Latin Grammy-nominated duo Mau y Ricky released a compact reggaeton-pop missile titled “22” on Friday. It’s the latest single from the Venezuelan brothers, who are slowly building their names as artists after penning songs for Ricky Martin, Thalía and others.
“22” opens with a touch of drama – a brief flourish of notes from violins. Mau y Ricky then build out the track with practiced patience, adding a spindly guitar riff, doubling that on the bass, and finally incorporating a springy, cracking beat. During the hook, the strings return, reinforcing the primary melody to great effect.
Mau y Ricky have released singles roughly once a year since 2011’s “Hoy,” but none of them stuck around. The pair finally cracked the code on 2017’s “Mi Mala,” a pretty swirl of contrasts: A soft acoustic guitar lick rubs against a steely, thunking beat; graceful guest vocals from Karol G counter the husky delivery of Mau y Ricky.
“Mi Mala” wasn’t just an aesthetic success – it turned into the duo’s first hit, reaching Number 44 on the Hot Latin Songs chart. Interestingly, the track also spawned a remix that doubled as a celebration of young female voices in Latin pop’s mainstream, with Becky G, Leslie Grace and Lali joining Karol G on a new version of the track.
“22” has the type of loop-able hook and driving beat that should help it become a hit in its own right. On the charts, Mau y Ricky may forced to compete with themselves: The pair recently co-wrote and co-produced Becky G and Natti Natasha’s “Sin Pajama,” which is currently at Number 6.