes, highly anticipated following the release of its first single, "A Dios Le Pido," once again delivers his awarded fusion of urban, rock, and Latin American rhythms. A spiritual folk-rock song opens this 12-track record, followed by the romantic mid-tempo "Es por Ti" and the Latin pop ballads "Un Día Normal" and "La Unica." Colombian Juanes (born Juan Esteban Aristizabal) goes local with "Luna," a pop-oriented vallenato, the most popular traditional rhythm from his native country. After the orchestrated ballad "Dia Lejano," the album's rock en español side emerges with "Mala Gente" and "Fotografía," recorded along with Nelly Furtado. Un Día Normal ends with the Latin dance-pop of "La Noche."

Drago Bonacich, Rovi

Grandes Exitos

Shakira
After Shakira's international breakthrough with her first English-language album, her record company decided to release Grandes Exitos, targeted at Spanish-speaking audiences. This record gathers her hits from Pies Descalzos, Dónde Están los Ladrones?, and MTV Unplugged, as well as some Spanish versions of hits from Laundry Service (previously edited on the same album in Spanish-speaking countries). The smash hit "Whenever, Wherever" here is "Suerte," while "Objection" is "Te Aviso, Te Anuncio." Even though Shakira is usually compared to other Latin stars like Thalía or Paulina Rubio, she has more to offer and you can hear it on this album. She manages to make the sound her own, mixing pop, rock, and some oriental sounds (such as on "Ojos Así"). For those who are looking for all of her hits in Spanish, this is the disc to start with.

Iván Adaime, Rovi

Euphoria

Enrique Iglesias
Insomniac was designed for late nights at the club but Enrique Iglesias’ 2010 sequel Euphoria is as bright as its title, a firm return to romance for the loverman. Not that he’s entirely abandoned the idea of a dancefloor hit -- not with the blaring Pitbull collabo “I Like It,” complete with ice-sheet synths and an “All Night Long” interpolation, playing such a prominent role on the record -- nor does he rely on old-fashioned balladry, sometimes drawing from the chilly textures of Ryan Tedder on his duet with Nicole Scherzinger, letting Akon in for an Auto-Tuned reggae groove on “One Day at a Time,” which is enough for Euphoria to feel modern without alienating older audiences. Despite these contemporary flourishes, the heart of this album resides in Iglesias’ romantic balladeering, the kind of croon that crosses cultures, so much so that the tracks here slip between Spanish and English without much notice. No matter the language, Enrique maintains the seductive mood on Euphoria.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Dreaming Of You

Selena
Most of America first learned of Selena because of her tragic murder; accordingly, the posthumous Dreaming of You was the first record they ever heard. While it isn't her best -- Amor Prohibido is a more consistent release -- it was an effective introduction and showed why she was so beloved among Tejano fans. Her English tracks on the album are no different than her Spanish tracks. Selena was essentially a singer much like her idol, Madonna. She was able to sing ballads and dance-pop convincingly. Dreaming of You would have been a stronger album had she lived, but it still stands as a powerful -- and touching -- testament to her talents. [This edition features bonus tracks.]

Meet The Orphans

Don Omar
A mix of new and old music, Don Omar Presents Meet the Orphans features the man himself alongside artists from his record label, El Orfanato Music. Kendo Kapponi and Syko are the featured artists with guests like Plan B and Zion & Lennox landing on the highlights. A must for Don Omar fans and worth considering if you’re curious, but unfamiliar, with what’s happening in the reggaeton genre as of 2010. [A Deluxe Edition was also released.]

La Misma Gran Señora

Jenni Rivera
Two new tracks and a set of old favorites fill this moving, posthumous release that landed on shelves and in online stores only two days after the superstar singer died suddenly when a plane carrying her and members of her family and touring organization crashed in the mountains of northern Mexico. Think "amazing what they can do in just two days" rather than anything crass, because this set takes great care with the artist's legacy, collecting defining numbers like "Besos y Copas," "Hermano Amigo," and the original "La Gran Señora." Of course, the big draw here is the title track, a soaring song that triumphantly declares that the 2012, recently post-divorce Rivera is still the same "grand woman" she always was. It's as bittersweet as they come, and a great reason to pick this Jenni Rivera collection over the others.

David Jeffries, Rovi

Planet Pit (Deluxe Version)

Pitbull
Returning to English after his Spanish-language album Armando, Miami-based rapper Pitbull goes overboard with the gloss on Planet Pit and winds up with a slick club monster that just gushes with good times. Solid hooks, polished production, cutting-edge tricks, and a star-studded guest list makes this a blockbuster thrill ride, but the reason Planet Pit retains its sense of fun through repeated listens is the man’s cool charisma and cheeky attitude. “Mommy, no you can’t go left/’Cause you look so right” and “I’m such a dirty, dirty dog/My teeth will unsnap your bra” both figure into the gimmicky highlight “Pause” while “Got it locked-up, like Lindsey Lohan” is the best celebrity quip in the massive “Give Me Everything,” a star-obsessed, money-flashing, sweet ride-driving declaration of opulence that comes with some spicy flavor, making it an easy nomination for “Quintessential Miami Club Track.” Add some witty adaptations -- Harry Belafonte’s classic gets the T-Pain and Sean Paul treatment on the electro-calypso “Shake Señora” -- some grand power ballads -- the Kelly Rowland feature “Castle Made of Sand” -- and some full-bodied house music -- “Took My Love” -- and Planet Pit becomes the quintessential Miami club album with an extra dose of mass appeal. This is a hip-hop-flavored club effort of Elephunk proportions and another high-water mark for the don of pop-rap’s glitter dome.

