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Banda Los Sebastianes

Desfile de Éxitos 1/19/19

t3r airport

Puerto Rican trapstar Bad Bunny has pulled a Drake this week, clogging up Billboard‘s Hot Latin chart with 10 tracks from his debut album X 100pre. (The highest charting is, whaddya know, a duet with Drake.) NorteñoBlog has long admired Sr. Bunny’s charisma and barber while having almost no use for his music. The greatest insult? He’s Despacitoing norteño music into near nonexistence on Hot Latin. Regional Mexican acts account for only nine of the top 50 songs, one less than Bunny himself. The Blog tells you all this to explain why our Desfile de Éxitos format has changed. You can only type “Bad Bunny” so many times before the Donnie Darko flashbacks become too intense to deal with.

What follows are three mini-lists. First up are the three regional Mexican songs that appear only on the Hot Latin chart, i.e. not on Billboard‘s Regional Mexican Songs radio chart. As you’d expect, since radio factors less into their success, these three songs all have enormous YouTube streaming numbers. As you might not expect, they’re all by sierreño bands. One possible conclusion: sierreño is for cool internet kids. The next list is the Regional Mexican radio top 10: mostly banda, a couple cumbias, and one apiece of sierreño and mariacheño. The third list — of one song this week — is music outside the radio Top 10 that also appears on Hot Latin.

ONLY ON HOT LATIN

fuerza regidaFuerza Regida“Radicamos En South Central” (#32 Hot Latin)
This sierreño gangsta nonsense is one high-living negocios signifier after another — I count appearances from Compas Tino and Chino, a bottle of Buchanan’s, and an X6 and a white Corvette, along with some good old-fashioned cocaine. The band is really good at switching from midtempo waltz to fast waltz on a dime, so that’s something. Now if they just learned to add backup vocals to their product placements, maybe they wouldn’t sound like they’re trapped in a cement bunker, playing under threat of torture. NO VALE LA PENA

t3r gerardoT3R Elemento ft. Gerardo Ortiz“Aerolinea Carrillo” (#33 Hot Latin)
The lead track from T3R’s 2018 album The Green Trip is ostensibly an ode to Pablo Escobar and his well-structured airborne narcotics business. It’s actually an ode to how cool it is to get high on a plane and sing about gangster shit. In the video, Kristopher Nava, the McLovin’ of the corridos verdes movimiento, chills in an airport lounge wearing a t-shirt that reads “Cookies” and refusing to enunciate. Sergio Cardenas, the band’s Cuban bassist, harmonizes beside him. Gerardo Ortiz plays a commercial airline pilot who smokes up in the cockpit and over-enunciates, well aware of the lurid cargo he’s transporting in his plane’s overhead compartments. Everyone nods a lot. Unlike Fuerza Regida, everyone here is in a good mood and knows the song they’re playing is patently dopey. VALE LA PENA y PICK TO CLICK

arrankeGrupo Arranke“A Través del Vaso” (#39 Hot Latin)
“Una Para Mi Chiquitita (y Una Más Para My Sad Cowboy Hat That Reeks of Authenticity, Even Though My Song Comes From the Horacio Palencia Song Factory)” (Sierreño Versión)
NO VALE LA PENA

TOP 10 REGIONAL MEXICAN SONGS

1. Christian Nodal“No Te Contaron Mal” (#11 Hot Latin)

2. Los Angeles Azules ft. Natalia LaFourcade“Nunca Es Suficiente” (#9 Hot Latin)

3. Regulo Caro“El Lujo de Tenerte” (#35 Hot Latin)

4. Banda El Recodo ft. David Bisbal“Gracias Por Tu Amor” (#44 Hot Latin)

sebastianes5. Banda Los Sebastianes“A Través del Vaso” (#14 Hot Latin)
“Una Para Mi Chiquitita (y Una Más Para the Underwear Models in the Video)” (Banda Versión)
VALE LA PENA

virlan garcia6. Virlán Garcia“Quiero Reintentarlo”
Virlán is horny as all get out, so it took an unusual triumph of will for him to keep this from becoming a slow jam. His sierreño band skips along, jaunty and desperate. Congas burble and the tuba line snaps at Virlán’s promises to kiss every corner of your body. VALE LA PENA

