el gallero

KOMANDERLoyal readers understand that any new single by Alfredo Ríos “El Komander” makes NorteñoBlog crow with excitement. El Komander is one of the best, most prolific singles artists on the continent and his new radio hit “El Gallero” (#13 airplay) is another feather in his cap. And just so we’re clear: this song is some straight up, undiluted, no-question-what-he’s-singing-about cockfighting bullshit. I’ve combed the text for mitigating factors and found none. It’s not a metaphor. It’s not simply a video featuring the sport, like Alacranes Musical‘s strutting dance classic “Zapateado Encabronado #3”, which the Blog could not in good conscience endorse back in 2014. No, “El Gallero” pecks away at the same magnificently plumed tradition as Vicente Fernandez‘s “La Muerte de un Gallero” — only, where Fernandez told an O Henry-ish short story set in the competitive cockfighting world, Komander’s song is pure identity politics and local pride.

We’ve seen this sort of dynamic before, specifically with narcocorridos: “In one of those ironies that’s defined parent-child musical tastes since forever, [my librarian] Fatima’s dad is a big Chalino Sanchez fan but thinks these new corrideros are a bunch of idiots. Those old school corrideros knew how to tell a real story.” Whereas, the argument goes, new jack corrideros like El Komander simply revel in the decadent trappings of the game.

Where else have we seen this play out? Oh, right — country music. Recall Marty Robbins’ “The Strawberry Roan,” a short bronc busting story I’m on record loving. In a few compact stanzas, Robbins uses obscure terms of rodeic art to immerse listeners in the seedy bronc busting underworld, and his story of Man meeting his equine match turns into an awe-stricken proverb about life’s eternally unexplored vistas:

“I know there are ponies that I cannot ride;
There’s some of them left, they haven’t all died.”

Four decades later Garth Brooks recorded “Rodeo,” which also rattled off obscure terms of art but, like “El Gallero,” was pure identity politics and local (well, professional) pride. You could argue that Brooks helped inspire today’s bro-country movement of good old boys obsessing over how Country they are, and becoming aesthetically impoverished in the process, but what we’re really talking about is different songwriting tools. At their cores, the parallel cases of “Strawberry Roan” vs. “Rodeo” and “La Muerte” vs. “El Gallero” represent differences in perspective. (I mean, “Rodeo” is my least favorite Garth Brooks song, but just on a musical level.) Brooks and Komander both have excellent storytelling songs in their repertoires, but sometimes you just want to sing a damn anthem.

But, right, cockfighting. Sigh. NorteñoBlog cannot in good conscience endorse this middling El Komander single whose video seems to depict a rooster killed in battle. What I CAN endorse is getting onto U.S. radio with a line that translates “My cock is always on fire.” Your move, Kings of Leon.

dinastia mendozaFar as I can tell, “El Gallero” hasn’t raised the hackles of the SPCA or any other group of moralizers. The same cannot be said for the song at #46 on the big chart, “El Pasito Perrón” by the gregarious dance band Grupo Dianastia Mendoza. Released in 2015, this chintzy electrocumbia depicts a dancing sensation that completely failed to sweep the nation, until someone uploaded a video of a toy baby Jesus dancing to it. This was of course hilarious, especially the heaps of background stinkeye given by a wary shopkeeper, and it became a meme: you can now find “Pasito Perrón” videos featuring everyone from Winnie the Pooh to his orange honey-chasing doppelganger Donald Trump. A bunch of stormtroopers even performed the dance on Britain’s Got Talent, and Simon changed his facial expression at least twice.

Not everyone approved, though. The hard-hitting news site Sopitas.com reports that “algunos representantes” of the Catholic Church recommended punishment for the perpetrator of the original “Niño Dios” video, because the heathen was turning that plastic hunk of Jesus into “just a toy.” I’ll remember to bar all priests from my house this Christmas when my kids play Manger Scene. Anyway, this phenomenon seems to have peaked back in February, so I have no idea why the song is charting now, except that Grupo Dinastia has just released its debut cash-grab album, titled El Pasito Perrón on the indie Filser label. (Me neither.) Besides more chintzy electrocumbias, it includes truly terrible covers of “Sólo Con Verte” and “Adiós Amor.” You gotta strike while the Christ is hot.

