Club Fonograma's Best Songs of 2013 (25-01)

025. Las Ligas Menores - 
Renault Fuego”♫♫♫
This song just rolls out, precisely, riding the wave of its tempo, then finishes, naturally, intimate with the shoreline. "Renault Fuego" speeds down an empty, deserted highway, air whipping in your face, the sun your only timepiece. Guitars carry the track: the vocals just a little ditty sung with the conviction of a small self pep talk. It's summer in Argentina, after all – nothing too serious can dent your spirits, right? Sam Rodgers 

024. Matias Aguayo - “El Sucu Tucu”
The obvious must be stressed, Aguayo alone with his syncopated and converging intonations and hypnotic loops generates the atmosphere of a pagan celebration where the influence of rhythms from all parts of the world can be sensed. “El Sucu Tucu,” hard-hitting and intoxicating, makes one slide into a discoid trance of drumbeats and incantations. A pure moment of total upheaval of the senses triggered by the producers barely controlled madness. The kind of haunting track that will certainly continue to haunt us in the years to come. Souad Martin-Saoudi

023. Alex & Daniel - 
Una Nueva Aventura”
The best track in Alex & Daniel finds the Chilean heartthrobs motivating us to explore beyond our own private comforts. “Una Nueva Aventura” is a fast, synth-packed track tailored for escapism. The dream duo invites us to become Houdinis of our suffocating everyday lives. Pushing for new horizons, they unlock their arsenal of disco strings, detonating it in a rising plot that eventually stumbles upon a children’s chant, reminding us of that sense for adventure that once invaded our childhood. Jeziel Jovel 

022. Juana Molina  - “Eras”
"Eras", first single off Juana Molina’s last album Wed 21, is one of those songs that have an allure of invocation, in which melody, rhythm and voice seem to go separate ways but unite into a somewhat ritualistic chant. Mixing the influence of world music and electronic sounds, Argentinian songwriter Juana Molina creates an ambience of ceremony with her whispery singing and the gloomy echoes that accompany the broken bass line. Glòria Guirao Soro

021. Alizzz  - “Champagne” 
(feat. Kongo Lacosta)
Unless you’re an R&B enthusiast, chances are you won’t fall in love with “Champagne” right away. The hedonist gloss of it all can be either as attractive as the sparkling wine or deeply off-putting. Comfort, sex, and adventure will align by themselves. Refrain (the passive action and song element) is something to be afforded. Alizzz’s pursuit to pleasure isn’t devoid of struggle. “Don’t leave me alone, drogado y sin alcohol,” sighs Kongo Lacosta, imploring mercy before the flourishing of desire. “Champagne,” is the pouring of lavish fluids as remedy for emotional/bodily throb. - Carlos Reyes

020. Nicole  - “Baila” ♫♫♫
Contrary to what you’d expect from something ranked this high in the countdown, “Baila” takes a couple of spins to really understand. It’s certainly pleasant on first listen, almost like a lullaby. But once you begin to unpack the song, you’ll encounter an embarrassment of sonic riches. From shimmering acoustic guitars, otherworldly overdubs, and hypnotic percussion—you can almost hear light passing from the heavens as Nicole’s vocals emerge from the mix. Few songs attempt to sound this big; and even fewer succeed. - Andrew Casillas

019. Plan B  - “Zapatito Roto” 
(feat. Tego Calderón)
Hands down to Plan B. They’ve finally assembled their strongest single since the now classic “Si no le contesto.” Of course Tego Calderón’s assistance would lift this banger to startling magnitudes. The results in the amusing and quite excellent “Zapatito Roto” are beyond extraordinary. Many artists would die to have a hitazo of this range in their arsenal. Chencho and Maldy deliver a crucial, not-to-be-missed reggaeton anthem that firmly states they’re not messing around. - Enrique Coyotzi

018. Triángulo de Amor Bizarro  - 
Estrellas Místicas” ♫♫♫
“Estrellas Místicas” is a melodiously-fueled smasher. Victoria Mística’s best piece finds TAB simultaneously adapting space for harmony while delineating a canvas of noise walls. Its biggest virtue relies in its notable accessibility. “Estrellas Místicas” is probably the most straightforward, jubilant song the band has presented since the legendary “De la Monarquía a la Criptocracia.” Perhaps it will alienate some due to its uplifting essence, but it’s practically impossible not to fall for this captivating accomplishment. - Enrique Coyotzi

017. Coiffeur - “Damero”
As you probably know by now, Coiffeur has the most interesting to dissect career arc in recent South American pop. In short, a sensitive singer-songwriter whose pieces seemed molded to the acoustic guitar frame ends up dropping his best record to date by shifting towards synthesizers. In an album full of solid tracks, “Damero” stands out for its craft, introspectiveness, and plain danceability. Abandoning the wrongfully considered more “authentic” folk rock for the more “superficial” disco form was not only valiant, it was fittingly rewarding. - Pierre Lestruhaut

