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Mix n’ Match: My Favorite Latino Pop/Rock Albums and Iconic English Albums

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The first thing I always hear from friends when I mention my favorite Spanish album or artist is that they want to get into that vast genre of music, they just don’t know where to start. I can understand their fears. Even now I struggle with the gap in my understanding of the Spanish language, so adding meaningful lyrics and complex instrumental backings makes nothing easier for first-time listeners. However, I have a knack for finding similar sounds between bands and albums. So here’s my top five favorite Latino Pop/Rock albums and their iconic English-language counterparts for anyone wanting to explore the Latin American spectrum of music.

  1. Amar es Combatir by Maná & The Color and the Shape by Foo Fighters

With Maná’s soulful Spanish guitar riffs that transform into cathartic heavy rock rhythms by the chorus of their songs, their musical dynamics are hard to match anywhere in the music world. Specifically, this album, with songs like “Bendita tu Luz” that holds a soft bachata vibe and “Arrancame el Corazon” that takes on a fast paced rock-punk hybrid beat totally matches Foo Fighters’ tone. The complex electric guitar riffs of “Everlong” that build into a drumming explosion not only sound similar to the groundbreaking beats of Maná but also hold the same powerful verses of love and loss that align the two albums perfectly. 

  1. Donde Están los Ladrones? by Shakira & Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette

In Shakira’s second studio album, she truly developed her music to the changing dynamics of the pop-rock world that was slowly becoming dominated by soulful female artists. At the time, artists like Sinéad O’Connor, Fiona Apple and especially Morissette, with their raw, unique vocals and lyrics of adolescent heartbreak, heavily influenced and mirrored Shakira’s sound. Still sticking with traditional Latin rhythms, she blends old with new pop-punk drums and guitars in songs like “Ciega Sordomuda.” In more slow, emotional pieces like “Inevitable,” she creates a powerful build-up that sounds similar to “Ironic” by Morissette. These are definitely some of my all time favorite albums from the nineties. 

  1. Un Dia Normal by Juanes & California 37 by Train

Juanes’ album came out during the pinnacle of the 2000s with its poppy love songs and rhythmic rock undertones. Similarly, Train with their rock beats that mix well with coffeehouse love songs like “Drops of Jupiter” or “Soul Sister” are a perfect mirroring for Juanes. Moving into the pop hemisphere but still staying true to Latin roots of cumbia and other styles, he truly created a diverse and musically dynamic album that was a testament to that era of pop. His album is catchy, groovy, and gets an audience moving to an upbeat song that lyrically tells of heartbreak; both groups show their astounding range in these albums. It’s just as hard not to start dancing to songs like “A Dios le Pido” or “Fotografia” as it is for “Drive By.”

  1. Originales 20 Exitos by Soda Stereo & Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me by The Cure

Both bands, with their iconic 80’s sound, complement each other perfectly. Just as The Cure experimented with new wave sounds on the guitars and drums mixing with the classic 80’s synthesizers, so did Soda Stereo. Their song “De Musica Ligera,” one of my favorites because of the catchy beat and powerful political message, matches the upbeat indie rock sounds of “Just Like Heaven” and other famous hits like “Boys Don’t Cry.” It’s hard to stay still listening to either album, so if you enjoy super upbeat indie dance music, these are the albums for you. 

  1. Cuatro Caminos by Café Tacuba & Superclean Vol. 1 by The Marías

Finally, the fifth Latino Pop/Rock match! Ending on a mellow but smooth note of calm music, Cafe Tacuba’s Cuatro Caminos lives up to its name. This album embodies the flowing feelings of love and attraction through cadenced guitar patterns and lazy drum swings. Falling heavily into a soft indie rock with “Eres,” Tacuba matches well with a more contemporary counterpart of The Marías. Especially with their love songs like “Déjate Llevar” and “Basta Ya,” they hold similar moods to Tacuba but have very different vocals that work perfectly for their sound. Although this last one isn’t in English, the match was too good to pass up. This is a perfect opportunity for listeners to jump into the Latino waves of current indie rock — a whole new and exciting spectrum that continues to evolve everyday.

Mia Huerta

Kenyon '25

Mia is a sophomore and a writer for Her Campus. She is from the suburbs of Chicago, IL and is majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing. In her free time she enjoys playing guitar, reading, baking sweet desserts, and discovering new music.
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