7. Banda MS“Mejor Me Alejo” (#25 Hot Latin)

8. Raymix“¿Dónde Estarás?”

9. El Fantasma“Dolor y Amor”

10. Banda Los Recoditos“Te Darán Ganas de Verme”

ALSO ON BOTH CHARTS

calibre14. Calibre 50“¿Por Qué Cambiaste De Opinión?” (#50 Hot Latin)
Exactly what you expect from a Calibre ballad: a death march of self-righteous indignation aimed at a fickle mujer, from the dudes who just humble-bragged about going “Mitad y Mitad” with two different women. With his fondness for six-syllable rhymes, Edén Muñoz delights in language more than most of his songwriting cohort, and “No vayas a llorar, que nadie te va abrazar” is a cold kiss-off — but their self pity is dull enough without the band deflating before your ears. NO VALE LA PENA

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Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 7/8/16

luna leyenda

Welcome back to Songwriters’ Showcase, the apparently semiannual feature in which NorteñoBlog checks out the new songs on Mexico’s radio chart and, upon realizing those songs are gateways to the Actual Void, decides it would be way more interesting to research who wrote the songs instead. The winners, as always, are you the readers.

In at #20, we have Intocable with the undeniably hooky yet unnecessarily petering-out “Quiéreme (Ámame),” already a hit in El Norte. The man who wrote “Quiéreme,” Luis “Louie” Padilla, has written a bunch of tunes for Intocable and others, including the band’s previous superior single “Tu Ausencia.” “Basic and hokey,” wrote Cassy Gress about that one.

intocable highwayIntocable’s new album Highway is a concept album about — what else? — life on the road. (Eventually we all record one. Don’t fight the inevitable.) It’s been lauded for its emotional complexity, musical adventure, and bedrock catchiness, but it currently annoys me in the same way Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot does: it’s a bunch of so-so songs dressed up with special studio effects, as though the band is desperately trying to prevent themselves from playing EVERY SONG THE SAME. This is especially disappointing with Intocable, because they know how to groove! Witness the beginning of “Quiéreme,” which starts tight and tense before lapsing into the familiar Intocable Lope. Or “Un Día Sin Ti” — as Thom Jurek points out, it starts out sounding like “Kashmir” before (you guessed it) settling into the well-worn Intocable Lope. The Intocable Lope possesses the gravity of a thousand suns. The songs’ melodies and chord changes lack the power or distinction to counter the Lope’s inexorable tug. “Basic and hokey” is exactly right.

At #19 we find noted Ivan Archivaldo impersonators Grupo Máximo Grado with the languid cheater’s waltz “Pensando en Ella.” Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 7/8/16”

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 12/18/15

adictiva singers

Welcome to the Songwriters’ Showcase! In this exciting feature, NorteñoBlog attempts to bring interest to the boring love songs on the Mexican radio chart by pointing out who wrote the boring love songs! Eventually I lose interest in that too! (Please note: some non-boring songs also lie ahead.)

At number 10, Diego Herrera adds lush guitar to a banda ballad, or maybe vice versa, and pledges his fidelity and jealousy to a mujer he claims is a good kisser. The song’s by Joss Favela and Luciano Luna, the (collective?) Diane Warren of norteño music, and if you’ve heard one of their love songs you’ve heard “Si Te Enamoras De Mi,” but the guitar makes some difference.

