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The King of Bachata turns 42: Here are 20 of his top songs in celebration

By Giselle Medina | 21 July 2023

I grew up listening to the bachata group Aventura on the radio and waking up on Sunday mornings to my mom blasting her cleaning music. Even though I hated waking up to it, bachata swiftly consumed my heart with Aventura’s 2002 album “We Broke The Rules,” a catalyst to my obsesión with Latin music.

But I’d be fake not to admit that when they broke up in 2011 my heart also broke a little (for reference I was 12). In May of that same year, The Bronx native released “You,” his first single off his debut single album Formula, Vol. 1. Since then, he has released a total of five albums, collaborating with various artists, including Usher, Drake, Rosalía, Mark Anthony, Frank Reyes, and Raulin Rodriguez. He recently performed at Citi Field in Queens, New York in June - making history as the first Latin act to sell out the baseball stadium.

With it being the sensual bachata singer’s 42nd birthday, here are my top three songs from each of his solo albums - including some of his best collaborations outside of his own albums.

Fórmula, Vol. 1 (2012)

Quick Note: This is my favorite album from Romeo Santos. It’s an album that has no skips, including an intro track skit with George Lopez.

1. “Llevame Contigo” (Take Me With You)

The track starts with a quick bongo and guitar combination, then the smoothness of ‘Hey, escucha las palabras de Romeo’ (Translation: Hey, listen to the words of Romeo) enters. This is one of the many love songs off the 20-track album describing wanting to always be with his significant other - basically begging her to take him to whatever her destination is.

2. “Mi Santa” featuring Tomatito (My Saint)

Bachata is known for its repetitive beat that’s accompanied by a 4-step dance. To mix it up, some bacheteros slow it down to just a simple sway - it’s one of my favorite things when listening or dancing to bachata. It takes 53 seconds for the guitar to pick up and the dance beat to start. These 53 seconds are what make the song so much more romantic; the verses are sung in such an intimate way that deepens the meaning of each lyric.

3. “Debate De 4” featuring Anthony Santos, Luis Vargas and Raulin Rodriguez (Duel of 4)

‘Only a king can make this happen,’ sings Romeo Santos to start a song featuring three influential bacheteros of the genre. With four great voices on this track, each verse is passed effortlessly, making you listen intently for which bachetero to root for.

Fórmula, Vol. 2 (2014)

1. “Cancioncitas de Amor” (Little Songs of Love)

This is the heartbreak anthem of this album. On this track, Romeo Santos is no longer a hopeless-and-obsessed romantic, but someone who doesn’t believe in love nor wants to hear a love song. It gives off the same vibes as “Dile al Amor” (Tell Love) from the 2009 ‘The Last’ Aventura album. Like the latter, “Cancioncitas de Amor” highlights Romeo’s raw vocals.

2. “7 Dias” (7 Days)

And we’re back to hopeless-and-obsessed, romantic Romeo. ‘All I need is seven days boo,’ he sings, affirming a week is enough to show that love can be fast and eternal. It shows the intense devotion Romeo has to the person he’s in love with. It can make anyone fall for Romeo’s sultry and velvety voice.

3. “Eres Mia” (You’re Mine)

Cue in the toxic king. The song centers around him being bitter that his ex is marrying someone else. In the chorus he sings, ‘No te asombres / Si una noche / Entro a tu cuarto y nuevamente te hago mía’ (Translation: Do not be surprised if one night / I walk to your room and make you mine again). It’s sung so sweetly you almost miss the f*boy energy.

Golden (2017)

Quick Note: This album was a shift from Romeo Santos’ normal sound/theme. Yes, he still had themes of love and heartbreak but there was more of an “I don’t care what people think” attitude and more experimentation with reggaetón.

1. “El Papel Part 2” (Versión Marido) (The Paper Part 2, Husband’s Version)

The sister song of “El Papel Part 1 (Versión Amante)” (The Paper Part 1, Lover’s Version). Both address the same situation from drastically opposing perspectives - the perspective of the woman’s lover and her husband’s. It’s something different that Romeo hasn’t done before and ties in so well with the vibe of this album.

2. “Bella y Sensual” featuring Daddy Yankee and Nicky Jam (Beautiful and Sensual)

The reggaetón track I had been waiting for! This continues his experimental theme and having two leading reggaetón artists (like Daddy Yankee, “The Big Boss”?? Legendary) on the song was the best vibe for “Bella y Sensual”. This is for sure the “Golden Combination”.