Controversial novelties aside, this week’s airplay chart features lots of good new tunes by Blog favoritas. At #27 we find “Por Obvias Razones,” the latest emo sax jaunt by La Maquinaria Norteña, who stand astride the puro sax genre like Saxophone Colossi. At #32 there’s the latest corrido by man-myth-legend El Fantasma, whose unlikely Sierreño hit “Mi 45” is still inside the big chart’s top 20. And at #40 is Glenn Medeiros soundalike Adriel Favela, whose immigration anthem “Me Llamo Juan” inspired a Latin Connection podcast I still haven’t gotten around to translating.

grupo codiciadoBut most exciting is the debut chart hit for the young corrideros Grupo Codiciado. At #39 Hot Latin and #33 airplay, “Gente de Accionar” is a supertight galloping waltz where the big shot narrator brags about how great his life is. He drives a Bugatti in Vegas and an armored Cheyenne when he visits the mountains of Sinaloa, where he conducts his business. He insists his accounts are clean, but I seriously doubt he’s up to date on his taxes. Like El Komander, Codiciado’s narrator doesn’t even attempt to tell a story, and he identifies strongly with the proud gallo. A cursory listen to these guys’ debut album Si Lo Digo Es Porque Puedo (Rancho Humilde) suggests that, like Komander’s gallo, they are always on fire. Pick to Click!

These are the top 50 Hot Latin Songs and top 20 Regional Mexican Songs, courtesy Billboard, as published June 10.

1. “Despacito” – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber
2. “Chantaje” – Shakira ft. Maluma (30 weeks!)
3. “Felices Los 4” – Maluma
4. “El Amante” – Nicky Jam
5. “Subeme La Radio” – Enrique Iglesias ft. Descemer Bueno, Zion & Lennox
6. “Me Enamoré” – Shakira
7. “Escapate Conmigo” – Wisin ft. Ozuna
8. “Adios Amor” – Christian Nodal (#9 RegMex) (29 weeks!)
9. “Reggaeton Lento (Bailemos)” – CNCO (33 weeks!)
10. “Sigo Extrañandote” – J Balvin

11. “Ahora Dice” – Chris Jeday Presenta J Balvin, Ozuna & Arcángel
12. “Deja Vu” – Prince Royce & Shakira
13. “Héroe Favorito” – Romeo Santos
14. “Siempre Te Voy a Querer” – Calibre 50 (#11 RegMex) (25 weeks!)
15. “Tu Foto” – Ozuna
16. “Si Tu Novio Te Deja Solo” – J Balvin ft. Bad Bunny
17. “Mi 45” – El Fantasma (#10 RegMex)
18. “Hey DJ” – CNCO & Yandel
19. “La Rompe Corazones” – Daddy Yankee x Ozuna
20. “Para Que Lastimarme” – Gerardo Ortiz (#5 RegMex)

21. “Encanto” – Don Omar ft. Sharlene Taule
22. “Hey Ma” – Pitbull & J Balvin ft. Camila Cabello
23. “Durmiendo En El Lugar Equivoca” – La Adictiva Banda (#3 RegMex)
24. “Las Ultras” – Calibre 50 (#8 RegMex)
25. “Se Defiende” – La Séptima Banda (#2 RegMex)
26. “Bailame” – Nacho
27. “Un Aplauso” – Edwin Luna y La Trakalosa de Monterrey (#4 RegMex)
28. “Sería Un Error” – Regulo Caro (#12 RegMex)
29. “Que Me Has Hecho” – Chayanne ft. Wisin
30. “Es Tuyo Mi Amor” – Banda MS (#6 RegMex)

