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Banda MS

Teoría de la Evolución (Desfile de Éxitos 2/11/17)

This week’s Pick to Click is right up front, so you can listen while you read about some… updates to Billboard magazine’s chart methodologies. Woo hoo! (Trust me, the song’s pretty.)

This week Billboard magazine changed the way it compiles some of its singles charts, including the Hot Latin chart. The magazine started including streaming data from Pandora, and it “rebalanced the ratio among sales, airplay and streaming, accounting for changes in music consumption patterns, i.e., increases in streaming and decreases in sales.” This rebalancing happens every once in a while, but figuring in the Pandora data is new. You might think we’d notice the Pandora effect on the Hot Latin chart, since Latin music is 11% of what gets streamed on Pandora, where 25% of users identify as Hispanic. It’s also worth noting that, in 2016, two thirds of Pandora’s most popular Latin songs were Regional Mexican, and that the list was dominated by hot young studs singing Sierreño: Ariel Camacho, Los Plebes del Rancho, Crecer Germán, and Adriel Favela‘s genre foray “Tomen Nota.” Teen idols taking over!

ulices-chaidez-smolderingBut if you compare this week’s chart with the one from three weeks ago (or with last week’s), not much seems to have changed. Shakira’s “La Bicicleta” abruptly disappeared from its place in the top 10, and Banda MS‘s “Tengo Que Colgar” now appears only on the Regional Mexican Airplay chart. (Good! Whenever I stream that song it makes my phone run slower.) But on the whole, songs that were climbing before have continued their trajectory, some older songs have dropped off, and Regional Mexican still occupies eight of the top 25 spots, a consistent ratio in recent weeks. Hot young Sierreño stud Ulices Chaidez has two songs in the top 25 — but he did last week, too. So maybe this continuity simply means Billboard got its rebalance right, and that its charts reflect music as it’s actually listened to.

While we’re talking chart data, the Top Latin Albums chart also got an update: it switched from a sales-only formula to “a multi-metric methodology, blending pure album sales, track equivalent album (TEA) units, and streaming equivalent album (SEA) units.” (The big album chart, the Billboard 200, has done this for a while now.) This created much more dramatic changes from last week to this week, mostly in favor of artists whose fans skew younger. Continue reading “Teoría de la Evolución (Desfile de Éxitos 2/11/17)”

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 8/26/16

beto zapata

Much has changed on the Mexican airwaves since NorteñoBlog last tuned in over a month ago. The former #1 song, a heartbroken sob story of romantic grief and brassy bereftitude by Arrolladora, has given way to a different heartbroken sob story of romantic grief and brassy bereftitude, this time by Banda MS. And everyone knows that Arrolladora ballads are ace slow jams with rhythm sections full of coiled tension, while MS ballads drip like the discharge from festering sores. It’s all there in the music!

dos monedasFurther down, two Remex Records acts have replaced themselves on the radio with remakes. The more notable is ace flarer-of-nostrils Edwin Luna and his banda of second fiddlers, La Trakalosa. Given our troubled and uncertain times on both sides of the Great Wall of Trump, NorteñoBlog finds comfort in watching Luna grimace his way through another extravagant video meant to highlight his perennially nascent acting chops. (He acts in both color and black and white!) No hay nada nuevo bajo el sol. “Dos Monedas” was previously a hit for Ramón Ayala, and it was written by Jesse Armenta — You know him! He wrote some political barnburners for Los Tigres, including “El Circo,” thus winning himself a chapter in the book Narcocorrido — and it’s another heartbroken sob story.

