Within the ever-evolving world of Latin music, we’ve seen some sensational moments and headline-grabbing spectacles in 2016. Colombian urban powerhouse J Balvin solidified himself as the reigning king of the new reggaetón movement via the skyrocketing Energía; Marc Anthony and J.Lo stunned global audiences with their surprise reunion at this year’s Latin GRAMMYS with a tropical rendition of Pimpinela’s “Olvídame y pega la vuelta” (and their now-infamous kiss!); our beloved Mexican legend Juan Gabriel passed away too soon yet left behind a charming duets document, Los Dúo 2, starring everyone in Latin music and their mothers (well, not really, but you get the point). Because these buzzed-about folks and their 2016 material are doing so well without our help, having a spot secured in nearly every big publication out there, we’ve decided to spotlight some sparkly hidden gems, exciting artists worthy of your discovery, and killer songs you might have missed by respectable acts. And boy, do these 50 Best Tracks resonate loudly in our hearts.
Spunky electro-pop wunderkinds Alex Anwandter, Cineplexx, and Selma Oxor kept things intriguingly hyperactive through iridescent synths and a dash of mystery. Hypnotic electro-tropical masterminds Systema Solar, Compass, and Orkesta Mendoza continued to bend the boundaries of cumbia and folkloric sounds via their dashing experimentalism and love of tradition. Alt-norteño took the throne in unconventionalism in the good hands of regional Mexican iconoclasts Juan Cirerol and Helen Ochoa while staying true to form. Debaucherous punk made waves across borders through the awesomely cacophonic powerchords of daredevils AJ Davila, Sexy Zebras, and Los Nastys. For our utter excitement, we also saw the return of alternative rock royalty Café Tacvba, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, and Andrés Calamaro. Oh, and not to mention 2016 also brought us surprisingly killer renditions delivered by the likes of Mexrrissey and Vanessa Zamora. Here are the 50 most riveting tracks hailing from indie and non-conformist Latinx acts. Happy listening!