31. “Ella Es Mi Mujer” – Banda Carnaval (#7 RegMex)
32. “Mi Tesoro” – Zion & Lennox ft. Nicky Jam
33. “No Te Hagas” – Bad Bunny x Jory Boy
34. “La Ultima Vez” – Anuel AA x Bad Bunny
35. “Al Filo de Tu Amor” – Carlos Vives
36. “Si Una Vez” – Play-N-Skillz ft. Wisin, Frankie J, & Leslie Grace
37. “No Quiere Enamorarse” – Daddy Yankee ft. Ozuna
38. “Soy Peor” – Bad Bunny
39. “Gente de Accionar” – Grupo Codiciado (#33 RegMex)
40. “Alguien Robo” – Sebastian Yatra ft. Nacho & Wisin

41. “Mas Que Ayer” – Arcangel x De La Ghetto
42. “Ojala Que Me Olvides” – La Arrolladora Banda (#11 RegMex)
43. “Don’t Let Go” – Farruko
44. “Me Rehuso” – Danny Ocean
45. “Te Vas” – Ozuna
46. “El Pasito Perrón” – Grupo Dinastia Mendoza
47. “Nada” – Shakira
48. “Blockia” – Bad Bunny & Farruko ft. DJ Luian & Mambo Kings
49. “Si No Vuelves” – Gente de Zona
50. “Pa’ Que No Me Anden Contando” – Voz de Mando

“Dile Que Tu Me Quieres” – Ozuna (33 weeks!)
“Te Quiero Pa’ Mi” – Don Omar & Zion & Lennox
“Hermosa Ingrata” – Juanes
“Rico Suave” – J Alvarez
“Me Acostumbre” – Arcángel x Bad Bunny
“Ya No Me Duele Más” – Silvestre Dangand ft. Farruko
“Sola” – Anuel AA ft. Daddy Yankee, Wisin, Farruko y Zion & Lennox
“Me Llamas” – Piso 21 ft. Maluma
“Ayer” – Anuel AA ft. Farruko


1. “Te Regalo” – Ulices Chaidez y Sus Plebes

13. “El Gallero” – El Komander
14. “Eres Vida” – Duelo
15. “Y Me Pregunto” – Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda
16. “Ya No Me Va a Doler” – Banda la Misma Tierra
17. “Dime Que Se Siente” – Luis Coronel
18. “Horas Extras” – Chiquis Rivera
19. “Los Angeles Existen” – Pesado
20. “No Es Un Juego” – Jesús Ojeda y Sus Parientes

21. “Me Mato” – Norteño 4.5
22. “Casada o No” – Chuy Lizarraga
23. “Al Por Mayor” – Los Tucanes de Tijuana
24. “A Tu Amigo” – Javier Rosas y Su Artillería Pesada
25. “El Chema” – Banda El Recodo
26. “Donde Quedó” – La Energía Norteña
27. “Por Obvias Razones” – La Maquinaria Norteña
28. “Caricias Clandestinas” – Remmy Valenzuela
29. “Y Cambió Mi Suerte” – Virlán García
30. “Pudo” – Banda Los Sebastianes

31. “Mentir Para Vivir” – Siggno
32. “Vengo a Aclarar” – El Fantasma
34. “Perro de Rancho” – Los Tercos ft. Elías Medina
35. “Hasta Que Amanezca” – Lucero
36. “Amar a Mi Nivel” – Los Huracanes del Norte
37. “Las Cosas No Se Hacen Asi” – Banda MS
38. “Esta Noche Se Me Olvida” – Julión Álvarez y su Norteño Banda
39. “El Benny” – Fuerza de Tijuana
40. “Me Llamo Juan” – Adriel Favela

“Volveré a Amar” – Calibre 50
“Eso Si Me Dolió” – Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda
“Vale La Pena” – Banda El Recodo
“Ya Me Vi Contigo” – Grupo H-100
“Arrepentido” – Intocable
“El Mas Grande Amor” – Cheyo Carrillo
“Regresa Hermosa” – Gerardo Ortiz
“A Poco” – Raúl Casillas
“Ando Bien” – Omar Ruiz ft. Gerardo Ortiz (#25 RegMex)
“El Paciente” – Alfredo Olivas (#8 RegMex)
“Culpable Tu” – Alta Consigna (#17 RegMex)