If there’s one thing NorteñoBlog loves, it’s a nasty kiss-off delivered with borderline psychotic cheer. If there’s another thing, it’s a pop song brassed up with a banda or mariachi chart. This week’s Pick to Click is both. La Rumorosa is the nombre de electro-polka of María Inés Ochoa, a Mexican singer with a thick alto and a mile-wide vibrato she deploys at dramatic moments. And make no mistake: every La Rumorosa song contains dramatic moments. Last year’s album Lamento (Espiral) has its intermittent moments of fun, too; but they’re not quite as fun as her new single “Todo Lo Que Merezcas.”
It’s a cover of a song by Spanish indie rocker Xoel López (what does the idea of an “indie label” even mean in Spain?), a song that wishes karmic justice upon someone who did the singer wrong. Neither López nor Rumorosa specifies what this cad did, but whatever the deed, it earned the doer some delicious curses. Rumorosa wishes they would lose all their air, drown in the silence, and cry every day; that their days would be filled with an infinite desert. (Maybe the perpetrator will wake up inside a Buñuel movie.) She belts all this in commanding ranchera fashion, over a jaunty accordion/brass polka, with a tuba-based rhythm section that sounds hopped up on lollipops. There’s even a synth solo fanfare in the middle. Honestly, before I ran the lyrics through Sr. Translator I thought this was the happiest song on earth.
La Rumorosa’s next album Yo Por Amor drops sometime in May. Pray do not cross her.
Earlier this year when I was telling you to listen to “Te Tengo Que Cortar” by Los Rodriguez de Sinaloa, I completely missed their December single “El Gatillo” (Arpa). I could apologize for this oversight, or I could just do what the narrator of “El Gatillo” does: keep on perpetrating my crimes, but resolve to someday confess them to a priest and receive forgiveness, because confession doesn’t cost anything. There’s only one difference — the finger-callused narrator of “El Gatillo” goes around killing people. This song takes the whole “nasty delivered with cheer” dynamic into sociopathic territory, particularly when the dudes in Los Rodriguez sing about creating widows. On the other hand, the sound they get with their accordion/tuba quartet is ramshackle and sticky, the most compelling norteño ensemble since Noel Torres turned full time loverman. And there’s a long history of violent art that’s about throwing the violence back into the faces of the well-heeled classes. That doesn’t let “El Gatillo” off the hook — but who said we wanted art to be easy?
That said, Grupo Máximo Grado has sung songs that are just as craven, but their new tune “Así Nomas” (MG) is easy to love. It’s a romantic tune free of killing or cartel honchos, but full of tight little instrumental touches. Christian Sánchez’s bass part should be transcribed in all the leading bass magazines. Christian Félix should take care to not develop vocal nodes on that lovely but uncomfortable-sounding tenor voice.
(La Rumorosa photo by Michell Alegría.)