fire up video

When NorteñoBlog last noticed the West Coast sierreño quartet/quintet T3R Elemento at summer’s end, the shrift was short. Teenage lead singer Kristopher Nava “pushes his way through [debut hit single ‘Rafa Caro’] like the frantic-to-impress kid he likely is,” I wrote. Four months later, “Rafa Caro” is still hanging around both the Hot Latin chart and the radio airplay chart, and now these guys have another single on just the big chart — i.e., streaming and sales, but not much airplay yet. “Fire Up” is the new least favorite song of genteel antebellum marionette Jeff Sessions, offering as it does a Dr. Seuss-like panoply of suggestions for ingesting THC. Would you, could you, with a bong? Would you, could you, en el avión? Would you, could you, con la skunk? Saca un blunt and fire up!

underground“Fire Up” is a decent enough minor-key sierreño waltz — good harmonies during the chorus! — that it convinced me to check out the band’s 2017 debut studio album Underground (LA R/Parral). With some relief, I can announce I wasn’t sleeping on much. T3R Elemento are more interesting than good. Bilingual and multinational, they’ve got two members (requinto player Jose Felipe Prieto and acordionista Zeus Gamez) hailing from Mexico, while bassist Sergio Cardenas comes from Cuba and 17-year-old frontman Kristopher Nava is from Vegas. Produced by prolific Californian Fernando Cavazos, the album’s a mix of semi-energetic narcocorridos, for which Nava musters an overeager McLovin’ vibe, and drooly romantic ballads, which studiously avoid mustering any vibe at all. Notably, the ’50s sock hop ballad “Nos Pertenecemos (We Belong Together)” appears in both Spanglish and English versions, and fails to leave an impression either time. It’s entirely possible the whole thing sounds better if you follow Nava’s advice and get high off a doctored Swisher Sweet; I’ll let you know after I finish my Mario Kart/Unlikely Animal Friends marathon. NO VALE LA PENA

como los vaquerosThe better sierreño-laced sock hop single comes from DEL Records artists Lenin Ramirez and Ulices Chaidez. At #30 airplay, “Como Los Vaqueros” first appeared on Chaidez’s 2017 sierreño album El Elegido (DEL), an album I feel guiltier about skipping because Chaidez and Sus Plebes can be really good. In both versions, “Vaqueros” is a glassy pool of simplicity: guy gets dressed up like a cowboy, rides his horse to see his brown-haired girlfriend, offers her flowers, and tells her he wants to kiss her. The catchy chorus hook — “Y yo, yo, yo, yo, yo” — shows us the narrator’s love is more about himself than his ladyfriend, about whom we know only three things: her hair is brown, she’s not homeless, and she still has a hand, eyes, and lips. Not so common in today’s godless world!

The video’s iconography is notable for switching between the stables of a ranch, where Ramirez and Chaidez play over their campfire, and the living room and kitchen of their chiquitita’s swanky suburban house. (Her backsplash is a thing of normcore wonder.) Are these would-be vaqueros struggling to maintain their traditional masculine ideals against an encroaching world of whitewashed suburbanity? Is their “yo, yo, yo, yo, yo” secretly a desperate battle cry against their fears of impending emasculation? While I doctor a Swisher Sweet and assemble an explicatory PowerPoint presentation, here’s 2018’s first Pick to Click!

el ultimo besoMore moneyed architecture and Magic Changes are at #27 airplay, where we find newly un-hatted Geru y Su Legión 7 railing sadly against a faithless muchacha on a rooftop in what looks to be an exclusive hillside community. Geru and his legion normally play chipper puro sax music, as heard on his sadly neglected-by-the-Blog album El Último Beso (Fonovisa). Geru’s voice normally sounds lifted by helium. The betrayal described in “Vete” seems to have thickened his vocal folds and furrowed his brow; either that or the dude just got older. Either way, if all you knew of him was this power ballad, you’d have no inkling he and his band had cut an entirely respectable puro sax album. If only he’d followed the Blog’s advice and titled it “Vete (Breakup Saxo).” In related news, nobody should ever follow the Blog’s advice. With that in mind, the album may merit a VALE LA PENA, but this current single’s a hard NOPE.

el nanoAnd finally, at #29 airplay, we find the latest corrido, non-narco edition, from man-myth-legend El Fantasma. “El Corrido del Nano” is real “Country Boy Can Survive” stuff, with a rancher named Emiliano Sanchez Madueño bragging about the firepower (and machete power!) he keeps on hand to defend his homestead. Since Mexican cartels pose more of an actual threat to El Nano’s livelihood than the urban switchblade killers of Hank Jr.’s dogwhistling fever dreams, and since it’s a jaunty tune, I’ll cut El Fantasma some slack. The brass charts don’t really do much, but Fantasma sings with enough verve to squeak into VALE LA PENA territory.

