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Best Songs of 2013

It was hard enough choosing the best music videos of 2013, but now you expect us to choose the best songs, too? You’re getting greedy, readers. Being the hard-working, benevolent little brand that we are, we’ve decided to give you more than just a year-end listicle. So what’s better than a roundup of the 30 best tracks to hit our ears this year? A roundup of the 30 best tracks AND a downloadable playlist of said 30 tracks (well, 27, labels be difficult, yo!). We know, we know, it’s almost too generous. But we’re in the holiday spirit, so for the next 48 hours have your way with 27 of the 30 tracks, the cream of the Hispanic crop.

Every year we try to resist total subjectivity by surveying the general impact of these songs. The best track on this list isn’t the best because it was our “favorite” (we each have our own personal favorites). It’s the best because it represents something about, not only the artist who created it, but the world in which they created it. It’s the track that feels quintessentially 2013. And while some of our personal favorites might have been left out altogether (Café Tacvba’s “Olita de Altamar,” No Fucks’ “Vegetal Tropical,” AJ Dávila’s anything), this list, to us, feels like a geographically wide, mixed-genre-inclusive encapsulation of the year that was.

You can now stream our Best Songs of 2013 on Spotify.

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30. EMPRESS OF / “REALIZE YOU” [USA]

Empress Of Best Songs _

“Tristeza” is Empress Of’s breakout work in 2013 but “Realize You” proved how deep her talent runs. Lorely Rodríguez, the empress who dons the proverbial crown, crafted her own version of a dance club jam with “Realize You.” Hers is a laid-back, unknowingly (and innocently) sexy tune that can stand a few repeat listens. Rodríguez’s tongue-twister lyrics are cleverly employed, lending themselves well to emotional collective chanting (“Crying is a crime because you love to do it all the time,” “Freedom ain’t free if I can’t be free with you,” “Have you been you with you lately because you haven’t been you with me”). – Paola Capó-García

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29. SIETE CATORCE / “DOUBLE VISION” [USA]

Siete Catorce Best Songs _

Siete Catorce – who we boldly dubbed “The Future Sound of Northern Mexico” earlier this year – says he makes dance music that is “to think to at the same time.” In which case, this hypnotic ruidosón track would be what you play post-spliff, when you’re bopping around your room late night, contemplating your mortality. The slow-building song is like a seven layer dip; hazy synth chords are coated with slowed down cumbia snares, sprinkled with a percussive melody, topped with more glitchy beats, and melted with ghostly, warbling notes – the layers building and dropping out as the song progresses. The end result? A tasty track that just might hypnotize you into a food coma. – Andrea Gompf

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28. JACUZZI BOYS / “DOUBLE VISION” [USA]

Jacuzzi Boys Best Songs _

Vocalist Gabriel Alcala explained to Rolling Stone that “Double Vision,” the first single from his band Jacuzzi Boys’ new self-titled LP, was born after a night of creating tequila sunrises (tequila + orange juice + a splash of cherry something). He wasn’t kidding. The song has an incredibly chill vibe of late nights skating past all the bars around Santa Monica pier (or whatever the Miami equivalent is). It sounds a bit similar to all that wonderful psychedelic surf rock that came out of Mexico this year as well. Perhaps there was some unknown psychic connection between them all. Bookmark this track for the good times to come in summer 2014. – Afroxander