Big news from Billboard is that our official Latin emissary to the pop world, the “Despacito” of Fonsi, Yankee, & Bieber (LLC), has a new notch to add to its chart belt.

siggno despacitoIt was already the first Spanish #1 single since “Macarena.” Now it’s the first non-English song to top the all around Radio Songs chart… ever. Or at least since that particular chart began in 1990. Back in 1996, “Macarena” only reached #6 on the radio. Los Lobos’ cover of “La Bamba” topped radio airplay back in 1987, but that was a different time with different algorithms that only took into account Top 40 radio. “Despacito” is topping both Top 40 and Latin radio, and the song’s coattails are spreading. (Watch for “Despacito”-themed Segway tours to sweep Puerto Rico.) Down at #31 on the Regional Mexican airplay chart, you’ll find the mascaraed-and-tattooed norteño softies Siggno playing their own cover version of “Despacito,” while rocking Metallica and Misfits t-shirts in the video. Guess whose version NorteñoBlog prefers:

Unfortunately, Siggno seems to be the only norteño act lifted by the rising tide of “Despacito” drool. Take a look at that Hot Latin chart below. Normally you’d see a couple norteño or banda songs in the top 10; the top 25 often contains ten to twelve regional Mexican acts. Now the top 16 songs are all reggaeton, bachata, or Shakira, a genre unto herself, with the first Mexican acts only sneaking in from #17-21. (Some comfort: there are 12 more of our guys — and they’re all guys — in the bottom 25.)

Billboard notes that Fonsi’s “Despacito” is not only swamping both Top 40 and Latin airplay, it’s selling and streaming the pants off every other Spanish-language song you care to name. This works out well for other, similar sounding songs. When you play “Despacito” on YouTube, the video channel helpfully chases it with another variation on “Despacito”‘s dembow rhythm — for instance, CNCO’s “Reggaeton Lento,” Maluma’s “Felices los 4,” or Shakira’s “Chantaje,” in whose video Shakira goes HAM by walking a pig through a convenience store. All those ancillary streams give their songs a chart boost. “Despacito” is never followed by Christian Nodal‘s gorgeous mariachi-pop “Adios Amor,” which hung out in the Hot Latin top 10 for the first half of the year, or any other regional Mexican song. This is one way the club sound reinforces itself.

ulices-chaidez-albumAlso worth noting in the above-linked article: halfway through 2017, there’s only one regional Mexican album in the cumulative Latin top 10, and it comes not from perennial album seller Gerardo Ortiz, whose very good Comeré Callado Vol. 1 seems to be stiffing. Rather, this year’s biggest Mexican album is the (not quite as good) 2016 album from teen sierreño sensations Ulices Chaidez y Sus Plebes. Under Billboard‘s current album accounting methods, Chaidez’s “album sales” have risen thanks to online streams of his hit ballad “Te Regalo,” which peaked at #12 and charted for half a year.

hoy mas fuerteOrtiz could use his own big single to boost his Equivalent Album Units, but right now his lame sierreño pop “Para Que Lastimarme” is falling from a #15 peak. It’s looking more like Ortiz’s 2015 album Hoy Más Fuerte was, in fact, his New Jersey: “a huge event album that ultimately feels a bit hollow and signals a career decline” (at least in commercial terms). This is something NorteñoBlog totally called; although in fairness, if it proves untrue, I probably won’t retract it. I’ll be sure to consult my journalistic ethics team.