Case in point: Banda El Recodo’s at number 6 with another Favela/Luna love song, “Si No Es Contigo.” (Watch for my forthcoming pamphlet on the role of fate and potential realities in the Favela/Luna songbook.) Even though Recodo’s tune is skippier than Herrera’s, you can easily imagine them slowing it down and turning it into a waltz. While we’re talking about Recodo, NorteñoBlog would like to congratulate them on their Grammy nomination in the category Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano). Alternate parenthetical: (Stop Complaining, Noisy Tejano Voting Bloc). Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 12/18/15”

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 8/7/15

fidelrueda3_1-460x261

A crowded field of contenders met this week, selling themselves to a fickle public by trying to outshout their rivals. As they took their places on the public stage, arranged according to their polling numbers, some sported relatively fresh faces while others had clearly been here before. Broadcast to the masses, they broached the familiar topics of family values and the plight of the working class. They touted their hardscrabble origins and titanic work ethics. One challenger had amassed unimaginable wealth and made certain everyone in the audience knew it. The contenders spared no expense, and certainly no words, in their attempt to move one step closer to claiming the world’s most powerful and coveted title.

I refer, of course, to NorteñoBlog’s prestigious Pick to Click.

There are eight new songs, to be exact, since the last time we checked the Mexican radio charts five weeks ago. I’m afraid I can’t assign their singers one-to-one correspondence with the… unique field of candidates seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. president. Although both groups contain mostly men — in this thought experiment, the part of Carly Fiorina will be played by Los Horóscopos — the Mexican radio stars are not, so far as I can tell, frightening power-mad scaredy cats. Here are their strong suits, from lowest polling to highest:

At #20, Diego Herrera sings a tribute to the families who’ve stood behind their famous norteño singing sons. This could have lapsed into sap, but Herrera is a masterful singer who lands each of his many words with precision and dexterity. Plus he uses the word “chingones” over and over. (Since I don’t think Miss Manners has covered it, this Latina article dissects how appropriate the word is for polite company. Opinions vary!)

At #19, the man with the continent’s best voice, Julión Álvarez, sings about love (as he does) in one of his better recent tunes, a fast banda. He’s also the only person I know who has convincingly sung the word “irremediablemente.”

Los Tucanes and their rich friends Código FN are at #18, singing a corrido about the big name bandas who play their fancy parties, where the liquor bottles flow like spit valves and muchachas dangle from arms. How did our hosts get all their money? Don’t ask questions!

At #17, the members of La Estructura, a relatively new quartet/quintet, are weary. Their gauntlet of negotiating the nightlife and trying to win back a pretty mujer has tuckered them out. As the tubist blarts out sad counterpoint the lead singer stops traffic to block his ex’s SUV and plead his case. Improbably, this works.

Mariachi Pedro Fernández is at lucky #13 with a cover of Leandro Rios’s excellent rhyming exercise/claim to hardcore ranchero roots, “Debajo Del Sombrero.” The song remains great, but Fernández’s take sounds too smooth, even perfunctory, as though he and his well tooled mariachi machine are racing through it.

Up at #9, Fidel Rueda insists, over speedy banda, that he is not el mandadero, for whom he is sometimes confused by assholes. Rather, la moneda está volteada, y Rueda es él que manda. Merely for serving as a furious rebuke to some of those frightening power-mad scaredy cats, this would be a front-runner for Pick to Click status. Turns out it’s a fine song, too. I’ll entertain a motion from the floor.

I mean, you knew it wasn’t gonna go to those Sebastianes or Arrolladora ballads, they just kept crying all over the place.

(BTW, the top 3 songs remain unchanged from five weeks ago. Meet the new jefes, same as the old jefes.)

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 “Worth It,” “See You Again,” “Cheerleader,” and a Kalimba song that strums along forgettably.