Only this sob story is not at all romantic; it’s closer to “The Christmas Shoes” or some shit. The narrator is an abusive drunk. One cold and wintry night he sends his son out to beg for money to support the family booze fund. The next morning he opens the door to find sonny boy dead, both frozen and starved, holding in his small frozen starved hands the “dos monedas” of the title. All our children should be so dedicated! The narrator, no fool, sees a moral in this story, as does Edwin Luna, whose unconvincing portrayal of the drunk ends by approximating sadness. But Luna over-emotes his songs like nobody else, a good thing, and the arrangement makes this the cheeriest tune about filicide since “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” ¡VALE LA PENA! Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 8/26/16”

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 7/26/16

Pablo Montero (Photo by Rodrigo Varela/WireImage)
Pablo Montero (Photo by Rodrigo Varela/WireImage)

Three so-so tunes replace three other so-so tunes on the Mexican radio chart this week — although to be honest, given the choice of Banda MS‘s new nondescript quiet storm “Tengo Que Colgar” or “¿Por Qué Me Habrás Besado?”, the duet by Edith Márquez and Julión Álvarez now leaving the chart, I’d choose the latter in a second. It’s a little showbizzy, but hearing those two voices locked in a tremulous battle for command atop a dancing tuba, ruthlessly interrogating one another’s kissing choices, I fear I’ve been underrating it. Sorry to see you go, Edith and Julión, you old limón labios! And what the heck, Pick to Click! This gesture may be too little too late, a bit like Senator Mark Kirk declining to endorse Donald Trump for president, but at least it’ll assuage my guilt.

Also new and nondescript is veteran ranchero de amor Pablo Montero (speaking of charros), at #15 with the promotional tie-in single to his real-life divorce, “Tú No Eres.” Montero hit the novela and music scenes back in the early years of this century, piercing souls with his smoldering gaze and equally smoldering voice. Sometimes mentioned alongside his fellow second-generation romantics Alejandro Fernández and Pepe Aguilar, his music career never hit the same heights as theirs, though he did work with the prolific producer and writer Rudy Pérez. His biggest hit was one such collaboration, 2002’s “Hay Otra En Tu Lugar,” which you’ll find either impossibly lovely or impossibly cheesy, depending on which stage of grief you occupy. Later in 2002 Billboard mentioned Montero had collaborated with Los Twiins, the California producers who’ve shaped the sounds of 21st Century banda and corridos as much as anyone, but I can’t figure out whether Montero released any music from those sessions.

Over on the “Spins” chart — which means it’s getting played by DJs a bunch, but not to big radio audiences yet — the tuba sextet Impacto Sinaloense scores with the romantic boast “Rompimos las Reglas”. It seems Impacto and their mujer are hooking up in covert fashion whenever and wherever circumstances will allow. Singer Alex Morales is understandably excited about this, leading his voice to fly free of the beat on the word “adrenalina,” a chorus hook so notable the band repeats the chorus the second time through — in a genre committed to brevity, it’s a lavish musical gesture. Although, like Impacto’s illicit hookups, the song still lasts less than three minutes. Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 7/26/16”

Desfile de Éxitos 6/18/16

regulo caro

With a weary sigh of resignation, NorteñoBlog supposes it’s time to discuss “CicatrIIIces.” (That particular alternate spelling is cooler than the official “Cicatrices”; it also beats YouTube’s “Cicatriiices,” which just looks like someone at DEL was pisteando when they typed it.) The song is already Regulo Caro’s biggest U.S. chart hit, up this week to #11 on the Hot Latin chart and #2 on Regional Mexican airplay, where the DJs hit the “CicatrIVces” button more often than they should. That’s the same radio peak as Caro’s previous, superior hit “Soltero Disponible.” Both songs come from the lovelorn imagination of Omar Tarazón, who wrote “CicatrVces” in collaboration with new songwriter Maria Fernanda Diaz. (Here she is dining with Regulo’s cousin Gerardo Ortiz.)

“CicatrVIces” is fine for what it is: a swinging midtempo “don’t kiss me ’cause it’ll hurt” ballad, along the lines of Jake Owen’s “Alone With You.” The brass chart uses colorful and elaborate shifts in a way that fairly screams “POST-TWIINS BANDA.” But “CicatrVIIces” doesn’t spark and pop like the nasty “Soltero.” Its lyric and jaunty swing rhythm are too polite, so the normally badass Caro sounds like he’s licking his wounds rather than showing off his scars. He seems to recognize this — the action-packed “CicatrVIIIces” video shows him and his mujer robbing a diner Pulp Fiction-style, as though to compensate for the song playing overhead. It beats the Chili Peppers’ “Scar Tissue,” but praise doesn’t get any fainter than that.

