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10 Best Latin Albums of the Year

Inventive sounds by Pitbull, Ibeyi and more

Latin Albums

Illustration by Ryan Casey

2015 was a year of Latin fusion. Pitbull's bilingual joyride Dale triumphed the Latin Top 40, while Natalia Lafourcade raked in five Latin Grammys with her huapango-infused balladry. Long-time electro-cumbia favorites Bomba Estéreo signed to major label powerhouse Sony Latin, while Afro-Cuban chanteuses Ibeyi made unprecedented moves as a breakout act. Latin music, in all its colorful, multi-faceted splendor, has never been so eclectic, and so incredibly strong. Here are the best sounds from Latin America — and its various diasporas — in 2015.

Bomba Estéreo, 'Amanecer'
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Bomba Estéreo, ‘Amanecer’

Colombian electro-cumbia duo Bomba Estéreo ramp up the bass tenfold on their major label debut, delivering an electrifying, Latin-pop wake-up call. A vast departure from the introspective, lounge-y feel of 2013's Elegancia Tropical, vocalist Li Saumet gets raunchy as ever on "Caderas" before rocking gently towards eternal commitment to the undulating reggaeton of "Somos Dos." Saumet's intimations of love exude more eroticism than any of the jaunty, hip-grinding club hits that Bomba's known for, though lead single "Fiesta" is a sweaty highlight, holding its own as a dubstep and kwaito-infused Carnaval banger. Saumet indulges her tender side with an entrancing whistle in "To My Love," and crests with indigenous pride in the bare-bones folk ballad "Raíz." By record's end, the Santa Marta party girl has metamorphosed into a warm-hearted earth mother. S.E.

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