In short, regional Mexican music seems to be going through some summer doldrums, a period of relative unpopularity compared to other Spanish-language music. Its central star, Ortiz, is using a hot sound, sierreño, but his new music is struggling to catch on. Nodal, the singer of the format’s biggest 2017 hit, has yet to release an album. The popularity of “Despacito” is benefitting other songs with more club-oriented electro rhythms. And I haven’t even mentioned that our biggest norteño song, Calibre 50‘s “Las Ultras” (#17 Hot Latin, #1 airplay), is a beer jingle. For light beer. Plenty of blame to go around.

recordandoOne bright spot comes from Ortiz and his friends/labelmates Lenin Ramirez and Jesus Chairez: down at #26 on the airplay chart we find the three of them singing Chariez’s corrido “Recordando a Manuel.” It’s a spritely guitar-and-banda memorial to the late narco José Manuel Torres Félix, who was killed in 2012. Some sympathy for the devil, please — according to the song, he was a simple country man who only turned to a life of crime when mobsters killed his kids, at which point “el demonio” got him. Regardless of real-life circumstances, the song is stunning. I prefer Ortiz’s small band version on Comeré Callado, which features some jaw-dropping accordion and tuba interplay, but on the single you can enjoy three different guys harmonizing in honor of a reputed psychopath. And the guitar still sounds great! Pick to Click:

These are the top 50 Hot Latin Songs and top 40 Regional Mexican Songs, courtesy Billboard, as published July 22.

1. “Despacito” – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber (25 weeks!)
2. “Felices Los 4” – Maluma
3. “Mi Gente” – J. Balvin & Willy William
4. “Escapate Conmigo” – Wisin ft. Ozuna
5. “El Amante” – Nicky Jam (25 weeks!)
6. “Chantaje” – Shakira ft. Maluma (36 weeks!)
7. “Subeme La Radio” – Enrique Iglesias ft. Descemer Bueno, Zion & Lennox
8. “Ahora Dice” – Chris Jeday Presenta J Balvin, Ozuna & Arcángel
9. “Me Enamoré” – Shakira
10. “Imitadora” – Romeo Santos

11. “Tu Foto” – Ozuna
12. “La Rompe Corazones” – Daddy Yankee x Ozuna
13. “Sigo Extrañandote” – J Balvin
14. “Hey DJ” – CNCO & Yandel
15. “Deja Vu” – Prince Royce & Shakira
16. “Si Tu Novio Te Deja Solo” – J Balvin ft. Bad Bunny
17. “Las Ultras” – Calibre 50 (#1 RegMex)
18. “Para Que Lastimarme” – Gerardo Ortiz (#5 RegMex)
19. “Ella Es Mi Mujer” – Banda Carnaval (#2 RegMex)
20. “Mi 45” – El Fantasma (#10 RegMex)

21. “Sería Un Error” – Regulo Caro (#4 RegMex)
22. “Bailame” – Nacho
23. “Héroe Favorito” – Romeo Santos
24. “Soy Peor” – Bad Bunny
25. “Me Rehuso” – Danny Ocean
26. “Mi Tesoro” – Zion & Lennox ft. Nicky Jam
27. “Bonita” – Jowell & Randy & J. Balvin
28. “Las Cosas No Se Hacen Asi” – Banda MS (#3 RegMex)
29. “Mi Religion” – Yandel
30. “Que Me Has Hecho” – Chayanne ft. Wisin

31. “Ahora Me Llama” – Karol G x Bad Bunny
32. “Ni Tu Ni No” – Jennifer Lopez ft. Gente de Zona
33. “Y Me Pregunto” – Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda (#6 RegMex)
34. “No Te Hagas” – Bad Bunny x Jory Boy
35. “Esta Noche Se Me Olvida” – Julión Álvarez y su Norteño Banda (#12 RegMex)
36. “Durmiendo En El Lugar Equivoca” – La Adictiva Banda (#16 RegMex)
37. “Se Defiende” – La Séptima Banda (#7 RegMex)
38. “Un Aplauso” – Edwin Luna y La Trakalosa de Monterrey (#8 RegMex)
39. “Si No Vuelves” – Gente de Zona
40. “No Es Un Juego” – Jesús Ojeda y Sus Parientes (#14 RegMex)

