¡Feliz año nuevo! NorteñoBlog leaps into the future resolved to do several things better:
1. Drink a cup of tea before drinking alcohol;
2. Figure out why the kids love Luis Coronel and his immaculately-coiffed-and-voiced teen idol ilk;
3. Keep up the Blog’s Spotify playlist, the 2017 version of which you can shuffle here:
You can read about many of those songs on the Tercer Aniversario post and its accompanying links. While you’re shuffling, here are the Blog’s Top 10 albums of the year:
1. Various Artists – Reyes de la Quebradita (Sony Latin)
A crucial compilation of last decade’s electro-banda novelty style. This album is one laugh-a-minute banger after another, and — as Friend of the Blog Leonel points out — the back story of many of these songs would make for a fascinating deep history.
2. Gerardo Ortiz – Comeré Callado Vol. 1 (DEL/Sony)
NorteñoBlog’s Artist of the Year, following the proud footsteps of El Komander in 2016 and Marco Flores in 2015, takes the surest hop of all his peers aboard the sierreño bandwagon. By adding stripped down guitar music to his normal red-hot norteño, Ortiz amps up his musical variety, and the contrasts are thrilling — check out his solo version of “Recordando a Manuel,” which I apparently can’t stop embedding.
3. Jesús Ojeda y Sus Parientes – El Amigo de Todos (Fonovisa)
The straight-up sierreño album of the year gooses its narcocorridos with wild backup vocals and feverish repeated-note guitar solos.
4. José Manuel Figueroa – No Estás Tú (Fonovisa)
A second-generation songwriting legend makes the year’s best banda pop album, with inventive arrangements dressing up wildly catchy tunes.
5. Various Artists – Tributo a Valentín Elizalde (Fonovisa)
This multi-artist tribute to the late banda pop pioneer is consistently lively and catchy, only occasionally falling into the multi-artist tribute trap of paying polite respect. All of Elizande’s swoony, swanky charisma is intact.
6. Los Player’s de Tuzantla – De Parranda Con Jorge Garcia (Los Player’s de Tuzantla)
Fast, cheap, and barely in-control synthpolkas and cumbias from the southern state of Michoacán.
7. Alicia Villarreal – La Villarreal (Universal Mexico)
The Tejano veteran makes an album of ornate ranchera pop, at its strutting best reminding me of Yolanda Perez’s great genre mashups from a decade ago.
8. Alta Consigna – No Te Pido Mucho (Rancho Humilde)
Sierreño in which bass and tuba are seemingly at war with one another, laced with dry, slashing guitar tones. First half is slow, second half is fast; guess which half the Blog prefers. Shuffle it!
9. La Nueva Onda Norteña – #Hell Yeah (Discos America)
Vegas puro sax band seeks to co-opt the phrase “Hell yeah,” cover Caifanes, and play with unflagging energy and verve. At the very least you have to admire the attempt.
10. Revolver Cannabis – La Ruleta Sigue Girando (DEL/Sony)
With Gerardo Ortiz gone on genre excursion, his labelmates pick up the slack in the straight-up accordion norteño department. It’s a typically lurching (if samey) affair.
And while you examine those, here are the most clicked articles from the Blog’s busiest year:
Los Jóvenes Sónicos ran down the March hit parade, spending extra time on man myth legend El Fantasma (the main source of all those clicks, in his breakthrough year), and some other improbably handsome muchachos.
The febrero edition of Yo Quiero Tu Saxo covered cheerfully emo puro sax bands from Coahuila and New Mexico, along with some of the states that more often show up in this feature. Terrible sax puns abounded.
Alta Consigna Takes Charge compared the quartet’s latest album to Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps, to the credit of both (if not of the Blog).
Yo Quiero Tu… ¿Huapango? saw the Blog sucked into a very specific puro sax rabbit hole, resulting in friendly Facebook greetings from Kikin Y Los Astros, who just sound like they should be running around Alice’s Wonderland. No linguist, the Blog continues to insist “huapango” is another word for “rad folk prog.”
Flaming Gallos and Dancing Jesuses took stock of a new cockfighting
classic travesty by El Komander, and a sordid viral novelty by Grupo Dianastia Mendoza.
And finally, ¡Controversy! ¡Polémica! addressed issues of racism, ageism, and intersectionality on the Mexican radio charts — specifically, a Marco Flores hit that makes fun of a centuries-old indigenous dance that makes fun of old people. Short analysis: I’d be more offended if Flores’s band kicked less shit.
No actually FINALLY, here’s NorteñoBlog’s full list of albums and singles of the year, Mexican and otherwise, so you can get a sense of whence all this questionable taste emanates. Check out the multilingual Spotify playlist here, and thanks for reading!