Welcome back to Songwriters’ Showcase, the apparently semiannual feature in which NorteñoBlog checks out the new songs on Mexico’s radio chart and, upon realizing those songs are gateways to the Actual Void, decides it would be way more interesting to research who wrote the songs instead. The winners, as always, are you the readers.
In at #20, we have Intocable with the undeniably hooky yet unnecessarily petering-out “Quiéreme (Ámame),” already a hit in El Norte. The man who wrote “Quiéreme,” Luis “Louie” Padilla, has written a bunch of tunes for Intocable and others, including the band’s previous superior single “Tu Ausencia.” “Basic and hokey,” wrote Cassy Gress about that one.
Intocable’s new album Highway is a concept album about — what else? — life on the road. (Eventually we all record one. Don’t fight the inevitable.) It’s been lauded for its emotional complexity, musical adventure, and bedrock catchiness, but it currently annoys me in the same way Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot does: it’s a bunch of so-so songs dressed up with special studio effects, as though the band is desperately trying to prevent themselves from playing EVERY SONG THE SAME. This is especially disappointing with Intocable, because they know how to groove! Witness the beginning of “Quiéreme,” which starts tight and tense before lapsing into the familiar Intocable Lope. Or “Un Día Sin Ti” — as Thom Jurek points out, it starts out sounding like “Kashmir” before (you guessed it) settling into the well-worn Intocable Lope. The Intocable Lope possesses the gravity of a thousand suns. The songs’ melodies and chord changes lack the power or distinction to counter the Lope’s inexorable tug. “Basic and hokey” is exactly right.
At #19 we find noted Ivan Archivaldo impersonators Grupo Máximo Grado with the languid cheater’s waltz “Pensando en Ella.” It pulls the neat trick of sounding totally relaxed about its cadfoolery while rattling off an endless string of rapid-fire lyrics. The Very Special Video shows the narrator messing around and being publicly shamed, and it ends with this proverb: “No cambies una vida con tu familia/ Por un instante de diversión.” Máximo Grado is a true indie band, releasing their mostly-corrido albums through their own corporation and unfailingly granting video direction privileges to the lowest bidder — although to be fair, the “Pensando” video evinces a sizable budget for boats, aerial stock footage, and mascara. NorteñoBlog has no idea whether this song was written by house composer Jesús E. Muñoz Sánchez or someone else, but hereby bestows upon it the coveted status of Pick to Click. Because you oughta click on SOMETHING.
At #14, the young Banda Los Sebastianes scored Martin “Sin Respiración” Castro to string together a bunch of adjectives into a love song. As a slow jam, “El Cuento Perfecto” doesn’t quite scale the heights of that earlier Recodo hit, though it may be as silly as Castro’s big dumb cumbia for Banda Cuisillos, “Mambo Latino.”
Speaking of Banda El Recodo, the aged and storied band enters the top 10 with Jesús Scott’s “Mujer Mujer,” a staple of the aged and storied norteño canon. (Here’s Los Cachorros de Juan Villarreal.) It’s the first single from Raíces, Recodo’s new concept album about songs that are old.
And at #13, the quintet La Leyenda teams with compulsive guest singer and overactor Edwin Luna to place “La Apuesta,” a cutesy the-doggone-mujer-is-mine song by fresh-faced singer-songwriter Elías Medina. The song, which is Not At All Sexist, pits the two heroes against one another; the mujer is the last piece of the puzzle. So sure are they of winning the love of this mujer, they’ll bet everything they have — their horse, their ranch, their ride. (Well, maybe not the ride.) The cutesy video, in which the two addicts overact against one another with the help of their respective bands and an angry dwarf, is all but unwatchable. Thank goodness for the Very Special Proverb at the end: “La violencia y las armas/ no pueden resolver nunca los problemas de los hombres.” Unfortunately, by the time it flashes across the screen, any right-thinking hombre will have stopped watching.
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 “This Girl,” “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”, “One Dance,” and, still hanging around at #2, J Balvin’s reggaeton banger “Bobo,” which as far as I can tell has nothing to do with the invented secret language of David Brooks and everything to do with J Balvin comforting the afflicted so he can get them (ok, her) into bed.
1. “Me Va a Pesar” – Arrolladora
2. “Me Vas a Extrañar” – Banda MS
3. “Ataúd” – Los Tigres del Norte
4. “Yo Si Me Enamoré” – La Séptima Banda
5. “Te Dirán” – La Adictiva (17 weeks!)
6. “La Repetición” – Banda Tierra Sagrada
7. “En Toda La Chapa” – Edwin Luna y La Trakalosa ft. El Palomo y El Gorrión
8. “Botellitas” – Beto Zapata
9. “¿Desde Cuándo No Me Quieres?” – Banda Carnaval
10. “Mujer Mujer” – Banda El Recodo
11. “Me Esta Gustando” – Banda Los Recoditos
12. “Sueño de Amor” – El Chapo de Sinaloa
13. “La Apuesta” – La Leyenda ft. Edwin Luna
14. “El Cuento Perfecto” – Banda Los Sebastianes
15. “Convidela” – La Iniciativa ft. Banda Los Recoditos
16. “Utilízame” – Banda Cuisillos
17. “Dime Cómo” – La Bandononona Clave Nueva de Max Peraza
18. “¿Por Qué Me Habrás Besado?” – Edith Márquez ft. Julión Álvarez
19. “Pensando En Ella” – Grupo Máximo Grado
20. “Quiéreme (Ámame)” – Intocable