1. “Aunque Ahora Estés Con Él” – Calibre 50
2. “Piensalo” – Banda MS
3. “Por Qué Terminamos” – Gerardo Ortiz
4. “Para Qué Pides Perdón” – La Arrolladora Banda El Limón
5. “Después de Ti ¿Quién?” – La Adictiva Banda San Jose
6. “¿Cómo Te Llamas?” – Banda La Trakalosa
7. “Por Si No Recuerdas” – Banda Los Sebastianes
8. “Me Interesa” – Alfredo Ríos El Komander
9. “Ya No Soy El Mandadero” – Fidel Rueda
10. “Por Si Estas Con El Pendiente” – Voz De Mando

11. “Mi Vicio Mas Grande” – Banda El Recodo
12. “Tu Mami” – Chuy Lizarraga
13. “Debajo del Sombrero” – Pedro Fernández
14. “No Te Voy a Perdonar” – Grupo Cañaveral ft. Maria Leon
15. “Abrázame” – Pesado
16. “Diferentes Niveles” – Claudio Alcaraz
17. “Retiro Lo Dicho” – La Estructura
18. “Suena La Banda” – Los Tucanes de Tijuana ft. Código FN
19. “Pongamonos de Acuerdo” – Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda
20. “Fregones Mis Viejos” [aka “Chingones Mis Viejos”] – Diego Herrera

¡Adios!
“Yo Pongo Las Reglas” – La Poderosa Banda San Juan
“Si No Te Hubiera Conocido” – Bobby Pulido
“50 Mentadas” – Banda Rancho Viejo
“Broche De Oro” – Banda La Trakalosa
“Me Toco Perder” – Banda Los Recoditos
“El Amor de Su Vida” – Julión Álvarez
“Sal De Mi Vida” – La Original Banda El Limón
“Confesion” – La Arrolladora Banda El Limón

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 5/3/15

claudio

Last week NorteñoBlog recommended “Cerveza” by the cruel drunks in Banda Cuisillos. It turns out “Cerveza” has garnered one of the 20 biggest radio audiences in México but, due to some chart formulas I don’t quite understand at the website monitorLATINO, hasn’t yet hit the radio top 20, which measures total spins rather than estimated audience. (This could just mean it’s more popular in urban radio markets, where more people will hear its fewer spins…???)

ANYWAY, my point here is not to reveal how little I know about Mexican radio stats, but rather to direct you to two more such songs. The first is “Te Extraño Poquito” by Claudio Alcaraz y Su Banda Once Varas. It’s got breathless banda bombast and Alcaraz moving through increasingly desperate stages of post-breakup grief until, in the video, he goes Lloyd Dobbler on his ex and shows up outside her window with the entire banda. Neither ex nor neighbors call the police; rather, ex turns out the light, so everyone just gives up and goes home. Continuará…

Popular but less-spun song two is the charming “Amanece Y No Estas” by Diego Verdaguer, who splits the difference between mariachi and Jason Mraz-style hippy dippiness. No ukelele though, promise.

But today’s Pick to Click is yet another top 20 single from NorteñoBlog’s album of the year so far, Marco A. Flores’s Soy El Bueno. “Dudo” is more of Flores’s trademark Sinaloan banda played at Zacatecas speed. He uses pop chord changes but avoids sentimentality, mostly because he’s got a voice like a tornado siren playing a wax paper comb. The song lasts all of 2:48. I swear this record’s like the Ramones or someone.

Other newbies include ballads by Saul “El Jaguar” and Luz Maria, and something by Los Titanes de Durango featuring 14-year-old Jaziel Avilez. Being a sucker for such novelty and having once enjoyed Los Titanes, who despite their name play plain old norteño and not duranguense, I so wanted to like this song, but “Padre Ejemplar” goes on way too long. 40 seconds longer than “Dudo,” to be exact. Talk about self indulgence!

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 “Uptown Funk!”, “Sugar,” “Love Me Like You Do,” and an Alejandro Sanz ballad about scratchy-voiced zombies.