Note: the Blog’s SEO team requests I inform you that EL FANTASMA’S REAL NAME IS ALEXANDER GARCIA. Thank you.

These are the top 50 Hot Latin Songs and top 40 Regional Mexican Songs, courtesy Billboard, as published January 6.

1. “Despacito” – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber (50 weeks!)
2. “Mi Gente” – J. Balvin & Willy William (26 weeks!)
3. “La Modelo” – Ozuna x Cardi B
4. “Echame La Culpa” – Luis Fonsi & Demi Lovato
5. “Krippy Kush” – Farruko, Bad Bunny & Rvssian
6. “Mayores” – Becky G ft. Bad Bunny
7. “Criminal” – Natti Natasha x Ozuna
8. “Corazon” – Maluma X Nego do Borel
9. “Escapate Conmigo” – Wisin ft. Ozuna (40 weeks!)
10. “Felices Los 4” – Maluma (36 weeks!)

11. “Perro Fiel” – Shakira ft. Nicky Jam
12. “Bella y Sensual” – Romeo Santos ft. Nicky Jam & Daddy Yankee
13. “Sensualidad” – DJ Luian & Mambo Kingz Presentan: Bad Bunny, J Balvin & Prince Royce
14. “Corrido de Juanito” – Calibre 50 (#5 RegMex)
15. “El Farsante” – Ozuna
16. “Robarte Un Beso” – Carlos Vives & Sebastian Yatra
17. “Se Preparo” – Ozuna
18. “Que Va” – Alex Sensation + Ozuna
19. “Como Antes” – Yandel ft. Wisin
20. “Si Tu La Ves” – Nicky Jam ft. Wisin

21. “Si No Estas Tu” – Banda La Misma Tierra
22. “Loco Enamorado” – Remmy Valenzuela (#6 RegMex)
23. “Vuelve” – Daddy Yankee & Bad Bunny
24. “Loco Enamorado” – Abraham Mateo, Farruko & Christian Daniel
25. “Siguelo Bailando” – Ozuna
26. “No Te Pido Mucho” – Alta Consigna (#3 RegMex)
27. “Downtown” – Anitta & J Balvin
28. “Casate Conmigo” – Silvestre Dangond x Nicky Jam
29. “Entre Beso y Beso” – La Arrolladora Banda (#4 RegMex)
30. “Rafa Caro” – T3R Elemento (#38 RegMex)

31. “Me Dejé Llevar” – Christian Nodal (#7 RegMex)
32. “Como No Adorarla” – Banda Carnaval (#1 RegMex)
33. “Todo Comienza En La Disco” – Wisin Featuring Yandel & Daddy Yankee
34. “Chambea (Wooo!)” – Bad Bunny
35. “3 A.M” – Jesse & Joy ft. Gente de Zona
36. “Amor, Amor, Amor” – Jennifer Lopez Featuring Wisin
37. “La Formula” – De La Ghetto, Daddy Yankee, Ozuna & Chris Jeday
38. “El Color de Tus Ojos” – Banda MS (#2 RegMex)
39. “Dejala Que Vuelva” – Piso 21 Featuring Manuel Turizo
40. “Palma Salazar” – Gerardo Ortiz (#15 RegMex)

41. “Quiero Repetir” – Ozuna Featuring J Balvin
42. “En Definitiva” – Alfredo Olivas
43. “Corona de Rosas” – Kevin Ortiz ft. Ulices Chaidez (#19 RegMex)
44. “No Me Hubiera Enamorado” – Cornelio Vega y Su Dinastia (#9 RegMex)
45. “Fire Up” – T3r Elemento
46. “Te Perdono” – Intocable (#8 RegMex)
47. “Mamita” – CNCO
48. “En Vida” – Banda Los Sebastianes (#13 RegMex)
49. “Choka Choka” – Chayanne Featuring Ozuna
50. “Ropa Interior” – Justin Quiles

