Club Fonograma's Best Songs of 2014 (50-26)


050. Cohoba - “Know 1
The brains behind Whitest Taino Alive’s most memorable beats, Dominican-born, London-trained producer Cohoba delivers a mini-epic of pounding space-electro. Reminiscent of the late-oughts purple funk of Joker, mixed with a little Arca, the result wouldn’t sound out of place on Yeezus. This is music for the late Fridays blending into late Saturdays. Windows down, sunglasses up, watching the world burn. Stay trill. - Andrew Casillas



049. Univers - 
Travessant la llum del sol
A nine track album that unfolded with no stops and re-triggered our obsession with noise, L'estat Natural secured a place on our list long ago. But how to single out any one song as a superior example? Siding with sheer momentum, "Travessant la llum del sol" takes the prize by outpacing all other tracks. No matter how many repeats, there's still more light on the horizon to chase. - Giovanni Guillén





048. Las Ligas MenoresTema 7
Nostalgia is engraved in the storytelling of Argentina. Particularly imusic, where young generations have adopted this pattern to spice up their own portraits. Las Ligas Menores have crafted a fight-your-own-demons type of song with "Tema 7." This is a song about those times we've desired for winter to arrive. The lyrics of "Tema 7" express more than we can understand, easily transitioning from a bleak and naive song, to becoming a hopeful anthem. Don't let the sweet voice fool you, this is a rock soft song for the road, one with plenty of prospects on its commune. - Jeziel Jovel



047. Kali UchisKnow what I want
If the first single off of the Colombian American Kali Uchis upcoming Por Vida EP reminds us of languorous sixties southern soul and early ska as much as modern R&B, it’s that the multifaceted songstress has shaped an impeccable marriage of styles and eras, which is more a tribute than a nostalgic trip. Kali has soul to spare and a sultry timber as warm as a brass, but it’s her irreverent and iconoclastic character ("All up, in my phone/Boy leave, it alone/And I'm learning, now I know/Should have left your ass in the friend zone") that sets her apart. - Souad Martin-Saoudi



046. Los PunsetesMe gusta 
que me pegues
LPIV was another accomplished, even mature, record for Los Punsetes. Yet how great that its lead single just wanted to delve into kawaii masochism. "Me gusta que me pegues" carries the runtime of three Tekken rounds and throws in the attitude and cheekiness of the game's characters (well, maybe not Jack). Its brazen, saw-like guitars don't just settle for blunt trauma, they want to desecrate and linger way after the two minute mark. - Giovanni Guillén



045. C. Tangana feat. 
AlizzzTrouble
Ever since we heard Kongo Lacosta’s dynamic verses in “Champagne”, we figured out Alizzz’s best next tracks would be the ones that featured a guest vocalist. It’s 2014: add Agorazein founding member C. Tangana to the equation and you obtain a hell of a collaboration. During the first two minutes, the MC practically remains hidden under Alizzz’s outstanding production. It isn’t until the 2 minute mark hits that Tangana displays his notable rapping abilities, assuming his place in the foreground and injecting alluring cadency to the track. - Enrique Coyotzi



044. Becky GShower
The premise of the song might seem tired, but "Shower" is just as fresh as the California teen pop star who gives it life. Especially when the young rapper-singer is probably experiencing these giddy, can't stop smiling, fireworks feelings for the first time. The children's choir chorus shouldn't work but it does and somehow propels it to Song of Summer status with its carefree innocence. Even though Becky G is pretty swaggy, you can hear the excitement of a crush texting you in the bouncy verses. It feels real and sweet and you totally get it when Becky G says "baby, you make me hot like an oven" because you were a teenager once, too. - Blanca Méndez




043. Las Hermanas“IV
In the great tradition of the late J Dilla, Diego Cuéllar, the mastermind behind Las Hermanas, borrows unforeseen samples in order to create some truly elegant instrumental hip hop. “IV” is curiously crafted. The first part is built around them lush samples, a comfortable rhythm base and a sedative piano score. One minute left, the track (and mood) changes completely. Adding some distant brass samples and acoustic guitar strings, the segmentation of “IV” allows it to morph into a totally different thing. - Enrique Coyotzi



042. Las Chaquetas Amarillas 
Mujer Bonita
Seriously, Cristóbal Briceño is like that kid in school that’s good at every sport and we all want in our team (he's made this list with three different bands already!). “Mujer Bonita” is Briceño at his finest. Not only does he gives us great relationship advise “mujer bonita, igual problemas,” but provides us with one of the best rhythm shifts of the year (yeah that moment clicking at 3:50), a seamless transition that obeys the laws of entropy transforming into a controlled chaotic chorus that just wouldn't settle for b-side track. - Ricardo Reyes



