K-pop is a mixture of sounds found in all genres around the globe; nothing is too much or too little and it’s all fair game. That’s why we’ll often see songs with middle eastern sounds or Bollywood-like disco in some of our favorite hits. And for this week’s Playlist Sunday we picked a particular theme that encompases many genres from several regions: Latin America. Salsa, trova, merengue, you name it, K-pop’s tried it. Here are some of our picks that have Latin flavor.
Super Junior‘s 2014 comeback song Mamacita is the epitome of Latin-infused K-pop. Super Junior acts out a Western-themed cops-and-robbers mini-movie that is a bit analogous with the title and style of the song, but the smooth Latin beat of Mamacita works. The song’s complex Spanish-infused style is different from many of Super Junior’s pop-dance songs, but still has the catchy hook-chorus and an iconic dance for the ten members to dance. The music video is fun, the song is catchy, the vocals are great. What more is there to ask of Super Junior?
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The opening guitar and trumpet in FT Island’s I Wish immediately tell the listener that the song will have a different sound compared to other K-pop songs. The Latin music is used throughout the song and perfectly fit the style and feel of it. The pop/rock song utilizes the trumpet and acoustic guitar for a softer beginning of the song. After the chorus, which uses the rock sound, the music calms down and again uses the trumpet until the chorus comes back around. The Latin flare mixed with FT Island’s pop/rock sound creates an appealing song to listen to and sing along to.
In the wake of Stellar’s semi-success with the controversial video for Marionette, many girl groups tried to recreate that magic. It was 4L who pushed this to the limit. The video for their song Move was not only a complete jack of Marionette, but was much more explicit and even included some lesbian scenes. Unnecessary lesbians aside, the song was actually great. It’s a surprisingly classy slice of tango pop. Guitars and accordion are the main melodies of the song and make for a steamy but sensual three and a half minutes.
Despite the Latin American sounds dissipating once the singing starts, the opening of MBLAQ’s Oh Yeah is lead by a trova guitar riff that sets the tone for the flavorful song. Once Mir begins rapping, the guitar turns into a synth, but still playing the same notes. And while that might have been the only glimpse at a Latin American sound influence, Oh Yeah is a song you feel at the hips and chest, much like many other Latin genres. And who better to dance to a song like this than MBLAQ, a performance group formed under the representation of sex in human form Rain?
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SHINee‘s Señorita is one of my guilty pleasure songs. Key starts off the song speaking Spanish saying, “Damas y caballeros, amigo baila conmigo. Somos SHINee!” which means, “Ladies and gentleman, my friend dance with me, we are SHINee!” The song has a very catchy chorus and the boys sound very sexy saying “Señorita.” The song has a guitar that plays rhythms that are usually heard in Latin music and are very subtle in SHINee’s song. Their vocals are stunning as usual, making it one of my favorites songs from the group’s early days.
What are some of your favorite Latin style K-pop songs? Share your picks in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.