1. “Después de Ti ¿Quién?” – La Adictiva Banda San Jose
2. “Contigo” – Calibre 50
3. “El Amor de Su Vida” – Julión Álvarez
4. “Confesion” – La Arrolladora Banda El Limón
5. “A Lo Mejor” – Banda MS
6. “Perdi La Pose” – Espinoza Paz
7. “Me Toco Perder” – Banda Los Recoditos
8. “No Fue Necesario” – El Bebeto
9. “Tranquilito” – El Chapo de Sinaloa
10. “Indeleble” – Banda Los Sebastianes

11. “Dudo” – Marco A. Flores y No.1 Banda Jerez
12. “Que te Quede Claro” – Saul El Jaguar
13. “Si Tuviera Que Decirlo” – Pedro Fernandez
14. “Padre Ejemplar” – Los Titanes de Durango ft. Jaziel Avilez
15. “La Reina” – La Iniciativa
16. “Ponte Las Pilas” – America Sierra
17. “Y Esa Soy Yo” – Luz Maria
18. “Que Tal Si Eres Tu” – Los Tigres Del Norte
19. “Un Ranchero En La Ciudad” – Leandro Rios ft. Pancho Uresti
20. “Escuchame” – Fidel Rueda

¡Adios!
“Adicto a la Tristeza” – Banda La Trakalosa ft. Pancho Uresti
“Que Aún Te Amo” – Pesado
“Me Importas” – Los Primos MX
“Malditas Ganas” – Alfredo Rios El Komander
“Todo Tuyo” – Banda El Recodo

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 3/13/15

La_maquinaria_Norte_a

Los Tigres’ celebration of triplets (the musical figure, not the polyzygotic phenomenon) continues at #1 in Mexico this week. There’s some activity in the lower rungs of the chart, where Arrolladora replaces one boring ballad, still a hit in El Norte, with one slightly less boring tune that sounds vaguely like Dean Martin’s “Sway.” (Only Arrolladora have the magic technique.) Banda Los Sebastianes re-enter the chart with the evanescent “Indeleble,” and El Chapo de Sinaloa appears with “Tranquilito,” for which only a turbulent “making of” video exists.

For once the US charts are more interesting! For one thing, Hot Latin boasts its fifth #1 in five weeks, with Nicky Jam & Enrique’s “El Perdon.” Last week was the late Ariel Camacho’s “El Karma,” which recedes to #10 this week following its death bump. Before that was J Balvin’s “Ay Vamos,” then Maná ft. Shakira, and before that…

This is the first time five different songs have topped the chart in as many weeks since January/February 2014, when Marc Anthony gave way to Prince Royce, then to King Romeo’s “Propuesta Indecente,” then to Enrique ft. Marco Antonio Solís, and finally to the “Odio” juggernaut. “Odio,” you’ll remember, was the last number one before our recent glorious era of “Bailando.” (“Bailando” has always been at war with “Propuesta Indecente.”) The era came to an end with Maná and Shakira’s “Mi Verdad.” During the previous set of five number ones in five weeks, back in 2012, the chart turned over more frequently; this was just prior to Billboard‘s controversial decision to incorporate both streaming data and airplay from across all genres into genre charts, and Hot Latin songs began ruling the roost for weeks on a regular basis.

New songs in the US Regional Mexican top 20 include La Séptima Banda’s “Bonito y Bello,” likable for its minor chords but otherwise meh; Los Huracanes’ “Como Tu No Hay Dos,” a slow country waltz; and the Pick to Click, La Maquinaria Norteña’s “Si Te Vuelvo a Ver,” a stomping country polka with some puro Chihuahua sax, by way of New Mexico. I want La Maquinaria Norteña’s logo on my windshield.

These are the Top 20 “Popular” songs in Mexico, as measured by radioNOTAS. Don’t confuse “Popular” with the “General” list, which contains many of the same songs but also “Uptown Funk!”, “Sugar,” and the Disneyfied jogging club soundtrack of Juanes.