“CicatrIXces” = NO VALE LA PENA Continue reading “Desfile de Éxitos 6/18/16”

Calibre 50 En la Jukebox

prestamela

En 2014 todos menos uno de los críticos en la Singles Jukebox les gustó la canción “Qué Tiene de Malo,” pero no esto tiempo. “Préstamela a Mí” de Calibre 50 inspiró amor, aversión, y indiferencia. No por nada es la canción un #1 sencillo en ambos México y El Norte. Escucho una letra ofensiva, sí, pero tambien una letra que exagera la infamia para hacer un punto. ¿Qué es el punto? No sé… tal vez “los hombres son pendejos.” Usted lo sabía.

Escribí:

While his rhythm section lurches like a Frankenstein monster wielding breath spray, Eden Muñoz goes full Eddie Cornelius on how to treat your angry mujer like a lady. Have you considered kissing her feet and feeding her ice cream? Muñoz is a smart enough writer that I’m convinced he’s kidding, in the Randy Newman sense, and that “Préstamela a Mí” is pointing and laughing at the many paternalistic manos surrounding Calibre on the radio. I mean, just this week you’ve got Gerardo Ortiz offering “Millones de Besos” instead of, you know, talking; Chuy Lizarraga kicking himself for succumbing to the kisses of a devious mujer; and the loathsome Banda MS wondering why all those kisses weren’t enough to make her stay. I can only imagine the stifling fog of their breath-sprayed BS, and I’d like to think Calibre points and laughs a way through it.

Desfile de Éxitos 5/21/16

Daddy-Yankee-Cortada1

It’d be hard to top last week’s spate of three-count-’em-three norteño debuts on the Hot Latin chart, including new songs from Arrolladora (this week at #28), Los Gfez (#36), and Hijos de Barrón (#47). But if you enjoy boring banda ballads, Norteñoblog has just the songs for you!

At #29, the week’s highest debut of any genre comes from Banda MS and their song “Me Vas a Extrañar,” which has been waltzing its sad tale of love gone wrong across Mexico for a couple weeks. Banda MS continues to be wildly, inexplicably popular. Their earlier hit “Solo Con Verte” just notched its 26th week on the U.S. Hot Latin chart, with no sign of slowing down: it’s still at #4, and this week it boasts the biggest gains in streams and digital sales. After half a year! I mean, as boring banda ballads go, “Solo Con Verte” is decent, but that’s sort of like calling John Kasich the standout candidate in the most recent Republican presidential primary. The field was not exactly an embarrassment of riches. (Other kinds of embarrassment, definitely.) But this comparison might be inapposite anyway, because John Kasich’s YouTube numbers are way below Banda MS’s.

At #48, the second banda debut is the title waltz from Recoditos’ latest album Me Está Gustando. Sung by Samuel Sarmiento, its video features not one but two inappropriate workplace romances and the band’s other lead vocalist, Luis Angel Franco, wearing a construction helmet. Sharpen those slash fiction pencils!

The debuts on the Regional Mexican radio chart are a little better. Continue reading “Desfile de Éxitos 5/21/16”

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 5/3/16

bien servida

Welcome to the Mexican charts, where change, as my cosmetic podiatrist likes to say, is afoot. Although it’s been several weeks since NorteñoBlog tuned in to the Mexican radio, the rate of turnover feels much quicker there than in El Norte. For example, check out the norteño and banda songs that have been hanging around the charts the longest:

U.S. Hot Latin:
#19 – “Ya Te Perdí La Fe” by Arrolladora, 26 weeks
#4 – “Solo Con Verte” by Banda MS, 25 weeks
#13 – “Broche de Oro” by Trakalosa, 24 weeks
#14 – “Tomen Nota” by Adriel Favela ft. Los Del Arroyo, 20 weeks
#19 – “DEL Negociante” by Los Plebes del Rancho de Ariel Camacho, 20 weeks

Mexican Popular:
#8 – “Tragos de Alcohol” by El Komander, 14 semanas
#13 – “Préstamela a Mí” by Calibre 50, 14 semanas
#17 – “El Borrachito” by Julión Álvarez, 14 semanas
#7 – “Espero Con Ansias” by Remmy Valenzuela, 13 semanas
#12 – “María” by Pepe Aguilar, 11 semanas