“Bonita” – Jowell & Randy & J. Balvin
“Ahora Me Llama” – Karol G x Bad Bunny
“Bailame” – Nacho (26 weeks!)
“Tu Foto” – Ozuna (25 weeks!)
“Imitadora” – Romeo Santos
“Me Rehuso” – Danny Ocean (26 weeks!)
“Reggaeton Lento” – CNCO & Little Mix (46 weeks!)
“Almost Like Praying” – Lin-Manuel Miranda ft. Artists for Puerto Rico
“Luna Llena” – Malu Travejo
“Bebe” – Ozuna x Anuel AA
“Ni Tu Ni No” – Jennifer Lopez ft. Gente de Zona
“Explicale” – Yandel ft. Bad Bunny
“Sobredosis” – Romeo Santos ft. Ozuna
“Una Lady Como Tu” – Manuel Turizo
“Quedate Conmigo” – Chyno Miranda ft. Wisin & Gente de Zona
“Esa Boquita” – J Alvarez
“No Quiere Enamorarse” – Ozuna ft. Daddy Yankee
“Te Acuerdas de Mi” – Plan B


10. “La Suerte” – Los Plebes del Rancho de Ariel Camacho

11. “Mi Vida Eres Tu” – Virlan Garcia
12. “Me Está Doliendo El Alma” – La Original Banda el Limón
14. “Queria Que Lloraras” – Ulices Chaidez y Sus Plebes
16. “Caso Perdido” – La Maquinaria Norteña
17. “Lo Más Seguro” – Jorge Medina
18. “Pude Haber Sido Yo” – Edwin Luna y La Trakalosa
20. “Que Me Amas” – Siggno

21. “Como Vuelvo A Enamorarte” – Regulo Caro
22. “Batallandole” – Enigma Norteña ft. La Séptima Banda
23. “Esta Es Tu Canción” – La Adictiva Banda San Jose de Mesillas
24. “Ni Diablo Ni Santo” – Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda
25. “Simple y Práctico” – Espinoza Paz
26. “La Receta” – Los Rieleros del Norte
27. “Vete” – Geru y Su Legión 7
28. “No Voy a Detenerte” – Pesado
29. “El Corrido del Nano” – El Fantasma
30. “Como Los Vaqueros” – Lenin Ramirez Featuring Ulices Chaidez

31. “Se Vinieron Los Problemas” – Noel Torres
32. “El Taxista” – La Energía Norteña
33. “Me Derrumbé A Tus Pies” – La Fiera de Ojinaga Featuring La Energía Norteña
34. “Mi Todo (Por Fijarme En Tu Belleza)” – Jesús Ojeda y Sus Parientes
35. “Secuelas de Amor” – Chayín Rubio
36. “Claro Que Duele” – Los Invasores de Nuevo Leon
37. “Vas a Volver” – Chiquis Rivera
39. “Ya No Sera En Tu Boca” – Nano Machado
40. “El Problema” – Alfredo Olivas

“Casitas de Cojoyo” – Kanales
“No Le Hago Falta” – Banda Los Recoditos (#8 RegMex)
“Los Viejitos” – Marco Flores y La Numero 1 Banda Jerez
“Solo Dejame Besarte” – Los Huracanes del Norte
“Si Te Vas Ya No Regresas” – Jesus Mendoza
“Vamos a Darnos un Tiempo” – Roberto Tapia
“Desde Que La Vi” – Los de la Noria
“A Mover el Bote” – Los Tucanes de Tijuana
“Tal Como Eres” – Luis Coronel
“Porque No Te Enamoras” – Joss Favela
“Recordando a Manuel” – Lenin Ramirez ft. Gerardo Ortiz & Jesus Chairez
“Porque Me Enamore” – Ulices Chaidez y Sus Plebes
“Que Siga Lloviendo” – Duelo
“Yo No Tengo Remedio” – Pesado
“Ayer y Hoy” – Banda el Recodo (#7 RegMex)
“Las Cosas No Se Hacen Asi” – Banda MS
“Vengo a Aclarar” – El Fantasma y Banda Populares del Llando (#5 RegMex)
“Probablamente” – Christian Nodal ft. David Bisbal (#2 RegMex)