Sentimiento, Elegancia y Maldad

Arcángel

asondeguerra

Juan Luis Guerra

Fórmula Vol. 1

Romeo Santos
Formula, Vol. 1, the debut offering by Anthony "Romeo" Santos, former lead vocalist for Aventura, was preceded by two hit singles. First was the easy summertime groove of "You," followed by "Promise," a shimmering duet with Usher. Both tracks hit the top spot on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs and Tropical Songs charts. On this 15-track full-length set, Santos offers proof that the singles were merely teasers. Kept mainly to slow to midtempo ballads -- all of which he wrote or co-wrote -- Santos and his slippery tenor cross bachata, nuevo flamenco, and merengue, melded with just enough contemporary R&B, to create an intoxicating brew. Other standouts include "Soberbio," "La Bella y la Bestia," and "All Aboard," in collaboration with Lil Wayne.

Thom Jurek, Rovi

New Releases Latin Singles

Odio

Romeo Santos feat. Drake

El Perdedor (Bachata)

Enrique Iglesias

6 AM

J. Balvin

Soy De Rancho

El Komander

Te Robaré

Prince Royce

Nunca Me Acuerdo de Olvidarte

Shakira

Cinco de Mayo Música Mexicana

La Gran Señora

Jenni Rivera
Although banda has dominated most of Jenni Rivera's studio albums, those who have seen her live know that La Diva de la Banda is also an excellent mariachi singer. In fact, many of Rivera's longtime fans have been hoping that she would record a mariachi album, and the Los Angeles native does exactly that with La Gran Señora. There isn't a trace of banda to be found on this studio recording from 2009; Rivera is joined by a mariachi band throughout the 45-minute CD. Some tracks include a little norteño accordion along with the mariachi horns and strings, but mariachi is the dominant instrumentation -- and Rivera soars as a mariachi vocalist on ranchera gems such as "Ya Lo Se," "Por Que No le Calas," "No Llega el Olvido," and "La Escalera." However, the fact that La Gran Señora favors a mariachi/ranchera orientation doesn't mean that Rivera is afraid to try different things. One of the album's most intriguing tracks is a remake of the late Mexican-American country-pop singer Freddy Fender's 1975 hit "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," which finds Rivera combining country-pop and ranchera. For years, those who are fans of both country and regional Mexican music have been noting the parallels between the two; prominent honky tonk themes (heartbreak, betrayal, unrequited love, drinking to ease the pain) are also prominent ranchera themes, and outlaw country (Johnny Cash, Johnny Paycheck, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings) is quite comparable to outlaw corridos. Those regional Mexican/country parallels weren't lost on Fender, and the combination of steel guitar and mariachi guitar on Rivera's version of "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" indicates that they aren't lost on Rivera either. But the fact that Rivera makes a detour into country-pop doesn't mean that La Gran Señora has strong crossover motives; this is a regional Mexican album first and foremost, and La Diva de la Banda has no problem excelling in a mariachi-oriented environment.

Alex Henderson, Rovi

Globall

3BallMTY

Enamorada De Ti

Selena
Enamorada de Ti reworks original Selena recordings in order to illustrate how she may have sounded in 2012 if she were still alive. Generally, this means that the original recordings have been pushed ever so slightly toward the mainstream -- for instance, "Amor Prohibido" has much of its overly stiff drum machines stripped away, replaced by warmer studio musicians. This isn't quite enough to make Selena sound contemporary -- these songs are rooted in the '90s and sound that way -- but it is a relatively fresher repackaging of her music than many of her posthumous releases.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Otra Vez