41. “Encanto” – Don Omar ft. Sharlene Taule
42. “Gente de Accionar” – Grupo Codiciado (#35 RegMex)
43. “Pa’ Que No Me Anden Contando” – Voz de Mando
44. “Quiereme” – Jacob Forever ft. Farruko
45. “Me Acostumbre” – Arcángel x Bad Bunny
46. “Ojala Que Me Olvides” – La Arrolladora Banda (#11 RegMex)
47. “Bebe” – Ozuna x Anuel AA
48. “Mas Que Ayer” – Arcangel x De La Ghetto
49. “El Pasito Perrón” – Grupo Dinastia Mendoza
50. “Vengo a Aclarar” – El Fantasma y Banda Populares del Llando (#19 RegMex)

“Reggaeton Lento (Bailemos)” – CNCO (33 weeks!)
“Hey Ma” – Pitbull & J Balvin ft. Camila Cabello
“La Ultima Vez” – Anuel AA x Bad Bunny
“Si Una Vez” – Play-N-Skillz ft. Wisin, Frankie J, & Leslie Grace
“Al Filo de Tu Amor” – Carlos Vives
“Alguien Robo” – Sebastian Yatra ft. Nacho & Wisin
“No Quiere Enamorarse” – Daddy Yankee ft. Ozuna
“Blockia” – Bad Bunny & Farruko ft. DJ Luian & Mambo Kings
“Nada” – Shakira
“Don’t Let Go” – Farruko
“Te Vas” – Ozuna

9. “Casada o No” – Chuy Lizarraga
10. “Porque Me Enamore” – Ulices Chaidez y Sus Plebes

13. “Pudo” – Banda Los Sebastianes
15. “El Gallero” – El Komander
17. “Por Obvias Razones” – La Maquinaria Norteña
18. “Me Mato” – Norteño 4.5
20. “Horas Extras” – Chiquis Rivera

*21. “Porque No Te Enamoras” – Joss Favela
22. “Hasta Que Amanezca” – Lucero
*23. “El Amor de Mi Vida” – Raul Casillas
*24. “No Le Hago Falta” – Banda Los Recoditos
25. “A Tu Amigo” – Javier Rosas y Su Artillería Pesada
*26. “Recordando a Manuel” – Lenin Ramirez ft. Gerardo Ortiz & Jesus Chairez
*27. “Tu Diseño” – Larry Hernández
*28. “Probablamente” – Christian Nodal ft. David Bisbal
29. “Caricias Clandestinas” – Remmy Valenzuela
*30. “Medico de Barra” – Los Invasores de Nuevo Leon

*31. “Despacito” – Siggno
32. “Los Angeles Existen” – Pesado
33. “Eres Vida” – Duelo
*34. “Sinceramente” – Alta Consigna
36. “El Benny” – Fuerza de Tijuana
37. “Eso Si Me Dolió” – Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda
*38. “Necesito Una Compañera” – Jonatan Sanchez
*39. “Solo Dejame Besarte” – Los Huracanes del Norte
*40. “Si Te Vas Ya No Regresas” – Jesus Mendoza

“Me Llamo Juan” – Adriel Favela
“Amar a Mi Nivel” – Los Huracanes del Norte
“Perro de Rancho” – Los Tercos ft. Elías Medina
“Mentir Para Vivir” – Siggno
“Y Cambió Mi Suerte” – Virlán García
“Donde Quedó” – La Energía Norteña
“El Chema” – Banda El Recodo
“Al Por Mayor” – Los Tucanes de Tijuana
“Dime Que Se Siente” – Luis Coronel
“Ya No Me Va a Doler” – Banda la Misma Tierra
“Te Regalo” – Ulices Chaidez y Sus Plebes
“Adios Amor” – Christian Nodal (#9 RegMex) (29 weeks!)
“Siempre Te Voy a Querer” – Calibre 50 (#11 RegMex) (25 weeks!)
“Es Tuyo Mi Amor” – Banda MS (#6 RegMex)