I know what you’re thinking: the Mexican list is way better, and not just because you’re sick of all the U.S. songs after five months! You’re right, but that quality judgment is probably just a coincidence. (And one that doesn’t account for NorteñoBlog’s fave wristwatch porn jam “Tomen Nota.”) You might also be thinking these two charts aren’t equivalent, because Hot Latin measures radio plus streams plus downloads, whereas the Mexican Popular chart only measures radio. Verdadero; but if you check out Billboard‘s radio-only Regional Mexican chart, the U.S. songs have charted for roughly the same amount of time, give or take a week, plus you find Adictiva’s certified 37-weeker “Después de Ti, ¿Quién?”, a real tantric filibuster. Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 5/3/16”

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 4/12/16

horacio palencia

The sometime sociopaths in ¡LOS! BuiTRES! (at #19) couldn’t do it — not even singing a tune by tubthumper de amor Horacio Palencia. Neither could Banda MS, in at #18 with their second slo-mo slow dance on the chart. You might think it inevitable that Banda el Recodo would get the job done, but #4 “Inevitable” isn’t the tune.

Nope: none of this week’s Mexican chart debuts possesses the indescribable and unquantifiable blend of moxy, verve, hooks, indelible vocal timbre and/or inventive instrumental work needed to claim the coveted title of NorteñoBlog Pick to Click.

The Mexican top 20 isn’t a total wasteland. Alfredo Olivas‘s pick from two weeks ago sits atop the chart, and Remmy Valenzuela‘s terrific #3 power ballad just entered the U.S. Hot Latin chart at #49. (Speaking of which, the U.S. charts don’t have any good new songs either. Not even “Cicatriiices,” Regulo Caro‘s bouncy ode to scarred hearts, Pulp Fiction crime sprees, and unusual spelling conventions. Ayiyi.) Readers with paternalistic messiah complexes might want to check out Pepe Aguilar at #17. Readers with drinking problems should stay as far as possible from Banda Tierra Sagrada at #12. Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 4/12/16”

¡Nuevo! (Starring Kevin Ortiz, El Fantasma, y más)

el fantasma

EL FANTASMAOut of the dusty wilds of Instagram floats the apparition of a scratchy-voiced corridero and his Sierreño band, Equipo Armado. With a name like El Fantasma, you might expect to find little information on this guy, and you’d be right. El Fantasma is thoroughly frustrating NorteñoBlog’s Googling skills. But think of it this way: when a phantasmagorical Leonardo DiCaprio clawed his way back from bear death in Revenant: El Renacido, did his adversaries start Googling to find out who he was, or did they simply marvel at his acting chops and physical endurance? Before he killed them all, I mean. If I had seen that movie I would humbly submit that the frontier fur trappers did NOT use Google, they simply marveled and died, and so does NorteñoBlog marvel at the chops on display in El Fantasma’s debut album Equipo Armado (AfinArte). Like Los Plebes del Rancho, still going strong a year after Ariel Camacho’s death, Armado features flashy lead requinto effects set against rhythm guitar and a tubist who can’t decide whether he’s playing lead or bass, so he plays both at once. A banda (Banda Los Populares Del Llano?) joins El Fantasma for the final five tunes, and the album sounds better if you accidentally listen to it on shuffle, because then the Sierreño gets all mixed up with the banda. Check out lead single “Mi 45,” in which Fantasma: El Renacido actually shows us his 45. But don’t let your kids watch it.
VALE LA PENA

La-Original-Banda-El-Limon-Con-Julio-Preciado-Mas-Original-Que-Nunca-Disco-2015Almost a year ago, noted national anthem mangler Julio Preciado released a single with La Original Banda El Limón. La Original, you’ll remember, is cladistically related to unstoppable hitmakers La Arrolladora Banda El Limón, having sprung from the common ancestor Banda el Limón sometime in the late Pleistocene. Continue reading “¡Nuevo! (Starring Kevin Ortiz, El Fantasma, y más)”

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