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I don't know appreciably more about the state or history of Latin pop than I did a couple months ago when I came back from Puerto Rico feeling curious. But I've found some things I like. Here, if you're curious about my curiosity, is a short summary so far:  

(follow along in my Latin Intro iMix if you're iTunes inclined...)  
 

1-3. Belinda: "Lo Siento (I'm Sorry)" from Belinda, "Bella Traición" & "¿Quién Es Feliz?" from Utopía  

Shameless teen-pop, but either the language disarms me somehow (they can't pander to you half as easily if you don't know what they're saying), or else the production is just far enough behind the domestic state of the art to sound like somebody actually loves what they're invoking, or else it's just catchy and for once I'm not overthinking it. (Or I'm over-overthinking it...)  

4-5. David Bisbal: "Silencio" & "Torre de Babel (Reggaeton Mix)" from Premonición  

Big and sentimental and soaring, but I like Meat Loaf in English, so I can't blame this on the language. Reggaeton is definitively tedious (a whole genre based on 4 bars from one song!?), but used sparingly as a cross-genre remix-affectation its twitchy insistence hasn't totally alienated me yet.  

6-7. Ha-Ash: "Me Entrego a Ti" & "Ya No" from Mundos Opuestos  

Mexican pop-country? It's like Shania Twain for the other border. "Ya No" tosses in a little quasi-hip-hop reggaetonality, just in case there weren't enough elements already. The iTunes "partial album" inexplicably includes everything except "Pobre Diabla", which is actually my favorite track on the album.  

8-9. La 5a Estación: "El Sol No Regresa" from Flores De Alquiler & "Tu Peor Error" from El Mundo Se Equivoca  

A Mexican T'Pau! Or, actually, a Spanish T'Pau transplanted to Mexico City, but whatever. Florid and electrifying. Both albums are terrific, the first a little less self-conscious about it.  

10-11. LU: "La Vida Despues de Ti" & "Maria" from Album  

Quivery balladry, but then, I like the slow Roxette songs, too.  

12-13. Lucybell: "Eternidad" & "A Perderse" from Comiendo Fuego  

Alternately menacing and bouncy Chilean semi-goth, like a version of HIM from a hemisphere where they haven't perfected mascara or slow-motion yet.  

14-15. Osé: "Serás" & "No Digas" from Serás  

Kinda like boy-band refugees trying to prove that they can actually play instruments and write songs themselves. But succeeding, I think.  

16-17. Reik: "Invierno" & "De Que Sirve" from Secuencia  

Kinda like boy-band non-refugees not trying to prove much beyond the power of the supermodel-macho pout as a vocal timbre. But succeeding, I think.  

18-20. Shakira: "Te Dejo Madrid" from Laundry Service, "La Tortura" from Fijación Oral Vol. 1 and "Don't Bother" from Oral Fixation Vol. 2  

Giving in to Shakira is what really got this started, for me. I liked "Te Dejo Madrid" already, but thought of it as an anomaly. She was playing a show in San Juan the night we were flipping channels on our hotel TV, though, and one of the Puerto Rican music-video stations (which are so primitive they still show music) was broadcasting every third or fourth song. She performs like it matters. Like her music matters, and language matters, and bridging cultures matters, and even her abdomen matters. Like she heard Madonna, Tori Amos and Alanis Morissette and understood not only where they intersect, but where they negate each other and leave a hole.
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