iTunes Latino’s Top Sellers of 2008: Flex, Juanes and My Beloved Luismi

I’m a sucker for year-end lists. As redundant as they often are, it’s still fun to read other people’s rankings of all the cultural highs and lows of the past 12 months–and it’s even more fun to analyze/disagree with them!

So the first thing I noticed when iTunes released its numbers for 2008 today is that A) My least favorite band in the entire world, Coldplay, had the best selling album this year, with their very faux-Latin sounding Viva La Vida. Feel free to disagree with me in the comments, but in my opinion this is a most undeserved accolade. Who’s buying this crap?!

On to B: There are zero Latin artists on the list! What a shame. Being the pesky audiophiliac I am, I immediately hit up the folks at iTunes Latino to get our numbers, and they were quick to send me this link with all the rankings. Now let’s break this baby down.

For starters, the top-selling single of ‘08 is, tragically, “Te Quiero,” a reggaeton love song (is there any other kind of reggaeton song these days?) by the panameño known as Flex* (pictured above). This, plus the presence of either Wisin, Yandel or Wisin & Yandel four times in the top 15, proves that the only way to approach reggaeton and be commercially successful nowadays is to treat your song’s lyrics as Ne-Yo would, and just romance the hell out of us ladies. Recounting life en el barrio or providing social commentary just won’t do.

The top-selling albums of the year are Juanes’ La Vida…Es Un Ratico and Luis Miguel’s Complices. You might expect me to complain about this, too, but I actually had such a huge crush on Luismi as a tween, that I once waited outside the back entrance of Radio City Music Hall for a full hour after his concert, just to catch a closer glimpse of the man himself. When I finally did, I cried happy tears. I can’t believe I’m confessing that but it’s true.

More reactions: I wish there were more female artists included. I’m super psyched to see Angel y Khriz included on the Best New Artist list, because I think they’re the future of reggaeton. And I love that Manu Chao’s Radiolina and Julieta Venegas’ Unplugged are the #5 and #6 top selling albums–very promising for Latin alternative acts! Maybe one day we can even come up with a better genre name for them.

My personal fave albums of the year are Calle 13’s Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo, Monte Negro’s Cicatrix and…wait a minute! I’m not going to give it all away just yet. Come back for my fully fleshed out list of the Top Songs and Albums of 2008, and start making your own list, too. Heck, make a list of the worst ones. I’m all ears.

*Only in the U.S. Outside of the States, Flex is known as the N-word, a fact that continues to boggle my mind.

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