marco flores


Three months ago on our Top Singles list, NorteñoBlog was concerned about a lack of chart hits and puro sax music. Worry no more! There’s a bit less variety on this list than before, in part because I devoted the month of agosto to a project that prevented me from trawling for indie singles. (More on that project soon.) But the states of California, Chihuahua, Texas, Tijuana, and Zacatecas all represent below, along with ever-present Sinaloa.

(First quarter singles are here; second quarter singles are here.)

1. Marco A. Flores y Su Numero Uno Banda Jerez“Amor de la Vida Alegre” (Garmex)
Mexican radio hit
Flores, who also made NorteñoBlog’s favorite single six months ago, is like the Ramones with better beats, Rae Sremmurd if they were fast, early Madonna with a better voice. He makes termite art of the most gnawing and forward-thinking sort. He spends half this song crowing over just drums and tuba.

2. Roberto Tapia“No Valoraste”
U.S. radio hit
The waltz beat is stiffer than Tapia’s previous near-perfect singles “Me Enamoré” and “Mirando Al Cielo,” but the beat’s strictures bring out the song’s inherent giddiness, and the high-climbing melody sounds great in his upper range. And by all means watch that video: it’s like Ingmar Bergman shot a novela on the beach using the castoff furniture from Return to Oz. See Tapia and his ex-mujer stalk one another in symbolically opposing color schemes, as they seek cold comfort from an absent God and/or Princess Ozma.

3. Duelo“Veneno” (La Bonita)
U.S. radio hit
A not-at-all-sexist tale of a heartless, icy, poisonous, murdering, dream-killing mujer, and with a killer opening riff. (I can’t be the only one who hears Def Leppard’s “Hysteria.”) Singer Oscar Ivan Trevino regrets the venom flowing through his veins but sounds resolved to suck it out. Don’t try that at home.

4. Banda El Recodo“Mi Vicio Más Grande”
Mexican and U.S. radio hit
Their liveliest song in years, a furious minor-key chops killer about living the good life. The theme is nothing new, but the furious minor-keyness picks up where spinoff band Recoditos left off two years ago with “Mi Último Deseo.” Recodo races through their two-minute time slot with thicker brass and, in Geovanni Mondragón, a less personable singer, though I do admire his trembling vibrato in the chorus, seconds before his bandmates wallop him with a giant hemiola.(This is a Joss Favela/Luciano Luna co-write.)

5. Banda Los Recoditos“La Peda” (Fonovisa)
Mexican radio hit
Another quickie drinking song from the bro-banda, although this time they’re playing two different levels of quickness. Their 2010 song “Ando Bien Pedo” was big everywhere, even topping the U.S. Hot Latin chart, unusually successful for a banda tune. It still gets plenty of Chicago airplay. We’re all basically enabling them at this point.

6. Banda Cuisillos“A Goyo Le Huele El Peyoyo” (Antares)
hasn’t charted
This crazy cumbia remake of Banda Pura Caña’s “Goyo Peyoyo” is a real gas!

7. La Inquietud Norteña“Dimelo” (AGLive)
hasn’t charted
Singer Hugo Avellaneda wails high and clear, puro Zacatecas sax and accordion skate across the song with as little apparent effort as spinning Olympians, and whoever’s playing the polka bass gets his R&B licks in.

8. Adriel Favela“Te Acuerdas de Tu Amiga” (Gerencia 360)
U.S. radio hit
In the swinging dick of a video, golden-throated Favela hangs out with his hot fiancée, a hot nun, and su psicóloga caliente, who has a habit of taking off her glasses and bewitching young Adriel during his sessions. But, bad habits being what they are, he finally wins over the nun, who lets down her hair as they ride together into the roundabout. NorteñoBlog likes to imagine their playful banter as they defrock one another. “Forget your prior engagement — and that’s an order!”

9. Los Salvajes de Chihuahua “Algo de Ti” (Goma)
hasn’t charted
Throws in some additional beats and minor chords where you don’t expect them, and Edgar Estrada sings with an appealing rasp. ¡¡¡PURO CHIHUAHUA PARA SIEMPRE!!!

10. Fidel Rueda“Ya No Soy El Mandadero” (Fonovisa)
Mexican radio hit
Fidel Rueda insists, over speedy banda, that he is not el mandadero, for whom he is sometimes confused by assholes. Rather, la moneda está volteada, y Rueda es él que manda. A furious rebuke and a fine song.

11. Gerardo Ortiz“El Cholo” (DEL)
U.S. radio hit
Accordionist Marito Aguilar is a badass of Randy Rhoads proportions, in that I imagine certain young shredheads — albeit with diametrically opposing hairstyles — buying the CDs of Gerardo Ortiz or Ozzy Osbourne just so they can retire to their bedrooms and dissect the flurries of fingers. Aguilar is the best reason to hear Ortiz’s latest album; given free reign by the star, the studio pro came back with some jaw-dropping chromatic French cafe shit. The drum sound, boomy but articulate, makes me wonder whether someone found a way to mic Luis Navarro’s sticks.

12. Diego Herrera“Fregones Mis Viejos (aka Chingones Mis Viejos)” (Remex)
Mexican radio hit
A tribute to the families who’ve stood behind their famous norteño singing sons. This could have lapsed into sap, but Herrera is a masterful singer who lands each of his many words with precision and dexterity. Plus he uses the word “chingones” over and over. (Since I don’t think Miss Manners has covered it, this Latina article dissects how appropriate the word is for polite company. Opinions vary!)

13. Leandro Ríos“Entre Ella y Tú” (Remex)
Mexican radio hit
The man who gave us the superfun rhyming exercise “Debajo del Sombrero” is now a no-good cheating bastard. But he’s really tortured about being caught “Entre Ella y Tú,” so that’s gotta count for something, right? Oh wait — HE’S NOT TORTURED AT ALL. As long as you’re content with the amount of Leandro you’re getting, what’s the problem? The jaunty accordion gave him away. (This is another Joss Favela/Luciano Luna co-write.)

14. Los Huracanes del Norte“Debajo Del Puente” (Garmex)
Mexican radio hit
A fine swinging waltz with excellent tuba work and craggy vocals.

15. Los Tucanes de Tijuana ft. Código FN“Suena la Banda”
Mexican radio hit
A corrido about the big name bandas who play their fancy parties, where the liquor bottles flow like spit valves and muchachas dangle from arms. How did our hosts get all their money? Don’t ask questions!

Other good ones:
Pitbull ft. Sensato and Osmani Garcia – “El Taxi”
Dan + Shay – “Nothin’ Like You”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee, Grandmaster Caz & Eric Nally – “Downtown”
Robin ft. Elastinen Sanat – “Kipinän Hetki”
Frankie Ballard – “Young and Crazy”
Keith Urban – “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”
iHeart Memphis – “Hit the Quan”
The Weeknd – “Can’t Feel My Face”
Pitbull ft. Mohombi & Wisin – “Baddest Girl In Town”