calibre 50

Hay mucha intriga on one of the Mexican charts this week, the secondary one that measures radio spins rather than total audience. It seems La Trakalosa de Monterrey, given to illustrating their humdrum power ballads with dramatic eight-minute videos starring the expressive face of frontman Edwin Luna, have undergone a dramatic name change: they’re now Edwin Luna y La Trakalosa de Monterrey. Wham!

The principles of detection and/or YouTube rabbit holes tell me this revolution began a month ago, with Trakalosa’s humdrum “Pa’ Quitarle Las Ganas.” You’d could easily have missed the name change, which only appeared in the opening credits. With the new humdrum chart single “Pregúntale,” though, the situation comes to a head. As the video starts, the words “Edwin Luna” seem to flash across that expressive face every few seconds: not only is Luna gradually extricating his name from his group’s, he cowrote the song and stars in the video, and receives credit for each task.

As you’d expect from the guys who used their single “La Revancha” to film a mini-novela about crime, fate, and revenge, “Pregúntale” is no ordinary video. This otherwise simple, “Break Up With Him”-style song transforms into a Very Important Message about Not Mistreating Women — can’t argue with that — through the Magic Of Acting. Throughout the video, Edwin Luna points his pained and uncomfortable face at the woman for whom he pines as she gets pushed around by her boyfriend, Luna’s boss. The woman in question, sobbing, flashes back to their schooldays when Luna used to wear attractive red-framed glasses, but she keeps coming back to the abusive boss. Edwin Luna then points his pained and uncomfortable face at us. I, for one, felt pained and uncomfortable.

So keep an eye out for the inevitable Edwin Luna solo career or — who knows? — the Edwin Luna sitcom/Lifetime drama/Oscar nomination. In the meantime, enjoy some of the less Very Important pleasures the Mexican charts have to offer:

J. Balvin’s reggaeton smash “Ginza” has hit #1 on both the U.S. Hot Latin chart and the Mexican “General” chart, and it’s apparently huge enough to have earned norteño radio play in Mexico — enough that it’s #16 this week, sandwiched between Regulo Caro and Banda Pequeños Muiscal. In almost a year of following this particular chart, this is the first time I’ve seen it host a non-regional song, with the possible exception of that one by SuenaTron, which I assure you was a band and not a vile accordion-wielding overlord.

New songs this week include previous Picks to Click by Chuy Lizárraga and El Komander. (Komander’s better.) This week’s Pick to Click is Calibre 50’s new single “La Gripa.” Is this big dumb cumbia repetitive? Yes. Does it repeat itself? Yes. Does Calibre 50 keep singing the same thing over and over? Yes. Just when you think they’ve repeated the chorus phrase all the times they’re going to repeat it, do they repeat it several more times? Yes. BUT! Tubist Alex Gaxiola gets in some wicked syncopated jabs, and the whole rhythm section adds up to a sound much thicker than expected. This is especially heartening given the anemic state of Calibre’s recent ballads, both of which were wildly popular in both our nations. My mystification, like the chorus of “La Gripa,” continues.

These are the Top 20 “Popular” songs in Mexico, as measured by monitorLATINO. Don’t confuse “Popular” with the “General” list, which contains many of the same songs but also “Locked Away,” “Can’t Feel My Face,” Calvin Harris/Disciples’ “How Deep Is Your Love” (#3!), and a bilingual alt-rock power ballad by Río Roma that uses the same rhythmic attack as Snow Patrol or bad praise music: strum-strum-strum-strum-strum-strum-strum-strum, straight 8th notes into eternity.

1. “La Miel de Su Saliva” – Banda El Recodo
2. “El Viejon” – La Adictiva Banda San Jose
3. “¿Y Qué Ha Sido De Ti?” – Chuy Lizárraga
4. “Piénsalo” – Banda MS
5. “Te Cambio El Domicilio” – Banda Carnaval
6. “La Peda” – Banda Los Recoditos
7. “Pongámonos de Acuerdo” – Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda
8. “Típico Clásico” – Luis Antonio Lopez “El Mimoso”
9. “Por Que Me Ilusionaste” – Remmy Valenzuela
10. “La Gripa” – Calibre 50

11. “Hoy Toca” – Alfredo Ríos El Komander
12. “Mi Niña Adorada” – Saul “El Jaguar”
13. “Ya Te Perdi La Fe” – Arrolladora
14. “Besos Nuevos” – El Bebeto
15. “Soltero Disponible” – Regulo Caro
16. “Ginza” – J. Balvin
17. “Perdón” – Banda Pequeños Musical
18. “Memorias de un Idiota” – Claudio Alcaraz
19. “El Patrón” – La Bandononona Clave Nueva de Max Peraza
20. “Me Interesas” – Noel Torres

“Aunque Ahora Estés Con Él” – Calibre 50
“Para Qué Pides Perdón” – La Arrolladora Banda El Limón
“La Revancha” – Banda La Trakalosa
“Sin Esencia” – Espinoza Paz
“Amor de la Vida Alegre” – Marco A. Flores y Su Numero Uno Banda Jerez
“Me Interesa” – El Komander
“Por Qué Terminamos” – Gerardo Ortiz
“Ya No Soy El Mandadero” – Fidel Rueda
“Después de Ti ¿Quién?” – La Adictiva Banda San Jose