041. BB JohnsonConte$to
Back in early 2013, CF, under the visionary pen of Adrian Mata Anaya, predicted the rise of reggaeton reworks. The prophecy has finally fulfilled itself, thanks to BB Johnson, member of Boricua hip hop outfit Füete Billëte. The MC with the reggaeton-esque flow (and producer) cultivates since spring a stylistic offshoot he calls trapeton, trading the standard Dem Bow for elements of trap, cosmic synth lines and distorted robotic voices. BB’s "Conte$to" (the re-crafting of Plan B’s classic) is the obvious standout of the crop. - Souad Martin-Saoudi



040. Helado NegroAre I Here
Even if it’s just for a tiny portion, Roberto Carlos Lange keeps refining his emblematic formula in every of his albums. With “Are I Here”, Lange echoes SNES-like melodic space, combining English and Spanish, and excelling in compositional beauty in a pretty soothing piece where it becomes imposssible not to be hypnotized. Double Youth put in motion once again the never-stopping creative brain of Helado Negro, and “Are I Here” was the evident standout. Keep 'em tunes coming. - Enrique Coyotzi




039. Princess NokiaDragons
On her excellent Metallic Butterfly, Princess Nokia navigated through batucada and rave beats while trying to achieve a higher state of being (not to mention empower her listeners). That doesn't make "Dragons" an anomaly, on the contrary, it drives home the point that love should be shared. Recycling classic themes of love don't cost a thing, she assures her partner that fake bling is good enough to feel regal. A song to crush to, to cuff to, and write fantasy fiction to. Fuck "Fancy." - Giovanni Guillén



038. Mujercitas Terror “Promesas
When it comes to your usual brand of bare-bones post-punk or garage influenced acts, there’s always a lot of discussion centered around distortion, aggression and abrasiveness, and not that much recognition towards the importance of having some freakin’ melodic substance to it. Mujercitas Terror have always had plenty of that to give away, and “Promesas” was another top-notch tune from the Argentine trio. It's the confirmation of Mujercitas as rightful heirs to both the melodic essence of Argentine psychedelia and the distorted beauty of some British post-punk. - Pierre Lestruhaut


037. Mujeres “Aquellos Ojos
We were not used to hear Mujeres sing in Spanish, not in a recording at least, but their latest EP is exclusively made up of songs with Spanish lyrics and let me tell you that they don’t lose any of their particularities with this change. In fact, they excel pretty much everything. “Aquellos Ojos” is a garage ballad sung with broken voices by brokenhearted men, their shirts stained by booze -or so say the very cinematographic lyrics - or don’t you picture the saloon-like image in your head too? - Glòria Guso



036. Ases Falsos
“Yo no quiero volver
More songs exist right now at the end of 2014 than have ever existed before as curious listeners can experience the freedom and bliss of discovery. This is the case with the ambitious "Yo No Quiero Volver." It feels like Cristobal Briceño watched the 9pm news and wrote a song right after. The track starts off with a storyteller-Cristobal directly targeting entrepreneurs and dark characters and references of our history. The track's changes of pace in the final minutes; a more coherent, soulful Briceño connects a spiritual experience of unsparing sentimentality. - Pablo Acuña



035. MKRNI“Inercia
Let’s just get it out of the way. No, MKRNI have not replciated the levels of dancefloor awesomeness from their 2011 smash hit “Humedad,” but then again, it doesn't seem like they were really aiming for that in 2014.The greatest among the trio’s recent collection of canciones was another 80's fetishizing pop number with a kick-ass intro synth line, but that actually makes you feel like Anthony Gonzalez’s voice is gonna pop up somewhere. It’s a gorgeous prom night slow jam that they’re self-conscious enough to name “Inercia.” Maybe time really is a flat circle. - Pierre Lestruhaut



034. La Lá - “Animales
One of the most beautiful tracks ever featured on a Club Fonograma compilation, “Animales” offers proof that sometimes less is more. Armed solely with a sputtering acoustic guitar and a marvelous voice, Peruvian newcomer La Lá weaves a tapestry of romantic tension increasingly rare in modern singer-songwriter pop. Listen to how the vocals anguish over the verses, while rising confidently during the chorus. And the scatting in the last minute? Simply gorgeous. - Andrew Casillas 