1. “Que Tal Si Eres Tu” – Los Tigres Del Norte
2. “Contigo” – Calibre 50
3. “Culpable Fui (Culpable Soy)” – Intocable
4. “A Lo Mejor” – Banda MS
5. “Después de Ti ¿Quién?” – La Adictiva Banda San Jose
6. “Que Aun Te Amo” – Pesado
7. “Todo Tuyo” – Banda El Recodo
8. “No Fue Necesario” – El Bebeto
9. “Malditas Ganas” – Alfredo Rios El Komander
10. “Perdi La Pose” – Espinoza Paz

11. “Me Sobrabas Tu” – Banda Los Recoditos
12. “Si Tuviera Que Decirlo” – Pedro Fernandez
13. “Sencillamente” – Raúl y Mexia + SuenaTron
14. “Ponte Las Pilas” – America Sierra
15. “Escuchame” – Fidel Rueda
16. “Me Importas” – Los Primos MX
17. “Confesion” – La Arrolladora Banda El Limón
18. “Adicto a la Tristeza” – Banda La Trakalosa ft. Pancho Uresti
19. “Indeleble” – Banda Los Sebastianes
20. “Tranquilito” – El Chapo de Sinaloa

¡Adios!
“Lo Hiciste Otra Vez” – Arrolladora
“El Que Se Enamora Pierde” – Banda Carnaval
“Tiene Espinas El Rosal” – Grupo Cañaveral De Humberto Pabón ft. Jenny and the Mexicats

¡Nuevo! (starring Retoños del Rio, LOS! BuiTRES!, y más)

retonos

¡Bienvenidos a la nueva semana musical! It’s really slow! So slow that the highest profile albums overall, judging by Spotify’s home page, are the 50 Shades soundtrack — which, who knows, maybe it’s really good — and Ricky Martin’s new one. I’ve lost track of Martin since 2011, when his album Musica Alma Sexo was a sorry disaster. Checking my notes from that year, Martin’s album was slightly worse than a spottily recorded live reissue by Emerson Lake & Palmer, but somewhat better than contemporary work by The Aquabats! and Triumph Of Lethargy Skinned Alive To Death. (The latter sums up my feelings after hearing Keith Emerson play a keyboard solo.)

This week’s pick to click is the latest single by Retoños del Rio, “Por Que La Engañe” (Goma). It’s got an Intocablish country bounce, busy fills, and a jagged riff played by both accordion and saxophone. Retoños hail from the central state of Zacatecas, where the “puro Zacatecas sax” is a thing.

In fact, Goma would also like you to enjoy some puro Zacatecas sax from a different band, Capitanes de Ojinaga. Their “Cuando Quieras Llorar” could be Conjunto Primavera if you don’t play attention too closely, right down to the sax and the opulent ring in the singer’s voice. (Primavera’s from Chihuahua, where they enjoy some puro Chihuahua sax. Musicological comparison is forthcoming.)

The fellows in La Fe Norteña are not on Goma, but they are still puro Zacatecas sax and they claim they are “Adicto a Usted,” you poor thing. La Fe have a disease and you shouldn’t enable it.

“Indeleble,” the latest banda ballad by Banda Los Sebastianes, is anything but.

(Part way into this new Ricky Martin, it’s at least listenable if not indeleble. He croons, he croons.)

los buitresThis week’s highest profile album is from LOS! BuiTRES! de Culiacán Sinaloa, their second volume of… well, I’ll let you intuit from the title, Tributo al Mas Grande Chalino Sanchez, Vol. 2 (Music VIP Entertainment). Chalino, of course, was the second act to break narcocorridos inside El Norte. Following in the paw prints of Los Tigres, he was altogether less respectable, both in his subject matter and in his we’ll say casual approach to traditional standards of musical quality. But he was a real man of the people, the people having paid him cash to set their stories to music, which he then sold on cassettes at swap meets. Quite the motherfucker, Chalino. His heirs LOS! BuiTRES! have displayed a similarly slapdash approach to their music, but they’re super productive and occasionally produce work of startling ambition and/or catchiness. So far this Tributo hasn’t startled me, but it does have me wondering what Jorge Cazares accomplished. Pura raza.

Los IntocablesAnd finally, two reissues I’m including here because I like their covers: a self-titled album from Los Intocables Del Norte (RCA), who are not Intocable;

juan montoyaand Juan Montoya’s apparently explicit Mi Ultimo Refugio (Platonia), which has some electric guitar to go with its corrido bounce.

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