La Poderosa Banda San Juan – El Antes Y El Después (Disa)
The latest moneymaking scheme from lawyer-turned-producer Fernando Camacho — he of La Arrolladora Banda El Limón and Banda MS — has so far failed to overpower radio like their older labelmates, but give ‘em time. Camacho’s got connections, so most of these 12 songs were written by established hitmakers, including three apiece by Espinoza Paz and Horacio Palencia. More importantly, Camacho seems to be lavishing these youngsters with his good taste. Yes, they get drippy, but not Arrolladora drippy, and their singles have been energetic minor key waltzes (“Sigue,” the title song), atypically fiery Paz numbers (“Claro,” “Tengo Novia”), and the OK-yes-drippy but swingin’ “Disculpa Corazón”. The token cumbia “Ponle De Eso” showcases rapid-fire muttering from one of the singers. “Tengo Novia,” previously performed by LOS BuiTRES!, is the best of the bunch, a wicked repeating melody offering up a wicked series of excuses for cheating on one’s novia. (Which is presumably why they also had to offer up the disculpa.)

From the March 19, 2011 Billboard:

“[Camacho] has a very good ear in selecting the songs he records and produces,” Fonovisa/Disa VP of marketing Sergio Perez says. “A great deal of his success has to do with being on the street and seeing what’s happening, versus other officebound executives who aren’t up to speed. This may be because as a promoter he’s forced to be at shows, and he can see firsthand people’s reactions to new musical movements.”

When Camacho took over the running of Arrolladora, one of his main objectives was to make it appealing to a younger audience and to simply make it more popular. He pays special attention to lyrics, aiming for messages that are simple and easy to understand but also appeal to the Mexican sense of pride and honor.

“Songs about betrayal and rejection,” Camacho says. “It’s about talking to the person who did you wrong, who stabbed you in the back. This is very traditional in Mexican music, asking, ‘Why did you do this to me, woman?’ “

Nuance is overrated.

Pequeños Musical – Duele Todavia (Baktun 13/Warner Latina)
Speaking of drippiness, “La Banda Más Romántica de América” have some thoughts they would like to share. You have heard these thoughts before. You’ve probably heard their music, too, even if you’ve never actually heard Pequeños Musical proper: three of these songs start with the same brass riff, a descending melody line — the musical equivalent of broken hearts dripping bloody tears — over sad-eyed circle-of-fifths chord changes. Which might be OK, if they played any songs faster than midtempo, or if their singer didn’t have pitch issues, or if they had a tuba instead of an electric bass. Somehow they scored four Espinoza Paz ballads, which my mind has blocked as it must all traumas and/or moments of excruciating boredom.