016. María y José - “Ultra” ♫♫♫
While María y José's flat vocals have always walked the line between singing and talking, "Ultra" is the first song that positions him more firmly in the hip-hop realm. The song may sample Kendrick Lamar, but it comes closer to Pipe Llorens in style with its deadpan delivery of despondent lines over an understated beat. The somber piano adds a tenderness to the song and another dimension to María y José. Vulnerability is not something el Rey de Reyes may want to show often, but he does it remarkably well. - Blanca Méndez

015. Bam Bam  - 
¡Regocíjate Hermano! 
“My Futura Vía is better than yours,” I used to brag to my fellow critics as the band had submitted (by accident) a version of the album that included tracks absent from the final cut. “Regocijate Hermano!” could’ve easily competed with “Abismatico” as the album’s peaking moment. Instead, the splendorous track was canned and controversially released this year (former member Selma Oxor wasn’t happy). I sure am the song is out of limbo. It sure has become the transcendental rock song on my ipod on the last couple of years.  - Carlos Reyes

014. Javiera Mena - “Espada”
Hnnnnnnngg..... Oh Javiera, you're running around like an 8-bit character in a fantasy quest game, collecting coins. You can hear the collection sound as you bump up the bricks of this dance hall. Your armor is as shiny as the Knights' of the Zodiac, and as plastic as a Transformer's. This is relentless pop perfection. You're confident and, yet, so vulnerable: every time you get impaled, we go to the next level. BRB, skipping to the 1:25 mark to ascend to the heavens again. - Sam Rodgers

013. Los Blenders  - 
Meta y Dinero” ♫♫♫
Just consider, for a moment, Los Blenders: the ideal amalgam of indie rock-ness, discovered through blogs of dubious origin, and brought to your laptop in the form of impossibly catchy surf rock. Is this band like real, made of actual people playing actual instruments? Or were they created by HRO from the detritus of bandcamp streams? As demystifying as it may sound, after seeing them live, Los Blenders turned out to be just four dudes playing rock instruments. Sometimes that’s all you need to make a song as inexplicably good as “Meta y Dinero.” - Pierre Lestruhaut

012. BFlecha  - “A Marte”
“Voy a marte, a buscarte...” Being an English-language blog, it's kind of a built-in belief that listeners from anywhere can appreciate the music we cover. "A marte" is no exception; the second we hear that rapturous fanfare transform into symphonic R&B, all concerns on translation disappear. And yet, the narrative Belén Vidal describes is a whole different matter. Confronting such a simple play on words (amarte vs. a marte) has never felt so intense; loving someone, after all, is a scary thing. BFlecha understands there’s no going back, the journey’s already begun. All she asks from us is that we root for her. - Giovanni Guillén

011. Buscabulla  - “Sono” 
“Sono” kicks off with a sampling of Pablo Milanés’ “Canción del Constructor.” Departing from a song about creation, Buscabulla surveys the soundscape for a conception of her own, approaching the medium with enchanting grace. Not to put any pressure on Raquel Berrios, but “Sono” has officially profiled her as the new artist to watch for 2014. Hearing her sing about her body being a vessel for light, or enouncing about the pyrotechny of the New Year immerses us into a whimsical number that circuits the magical and the symphonic. - Carlos Reyes


010. Alejandro Paz  - “El House” 
Following the masterworks of Daniel Maloso, Rebolledo, and label founder Matias Aguayo himself, Alejandro Paz hit us with “El House,” perhaps the best single in Comemé’s history. Paz expertly filters equal parts boogaloo, liquid bass, and, well, house, into a rim-shattering flat-footed beast. No other dance track this year came with the same combination of funk, sophistication, and infectiousness. This song’s so good you’ll want to pair it with your 3 a.m. carne and your hangover Cheerios. - Andrew Casillas 

009. Empress Of  - “Tristeza” ♫♫♫
With the grace of an icy breath and the gravity of a glacier, Loreley Rodriguez’s “Tristeza” envelopes the moment. The Systems single’s ebbing pools of shimmering synths and plinking samples wash over lullaby-like refrains punctuated by angelic chants and multi-hued oohs, ahhs, and gasps. “Tristeza” is a mystical surrealism rendered in experimental pop—so familiar yet so personal. It’s deferential of its musical and cultural lineages while boldly articulating a singular, new way of being. - Monika Fabian

008. Arcángel - “Sola” 
(feat. De La Ghetto)
The devastating and lavishing “Sola” is the big standout in Sentimiento, Elegancia y Maldad. Teaming up with De La Ghetto, La Maravilla’s affectionate declaration (“Yo voy a a estar contigo ahora/Y no habrá nadie que te aparte de mí”) to a girl undergoing a difficult relationship is exhilarating. “Sola” is an overwhelmingly heartbreaking achievement that gets under your skin—it might be the most wistful track Arcángel has ever written. Over jungle sounds and prime production, “Sola” excels in reggaeton finesse and throbbing beauty. - Enrique Coyotzi