3. “Sin Filtro” (No Filter)

The last track of the ‘Golden’ album ties everything together. It can be best described as a 3-minute-I-do-what-I-want rant that is such an energy boost when singing/rapping at the top of your lungs. Romeo puts on blast almost every piece of criticism he has received from his success to his sexuality.

Utopia (2019)

1. “Inmortal” (Aventura)

It took a decade, but finally, in 2019 Aventura reunited for this song which in my mind was teased during Romeo’s verse in Ozuna’s “El Farsante” (see below). It brought me back and as he sings in “Inmortal,” ‘It’s like we never left’.

2. “Payasos” featuring Frank Reyes (Clowns)

It’s a collaboration with the Dominican bachatero Frank Reyes following in the footsteps of Reyes’ tropical musical stylings. Like its title, the story behind this song surrounds lovers being like clowns in a circus of love knowing their love won't be a success, but still dreaming that it’ll last.

3. “Canalla” featuring El Chaval de la Bachata (Scoundrel)

This track also collaborates with the Dominican bachatero El Chaval de la Bachata. The tables are turned here and Romeo is not the toxic one. This song depicts a selfish relationship but Romeo is still drawn to her, despite her actions. Like in “Cancioncitas de Amor,” Romeo’s vocals here are raw, but full of anger to amplify his dilemma.

Fórmula, Vol. 3 (2022)

1. “Solo Conmigo” (Only with Me)

“Solo Conmigo” has to be one of Romeo’s most sensual songs. At this point, it isn’t hard for him to explicitly state his place in his significant other’s life. And when the NSFW music video came out, it was also to announce his fourth child.

2. “Me Extrano” featuring Christian Nodál

Bye bye King of Bachata, hello Romeo el Ranchero. On this track, he joins Mexican singer Christian Nodál in a song about love and regrets. What’s amazing about this song is the handoff after each verse, almost as if the duo is speaking to each other.

3. “El Pañuelo” featuring Rosalía (The Handkerchief)

Rosalía has such a distinct raspy yet smooth voice that goes so well alongside Romeo Santo’s sensual one. It’s a gorgeous mix of flamenco and bachata that has this track on replay.

Other Collaborations

1. “Frío, Frío” (En Vivo Estadio Olímpico De República Dominicana/2012) by Juan Luis Guerra 4.40 (Cold, Cold)

Imagine being at a concert enjoying one of your favorite singers, singing one of his hits, then midway your other favorite singer comes out to make it a duet. The live version of this occurrence is the best one to listen to. The energy from the audience is all-consuming, almost making you feel like you’re there.

2. “Ella Quiere Beber” by Anuel AA, 2018 (She Wants to Drink)

Romeo Santos might be the King of Bachata, but he will always finesse a reggaetón track. On its own, the track was infectious but the inclusion of Romeo’s sensual tone amplified it.

3. “Loco” by Enrique Iglesias, 2014 (Crazy)

A simple ballad for the two heartthrobs. The somber bachata is a slower tune that leaves room for the emotional vocals to shine through by both artists.

4. “El Farsante” by Ozuna, 2018 (The Faker)

Romeo joins the Puerto Rican singer for a remix of this heart-wrenching Latin R&B. Romeo also starts the song and during the end of the pre-chorus he sings, ‘¡No!, escúchame esta pena que siento / Voy a hacer otro disco con Aventura y te lo dedico enterito’ (No, listen to the pity that I feel / I’m going to make another album with Aventura and I dedicate it entirely to you). This song was released in 2018 and a year later “Inmortal” by Aventura was released, coincidence? I think not. Romeo was hinting at their revival.

5. “Me Voy” by Hector Acosta “El Torito”, 2008 (I’m Leaving)

Romeo Santos joins bachetero and merenguero Hector Acosta “El Torito” for his 2008 album Mitad, Mitad (Half, Half). Though leaning more into Acosta’s tropical musical stylings, Romeo still brings his own flair with his sultry voice.

As George Lopez said in his intro for Fórmula, Vol. 1, “You got the formula, they can never have the formula because they don’t live like you live and they don’t know what you know. And they are not the King of Bachata.”


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