Welcome back to Songwriters’ Showcase, an apparently semiannual feature in which NorteñoBlog checks out the new love songs on Mexico’s radio chart, discovers that the world is a void wherein everything tastes like ashes, and attempts to salvage the post by researching the professional tunespinners who spun the tunes. The winners, as always, are you the readers.
Except they’re not all love songs this week! We start with not one but two big dumb cumbias. At #18, Claudio Alcaraz has written his own exercise in banda-fied minimalism, “El Pú,” about a friend of his who likes to get drunk and insult people. Great swaths of humanity get insulted here. Truckers, cops, Michoacanos, saints, etc. — you name ’em, they’re pú, aka “puro mandilón.” (“DEmasculated,” as my grandpappy and/or Urban Dictionary used to translate it.) In the video, Sr. Alcaraz’s friend appears as a lecherous clown who lights up the party by starting a conga line. Even so, the guy should stop insulting entire classes of people or he’ll never be elected to public office.
The other BDC, at #11, is way more bitchin’: “Que Perrón” by La Séptima Banda. Written by Joel Suarez and Luciano Luna, who is normally not this much fun, it’s an ode to the modern world’s sexually assertive mujeres. As you might expect, such mujeres make La Séptima Banda very happy, especially the dude in the middle of the song who sheepishly admits, “I’m ugly.” Whoever’s singing lead — I think it’s Efrain, but votes for Chino will also be tabulated — plays his wiggly cadence off the tuba/batería lines with a cheerful insouciance that makes me think I’ve been underrating the Séptima album all year. I’ll get back to you on that. In the meantime, a very ornate Pick to Click. (This live video lets you savor some of those internal brass rhythms.)
Also charting this week:
— At #4, Gerardo Ortiz’s new single “Regresa Hermosa” is nothing to return home for, but composer Jerry Demara does excel at making Gerardo wallow in over-the-top drama. Gerardo, you see, has been languishing near death since his mujer left him, and he does not want to become friends with oblivion. I’d say oblivion is what this inessential single sounds like, but Gerardo’s songs have a habit of sneaking up on me when I hear them on the radio, so we’ll see.
— At #17, Banda Tierra Sagrada’s ballad “Permíteme” was written by Cuitla Vega, a young pop-norteño guy in the Joss Favela mold who records for Twiins Records. In a case of form following function, “Permíteme” sounds very polite. Tony Dize did it better.
— Speaking of Joss Favela, he and Luciano Luna are down at #19 with a tune they gave Pesado: “Me Estorbas,” a pretty good waltz in the “Te Hubieras Ido Antes” school of impassioned melodies that allow the singer to sound like he’s flying free of the beat.
— And at #20, NorteñoBlog is still trying to figure out how stalkery Banda Carnaval sounds on their good-natured mujer serenade “A Ver a Que Horas.” Right now I’m leaning towards “so stalkery and also nasty,” considering the mujer in question is trying to ignore the Carnaval dudes, who, rather than backing off, keep propositioning her and then start insinuating she’s a whore. Like many Carnaval songs, this one was written by Edén Muñoz of Carnaval’s sister band Calibre 50. Muñoz is a smart enough writer that he often seems to be parodying his own genre, which at least makes him interesting. In this case the giveaway lines appear during the chorus: “It’s only a matter of time,” goes my probably incorrect translation, “before you start listening to me and realize this love isn’t cheap; you’re not gonna find anything like it on the corner.” Somewhere Mick Jagger twists his lips in approval.
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 “24K Magic,” “Closer,” the deathless “Safari,” and “Fuego,” the latest lightweight skank by Juanes.
1. “Por Enamorarme” – Los Plebes del Rancho
2. “Tengo Que Colgar” – Banda MS
3. “Que Caro Estoy Pagando” – La Adictiva
4. “Regresa Hermosa” – Gerardo Ortiz
5. “Incompleto” – Banda Los Sebastianes
6. “Amor Del Bueno” – Calibre 50
7. “Yo Sí Te Amé” – La Arrolladora
8. “Afuera Está Lloviendo” – Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda
9. “Seguramente” – Alfredo Olivas
10. “Qué Chulada de Papucho” – Los Horóscopos de Durango
11. “Que Perrón” – La Séptima Banda
12. “Al Rescate” – Banda Los Recoditos
13. “Paloma Negra” – Jenni Rivera
14. “Te Dirán” – La Adictiva (32 semanas!)
15. “Un Hombre Con Suerte” – Duelo
16. “Tenías Razón” – Banda Cuisillos
17. “Permíteme” – Banda Tierra Sagrada
18. “El Pú” – Claudio Alcaraz
19. “Me Estorbas” – Pesado
20. “A Ver a Que Horas” – Banda Carnaval
“De Que Se Puede Se Puede” – Los Inquietos del Norte
“De Tanto Amarte” – Germán Montero
“Desde Que Tu Apareciste” – Banda Rancho Viejo
“Me Caíste Del Cielo” – Beto Zapata
“El Cuento Perfecto” – Banda Los Sebastianes
“Prohibida” – El Komander
“Rompimos Las Reglas” – Impacto Sinaloense
“Quiéreme (Ámame)” – Intocable
“Sin Contrato” – Maluma
“Shaky Shaky” – Daddy Yankee
“Me Esta Gustando” – Banda Los Recoditos (25 semanas!)
“Como No Queriendo” – Fidel Rueda
“Dos Monedas” – Edwin Luna y La Trakalosa
“Mujer Mujer” – Banda El Recodo