007. Helado Negro  - 
Ilumina Vos” ♫♫♫
The genre-defying virtuoso, standing at the margin of both scientific and supernatural, has revealed boundless creativity and innovation over time. "Ilumina Vos," as material evidence of synthesizing of sound from light, brings out a series of sinusoidal waves, a portion of which remains invisible, potential. The track, like an entire landscape refracted in the eye of the painter, unfolds in a way that brings forth unique visions and impressions, offering the complex point of view of an isolated being, experiencing space, people and objects around him. - Souad Martin-Saoudi 

006. El sueño de la casa propia  - 
Balbina” ♫♫♫
“Balbina” is a poem disguised as a four-minute song. Sustaining this reading of the song isn’t very difficult. When music communes with the space between earth and the sky, a rumination of poetic proportions occurs. This mountainous undertaking by Chilean producer José Manuel Cerda excels in the borrowing, transmutation, and transfixing of the track’s substance. El sueño de la casa propia caresses the heavens on this one. “Balbina” is splendor and it is grandeur. A millennial medley that transcends its digital projections. - Carlos Reyes

005. Julieta Venegas  - “Te Vi”
“Te Vi” is an almost perfect pop song: tender, soulful, and accessible to anyone who’s ever experienced unrequited love. But it’s real power lies in its baroque and complex structure, especially during the wordless ecstasy of the outro, which is as beautiful as anything Julieta’s put to tape since “Lento.” It’s certainly a classic to her oeuvre; an almost comprehensive statement for examining the bittersweet whimsy that’s become Julieta’s calling card. And in time, we might just remember it as Julieta’s single best song. - Andrew Casillas

004. Maria Magdalena  - “CVMC 
(Cada Vez Más Cerca) ♫♫♫
This is one of those bubbling hits (up there with Javiera Mena’s “Luz de Piedra de Luna” or Linda Mirada’s “Secundario”) you simply won’t be able to escape from. María Magdalena’s breakthrough single is pop confection mastery. Impossibly catchy, remarkably memorable and entrancingly addictive, “CVMC (Cada Vez Más Cerca)” marks the Chilean disco diva’s peak. Through glossy synths and enduring hooks, the chanteuse rousingly conveys with her stirring voice the electrifying feeling of growing proximity to a lover. - Enrique Coyotzi 

003. BFlecha  - “B33” ♫♫♫
A romance for the ages, "B33" aims to transcend the world as we know it for the sake of a love that cannot be bound by its borders. With its talk of powering up a thousand reactors and working through complex equations to cross into the fourth dimension, this might be the nerdiest song of the year, but it's also one of the sexiest. BFlecha's relaxed vocals ride the beat with such ease and quiet confidence, knowing that the song doesn't need a boiling point, just a slow, sultry simmer all the way through. - Blanca Méndez

002. Dënver  - 
“Revista de Gimnasia” ♫♫♫
Pop utopianism, is what comes to mind every time we hear those introductory strings from one of the best songs of 2013. “Revista de gimnasia” is, more than anything else, an invitation to enjoy pure ecstatic pleasure. It's a riot of instant gratification: overwhelming in its scale (banks of violins and chic wind arrangements), unrestrained in its quest for rapture, and lavishly snazzy in its visual portrayal. It’s a paean to the golden days of disco as much as the manifesto of 2010s Chilean disco pop. - Pierre Lestruhaut 

001. Füete Billēte  - “La Trilla 
(Montate Aquí♫♫♫
In a rather peculiar turn of events, it turns out we’ve been listening to the best song of the year since January. Füete Billēte's function to “bring explicit rap back to Puerto Rico” encountered a feverish, grandeur scope with “La Trilla.” More than the quintessential pussy-popping hit and bro anthem of the year, “La Trilla” is a triumph of whimsical invention. “When those introductory notes enter on “WXYZ,” it’s impossible to stifle a smile or hide your excitement for what you know it’s coming next,” aptly expressed Pierre Lestruhaut during our group evaluation of Música de Capsulón. Rendered in sun-kissed drops, Füete Billēte is alternately sympathetic and critical of the fantasy realm of hip hop music. They subscribe to compact, weirdly witty transactions that embrace and humanize the continual thought of rappers as social fuck-ups. Instead, they unveil their urges into the foreground, breaking any lyrical and medium confinement on their way. “Mami montate aquí, vamo a doblar trilla,” croons the chorus as they sanctify a night of drugs, sex, and chamomile. More than a remedied, sentimental track to fill the vacancy of quality urban music in the region, “La Trilla” is a provocation turned tour-de-force. An eventful track that excels in scope, structure, and execution –songcraft that’s defiant of the zeitgeist, disproportionately yearning, and devastatingly beautiful. - Carlos Reyes



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