033. Sofi de la Torre - “Give up at 2
“I count to ten and gave up at two,” sings a devastated Sofi de la Torre, perhaps the year’s most overlooked breakthrough. First withholding sentiment with her vocal restraint, and then pouring it out at the mercy of the listener, De la Torre opens her heart and saves herself from isolation. A reverbed echo traces her every move, stomping into an inevitable wall in the form of a luscious saxo (or something that resembles it) that nearly raptures. Understated and often struggling to catch her own breath, she fades in and fades out with glorious endearment. - Carlos Reyes




032. Whitest Taino Alive - “Burlao
One can’t really discuss Whitest Taino Alive, much less any Spanish-language rap group, without the inevitable Calle 13 comparison. What made the brothers Perez so special was that they’d remain insanely likeable even when their music was at its filthiest. “Burlao” finds WTA diving headfirst into their collective Id, letting their stream of consciousness spill out via digicode. And everyone fucking loved it. The smoothest rap track of the year from some of the hardest motherfuckers in the game today. - Andrew Casillas





031. Diosque - “Una Naranja
Can you talk about “Una naranja” without mentioning how it gave birth to this masterpiece of a video? Or without acknowledging that it’s actually just another small piece in an even greater masterpiece? This song, or its video, or even Constante if you like, is a collection of South American detritus. Reassembling the typical pensive singing style of most Argentine musicians alongside those larger than life synth melodies, it all eventually comes together when a man dances in a typically decaying Latin American alley while playing a keytar. - Pierre Lestruhaut



030. Tego Calderón“Dando Break
If last year’s “Colabore” had reggaeton enthusiasts surprised by Tego’s decision to take a step back in the beats department (to favor flow), “Dando Break” will have them thinking it’s been rescued from the cradle of the first reggaeton classics. It’s getting near the end of the party and Tego has yet to find himself a shortie. “Si no cae na’ no te frustre” advises a consoling voice of reason. We never truly find out about his quest, but Tego pushes his vocals to the edge of a bridge that never fully unveils a chorus. Somewhat of a tease, it’s also catchy as hell and a tremendously nostalgic way to showcase what’s to come. - Carlos Reyes


029. Planeta No - Señorita
Just when we wondered if there would be a second wave of Chilean pop in the works, newcomers Planeta No stepped to the occasion. Their breakthrough single “Señorita” flickers like a wounding dagger aching to find shelter in the victim’s flesh. Visceral enough for you? Of course this is still pop music, and every column of this track is orchestrated to favor dancing as a form of release. It’s disarming and emotional, a first triumph for a young-blooded act that is already looking up to the Anwandters and Mahans. - Carlos Reyes




028. bbrainz (feat. .CASTING) - 
Home Design
We could easily get away with describing Argentina as a land of songwriters and chord progressionists. Which is why it’s so refreshing to find someone as anti-structural as bbrainz. In “Home Design,” producer Matias Leopoldo digitizes the infrastructure of a household as something dehumanizing and utterly cruel. Feelings that are too deep to contain, and so he steams them out with his own sense of currency. A dystopian track if there ever was one, bbrainz substitutes the lack of a real electronic scene in Argentina with the freedom and luxury offered by digital platforms. - Carlos Reyes



027. Las Hermanas - XII
Nor Google or Shazam were able to assist me in locating the core sampling of Las Hermanas’ hip-hopesque marvel, “XII.” Until one day, while compiling Papasquiaro, my mom stopped for a second to comment on how odd that “DJ remix” of Camilo Sesto’s “Fresa Salvaje” was. “You know, I was never a fan… I was team Leo Dan,” she said. Colombian producer Diego Cuéllar not only triumphs at reconciling generational lapses, he fills the soundscape with the kind of resonance that percolates into someone’s memory and traces back to the heart. - Carlos Reyes



026. Balún - Años Atrás
If Gepe’s “En la naturaleza” was the culmination of Latin folk finally holding hands with dembow, then Balún's "Años Atrás" is Latin electronic music adventurers finally flirting with the much divisive rhythm. Surprising though, it’s that Balún makes music that tends to stand at the opposite of reggaetón (cute, dreamy, introverted), exposing a conceptual rigour that is wholly admirable but not that inviting. But in “Años Atrás” Balún finally adds that touch of Latin flavour to their always sophisticated sonic landscapes to absolutely gratifying results. Shit, Latin America needs more pop musicians who aren’t afraid to experiment is the whole point here. - Pierre Lestruhaut


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