8 New Songs to Listen to This Week From Marina Sena to VEGA

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This is a weekly compilation of bite-sized song and EP reviews from our music writers. Discover new favs, read nuanced criticism of the week’s hottest releases, and more. This week, some of the featured artists include Marina Sena, VEGA, and El Dusty. Follow our playlist featuring these tracks and more on Spotify or Apple Music.

Silva, Marina Sena, RDD – “Te Vi Na Rua”

There’s no doubt that Marina Sena overtook the Brazilian pop landscape in 2021 with her debut De Primeira, bringing home skyrocketing numbers on streaming platforms and a couple of awards. For a closing act of such a great year, the young artist joined fellow indie singer-songwriter Silva and the producer Rafa Dias aka RDD on a slow summer jam. “Te Vi Na Rua” is a sweaty love song in which both Marina and Silva’s effortless singing sound like a beautiful sunset. None of this would be achieved without Rafa’s refined production—he’s the mastermind behind several hits, such as Anitta and Cardi B “Me Gusta.” – Felipe Maia

VEGA – “Mirlo Blanco”

Spanish singer/songwriter VEGA is dropping her latest album Mirlo Blanco in February, and she just shared its powerful title track. This epic pop-rock song builds up from bird songs and delicate acoustic guitar picks until it reaches its climax with a sprawling guitar solo, and in the center, VEGA reflects on her own journey in the music industry. Almost 20 years after launching her career, she’s been knocked down over and over again for living her artistic truth, but she’s always risen to the top stronger, more experienced, and, like the blackbird, faithful to her singular voice. – Cheky

Diosque – “Equilibrio”

Over the years, Argentine psych-pop master Diosque has cultivated a constantly evolving sound, remaining true to his spacey, absurdist roots but comfortably delving into glitzy dance music and minimalist R&B. His latest single, “Equilibrio,” is a slow-burning lament for people and relationships that aren’t meant to be, haunted by his inability to measure up to a loved one’s needs and echoed by the song’s collapsing cumbia crescendo. – Richard Villegas

Yari Mejia – “Mexa”

Drag queen songs are characterized by the zingers and quotable lyrics on self-empowerment, and Yari Mejia’s “Mexa” is all of that—and then some. Produced by Morenito de Fuego (3ball Monterrey, Amanditititita), the song celebrates being mexa, short for Mexican. “Soy mexicana chingona/ Siempre pa’ ‘delante, nunca para ‘tras,” Mejia declares on this tribal guarachero banger. Everyone from Frida to Juanga to mezcal gets a shoutout on this song, and the music video features all the contestants of the fourth season of Mexico’s answer to Drag Race, La Más Draga, of which Mejia is a judge. “Mexa” is meant to be danced at the club, four or five drinks in while feeling oneself as the chingonas we all are. – Alexis Hodoyán-Gastélum

Leon Lobato – “La Joya del Loto”

“La Joya del Loto” is part of a compilation that celebrates some of Mexico City’s most iconic landmarks, yet Leon Lobato’s contribution feels mystical rather than architectural. A house track with plenty of abstract elements, “La Joya del Loto” features subtle percussion, soft synth washes, flutes, and chanting. All these elements make the song a warm-yet-spectral cut that will make you feel like the physical world could dissolve into a dream. — Marcos Hassan

Acid Coco – “Cara Dura”

With “Cara Dura,” Colombian duo Acid Coco sends the message straight away: in today’s society, there’s no room for sexists, macho men who think the times haven’t changed. Things have changed, and shame on those who still have a cara dura to act otherwise. The single is a contemporary salsa with cumbia tones, synth lines, and bit-sized, locked-in percussion. Joyful and danceable, the song manages to blend smoothly a necessary political discourse with an upbeat vibe. – Felipe Maia

DJ Jigüe, El Menor, Nana – “Tanta Fé (Babalú 17)”

Throughout his extensive catalog of house and techno dance pieces, Cuban electronic godfather DJ Jigüe has always centered on Afro-Caribbean spirituality alongside sacred drumming traditions. But with his latest single “Tanta Fé (Babalú 17),” the music takes on a devotional and almost tactile quality as he weaves chants, skeletal percussion, and pulsating digital beats into a towering ofrenda to San Lázaro and his many devotees. – Richard Villegas

El Dusty, ZEUS El Mero Necio – “La Diabla”

Leave it to El Dusty to deliver a frantic yet exhilarating track to drop for maximum dancefloor effect at any end-of-year party. Working with ZEUS El Mero Necio, “La Diabla” serves hooks upon hooks upon hooks which are placed over an ever-mutating beat that hints at everything from EDM, trap, hip-hop, cumbia, norteño, and much more. “La Diabla” functions as a party starter that can turn up any place where humans gather. — Marcos Hassan