music, charts, opinions


Brazeros Musical

¡Feliz 2016! (y ¡Lo Mejor de 2015!)


Regional Mexican music had as good a year in 2015 as any other style of popular music, but you wouldn’t know it from any music magazine’s year-end coverage. This Mexican-American radio format is only one small musical laboratory within the vast complex of U.S. pop; but figured by their percentages, norteño, banda, cumbia, and Tejano bands released as many great, vibrant singles and albums as their peers in other popular music subgenres. Yet good luck finding this music on year-end lists. Even at Billboard, which provides the best English-language coverage of Mexican music, the list of Top 10 Latin Albums contains only one (very good) regional Mexican album, which came out in 2014. None of the magazine’s Top 10 Latin Songs represent Mexican regional styles. (Shoutout to the New York Times’ Ben Ratliff, though, for getting Remmy Valenzuela’s “¿Por Qué Me Ilusionaste?” into the paper of record.) And never mind year-end coverage — this fun, fascinating music rarely gets covered throughout the year in mainstream publications, although NPR and Annie Correal in the Times are notable exceptions. As is The Singles Jukebox, where Josh writes and where the editors and writers share an expansive definition of “pop.”

This is pop music, dammit! MILLIONS OF AMERICANS LISTEN TO IT.

(An appropriate YouTube playlist to accompany that claim.) Continue reading “¡Feliz 2016! (y ¡Lo Mejor de 2015!)”

¡Nuevo! (starring Calibre 50 and Brazeros Musical)

brazeros girl

intocable 2cAt NorteñoBlog as in life, there’s a handful of generally beloved artists who I wish I liked better, because I can hear what other people hear in their music and it just doesn’t do much for me. I’m thinking of Sleater Kinney, or Taylor Swift before I fell for her Red album (and then promptly fell away from 1989). Intocable may fall into this category as well — I just tried again with their 2008 album 2C (Capitol), and found it accomplished but meh. These artists have obvious talent but they’re a chore to put on; in the words of Half Japanese, they follow no direct line from my brain to my heart.

calibre historiasInto their company waltzes Calibre 50, whose new album Historias De La Calle (Andaluz/Sony) just debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s Latin Albums chart. Led by accordionist/singer/songwriter Eden Muñoz, Calibre plays with clarity and invention. They root half their repertoire in the classic templates of corridos and cumbias. Check out the new album’s lead song, “El Amor No Fue Pa’ Mi,” to hear a band that knows exactly how to shape a four-chord polka for maximum definition and novelty. This song is packed with more hooks — shared among singers, squeezebox, and sousaphone — than many full-length norteño albums. Pick to Click!

Continue reading “¡Nuevo! (starring Calibre 50 and Brazeros Musical)”

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