Vicente Fernández

Te Presumo

Banda El Recodo
All too often, pioneers who helped to build a particular genre or subgenre of music disappear from the scene or receive little attention when that genre or subgenre eventually becomes ultra-popular. Most of the bachata pioneers who were active during the 1960s didn't profit at all during the bachata boom of the 1990s and 2000s. Most of the hip-hop pioneers who were rapping in New York City in the late '70s didn't make nearly as much money as the platinum-selling rappers who came along after hip-hop went from having a small cult following to being a huge international phenomenon. So bearing all that in mind, it's heartening to know that La Banda el Recodo -- an outfit that has been around since 1938 -- reaped the commercial rewards during the 1990s/2000s banda explosion. Not only have La Banda el Recodo enjoyed real staying power (albeit with many lineup changes along the way), but they have also continued to record frequently. There are numerous Banda el Recodo albums to choose from; Te Presumo was released in 2008, the year of their 70th anniversary. This 45-minute CD contains its share of Latin pop-influenced material, including "Tus Palabras," "Parece Mentira," and the title track. But La Banda el Recodo favor a tropical feel on exuberant offerings like "Sube, Sube, Sube" and "Las Tontas No Van al Cielo" (both of which are pure party music). Meanwhile, a more traditional, classically Mexican approach prevails on the corrido "Los Dos Jefes" and the ranchera-minded "Por una Mujer Bonita." And through it all, La Banda el Recodo maintain the brassiness they have long been known for. Although not among their essential releases, Te Presumo is an enjoyable demonstration of La Banda el Recodo's versatility as well as their longevity.

Alex Henderson, Rovi

Dance And Dense Denso

Molotov
Nearly four years after Apocalypshit, Molotov proved they'd lost none of their dynamic energy and explosiveness by releasing another raging, entertaining LP, Dance and Dense Denso. With this one, it became clear that Molotov rated as one of the best in the rock en español movement's contemporary wing. As before, the quartet focus on aggro punk with plenty of attitude, but unlike many of their contemporaries, these are intelligent songs with a long shelf life. "Here We Kum" is a brilliant Spanglish jam, with an infectious singalong chorus ("Here we come and we don't care nacha!"), while the hilarious food-and-sex metaphors of "Changüich a la Chichona" ("I want to get down into your juju bees") show that Molotov have a good handle on tongue-in-cheek humor. The band also has no trouble when it changes tempo, with a simmering track called "No Me Da Mi Navidad." Aggressive, intelligent, infectious, and fun -- Molotov have it all, and Dance and Dense Denso is one of the best Latin rock releases of the year.

John Bush, Rovi

Si

Julieta Venegas
Julieta Venegas is happy. First there was the outpouring of words like "poetic," "enigmatic," and "intense" among critics raving about the accordion-playing Tijuana native's 2000 release, Bueninvento. Then came her memorable contribution to the Amores Perros soundtrack and subsequent collaborations and appearances with major rock en español artists like Jarabe de Palo lead man Pau Dones and Cuban balladeer Silvio Rodríguez. And not incidentally, judging from the cover of Sí, which features Venegas cavorting in a wedding gown on a cotton candy pink background, somewhere in the intervening three years a question got popped. For every complex and moody fan alienated by what proves to be an unapologetically, even relentlessly perky recording, the airplay and buzz following Sí's November 2003 launch suggested it generated plenty of sunny new converts. Indeed, the ten songs, all written by Venegas or co-authored with Argentine composer, session musician, and co-producer Coti Sorokin, offer much to like. Venegas flirts with folkloric stereotypes in norteño-lounge numbers like "Andar Conmigo" and "Oleada," weds them to hip-hop in "Lo Que Pidas," and commandeers the dancefloor at the reception in shameless disco salutes like "Donde Quiero Estar" and "A Tu Lado," making joyous use of a voice that's sounding as assured and uncluttered as that of Aterciopelados' Andrea Echeverri. The 35 minutes of total play time might seem scant and the lyrics more than a little love struck, but don't lump Venegas in with other passing fancies. Sometimes love is meant to last.

Jenny Gage, Rovi

Con El Mariachi Vargas De Tecalitlan

Juan Gabriel

Ultimate Santana

Santana
Billed as the first Santana compilation to span his entire career, it is true that Ultimate Santana does indeed run the gamut from 1969's "Evil Ways" to 2002's "Game of Love," but if you think that means it handles all phases of his career equally, you'd be sadly mistaken. Essentially, this 18-track set plays like a collection of highlights from his Supernatural-era comebacks, spiked with a couple of classic rock oldies -- because that's what it really is. It contains no less than "ten" superstar duets, including new numbers with Nickelback's Chad Kroeger (the streamlined and smoothed "Into the Night," which has little of Kroeger's trademark growly histrionics) and Jennifer Lopez and Baby Bash ("This Boy's Fire," a dance number where Santana seems incidental), plus a version of "The Game of Love" with Tina Turner (don't worry, the lighter, brighter, superior Michelle Branch version is here too) and plus "Interplanetary Party," which is a new band recording that sounds like a star duet. These are piled upon seven previously released duets -- including, of course, the hits "Smooth," "Maria Maria," and "The Game of Love," but also album tracks with Everlast, Steven Tyler, and Alex Band of the Calling -- with classic rock radio staples "Oye Como Va," "Black Magic Woman," "Evil Ways," "Europa," "Samba Pa Ti," and "No One to Depend On" for good measure. In other words, this is certainly "not" a hits disc for the fan of his earliest music, or his most adventurous music either; it's for the pop fans won over by his latter-day comeback, and for those listeners, it's the hits disc they'd want -- but for everybody else, it's better to seek out other compilations or original albums, because those paint a better picture of what Santana was all about than this crisp, clean collection of lifestyle pop.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi