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Desfile de Éxitos 12/24/16

omar_ruiz_el_quesito

Since NorteñoBlog last checked Billboard‘s Latin charts, the magazine has decided to give us all a gift: the website is now posting 20 more spots on its Regional Mexican airplay chart. There you will find such curiosities as:

Marco Antonio Solis crooning about a lying mujer while swathed in a toga of strings and synths (#29);

— a previous Pick to Click from Fuerza de Tijuana, about a former honcho in the Medellín Cartel (#31);

— more chipper puro sax bands than you can shake a slimy mouthpiece at (#23, #30, and #32) — all of them ruled by the saxophone colossus at #18, La Maquinaria Norteña;

— and even more clones of Ariel Camacho. Am I alone in thinking The Clones of Ariel Camacho would make a great Univision variety show? TWENTY SUPER SERIOUS YOUNG REQUINTO PLAYERS SING OF DEATH AND LOST LOVE, Omar Burgos furiously triple-tongues his tuba whenever someone gets voted off, and everyone forgets the names of their second guitarists. Could work. In any case, Nano Machado, Los de la Noria, Los Plebes, and Ulices Chaidez are all representing Sierreño music in the bottom 20, and Chaidez has two additional songs in the overall Hot Latin top 50. This fountain of youth isn’t drying up any time soon.

Also brightening up the bottom 20 is another dude who fooled around with Sierreño earlier in 2016: Adriel Favela, whose “Tomen Nota,” a duet with Los Del Arroyo, was a credible candidate for Wristwatch Porn Video of the Year. Continue reading “Desfile de Éxitos 12/24/16”

Desfile de Éxitos 11/5/16

el-bebeto-muscle

In the month that NorteñoBlog has been on involuntary sabbatical (short story: a mind-scrambling vortex of appointments and work stuff leavened by a beloved houseguest and foster kittens and APPLE PICKING!!!), Billboard‘s Latin charts have gone through Ozzy-level changes. For one thing, there’s a new #1: Daddy Yankee‘s one-take tossed-off “Shaky Shaky,” long a favorite of the blog, has turned into a viral sensation and received a final boost from a remix. For his part, Sr. Yankee aims to please. He tells Billboard, “The fans are already requesting a new track based on the ‘hula hoop’ hook from the remix, which we are going to release in the near future.” I think I speak for Yankee’s entire fan base when I say, “That’s not exactly what we meant, but OK!” The world needs more of two things: 1) answer songs, and 2) songs that become hits by accident. Although now that I think about it, the one precludes the other…

In other news, two death bumps have stopped bumping: the recent, short-lived Juan Gabriel bump, which began the week after the Mexican legend shuffled off to the liberally mascaraed land of amor eterno; and the longer-lived Ariel Camacho bump, which had been bumping for more than a year after the young guitarist’s death, spawning the ancillary Los Plebes del Rancho wave. All of Gabriel’s songs have dropped off the chart — see the impressive list down below in the “¡Adios!” section — and Los Plebes are down to one song, “No Lo Hice Bien,” that began as an internet phenomenon and has now transitioned to a radio hit.

ulices-chaidez-albumBut Camacho’s not totally gone — his fleet fingers have left their prints all over radio and internet. You can hear his influence in the teenaged Sierreño-with-tuba trio Ulices Chaidez y Sus Plebes — hmmm, wonder where they got that name — who were quickly picked up by Camacho’s label DEL Records. To further confuse or simplify matters, Los Plebes’ hotshot tubist Omar Burgos is now one of Chaidez’s Plebes. Chaidez, Burgos, and rhythm guitarist Mario Arredondo are charting with two songs: the machete-fetishizing “Andamos en el Ruedo,” a previous Pick to Click, and the decent lovey dovey ballad “Porque Me Enamore.” Like Camacho, Chaidez balances his gangster boasts with heartfelt romantic squints; also like Camacho, the gangster boasts are way more fun. Both songs appear on Chaidez’s debut album Andamos en el Ruedo, which NorteñoBlog totally needs to hear.

Down at #20 on the Regional Mexican airplay chart we find the no-longer-teenaged El Bebeto also hopping a ride aboard the Sierreño-with-tuba rickshaw. When NorteñoBlog last caught up with El Bebeto, who in real life is a grown man, it was to admire his norteño whiskey commercial “Etiqueta Azul,” which has been getting play on Mexican radio. Bebeto’s U.S. hit is the equally good “Cómo Olvidarte,” which is romantic drivel but doesn’t get all fussy about it. Tuba and requinto sound like they’re getting paid scale for a job well done, and Bebeto and his high harmony singer emote just as much as is necessary. A very easy listening Pick to Click:

el-bebeto-no-que-noBoth songs appear on Bebeto’s new album No Que No (Banda y Tololoche) (Disa), whose cover depicts our wary knight scowling through his emotional armor, riding across the desert with a fine Arab charger. Singular excursions aside, it’s a pretty straightforward banda pop album, and it may prove to be El Bebeto’s best since his 2011 debut. VALE LA PENA at least.

Other things to note:

The continent’s best singer Julión Álvarez continues his slide into arena showbiz stodge with a wordy Joss Favela number, “Afuera Esta Lloviendo”;

the continent’s hardest working singles artist El Komander hits with “El Mexico Americano,” one of his best new tunes (and previous P2C);

regulo-caro-en-estosand Regulo Caro, one of the people on the continent most resembling a cousin of Gerardo Ortiz, is back with the title song of his new album En Estos Dias (DEL), which NorteñoBlog totally needs to hear. The song is a slow, long reflection on prison life that sounds like it was written and recorded in real prison time. As I listened I found myself drawing involuntary hashmarks on the wall.

These are the top 50 Hot Latin Songs and top 20 Regional Mexican Songs, courtesy Billboard, as published November 5.

1. “Shaky Shaky” – Daddy Yankee
2. “Hasta El Amanecer” – Nicky Jam (41 weeks!)
3. “Duele El Corazón” – Enrique Iglesias ft. Wisin
4. “La Bicicleta” – Carlos Vives & Shakira
5. “Otra Vez” – Zion & Lennox ft. J Balvin
6. “Chillax” – Farruko ft. Ky-Mani Marley
7. “Safari” – J Balvin ft. Pharrell Williams, BIA & Sky
8. “Bailar” – Deorro ft. Elvis Crespo
9. “Vente Pa’ Ca” – Ricky Martin ft. Maluma
10. “Tengo Que Colgar” – Banda MS (#2 RegMex)

11. “Nunca Me Olvides” – Yandel
12. “La Carretera” – Prince Royce
13. “Amor del Bueno” – Calibre 50 (#3 RegMex)
14. “Ya Me Enteré” – Reik
15. “Me Vas a Extrañar” – Banda MS (#1 RegMex)
16. “Bobo” – J Balvin
17. “Te Dirán” – La Adictiva Banda (#5 RegMex)
18. “Fuego” – Juanes
19. “De Pies a Cabeza” – Maná & Nicky Jam
20. “Yo Si Me Enamoré” – La Séptima Banda (#1 RegMex)

21. “Sin Contrato” – Maluma ft. Fifth Harmony
22. “Quien Te Entiende” – Crecer German (#12 RegMex)
23. “Si No Te Quiere” – Ozuna ft. Arcangel & Farruko
24. “En Estos Dias” – Regulo Caro (#11 RegMex)
25. “Vacaciones” – Wisin
26. “Dile Que Tu Me Quieres” – Ozuna
27. “Sola” – Becky G
28. “Cuatro Babys” – Maluma ft. Bryant Myers x Noriel x Juhn
29. “Afuera Esta Lloviendo” (#10 RegMex) – Julión Álvarez y su Norteño Banda
30. “Deja Que Te Bese” – Alejandro Sanz ft. Marc Anthony

31. “Yo Sí Te Amé” – Arrolladora (#6 RegMex)
32. “Pa’ Que Me Invitan” – Jencarlos ft. Charly Black
33. “Cómo Te Llamas” – La Trakalosa de Monterrey (#7 RegMex)
34. “No Es Normal” – Cheyo Carrillo (#8 RegMex)
35. “Si Ella Quisiera” – Justin Quiles
36. “Tú No Vive Así” – Mambo Kingz & DJ Luian presenta Arcangel x Bad Bunny
37. “Traicionera” – Sebastián Yatra
38. “Quisiera” – CNCO
39. “Andamos en el Ruedo” – Ulices Chaidez y Sus Plebes
40. “Como Sanar” – Frank Reyes

41. “Tú y Yo” – Tommy Torres ft. Daddy Yankee
42. “Amorcito Enfermito” – Hector Acosta “El Torito”
43. “¿Desde Cuándo No Me Quieres?” – Banda Carnaval (#8 RegMex)
44. “Porque Me Enamoré” – Ulices Chaidez y Sus Plebes
45. “Como No Queriendo” – Fidel Rueda
46. “Reggaeton Lento (Bailemos)” – CNCO
47. “Take It Off” – Lil Jon ft. Yandel & Becky G
48. “Acércate” – De La Ghetto
49. “El México Americano” – El Komander (#14 RegMex)
50. “Todo Es Diferente” – La Maquinaria Norteña (#12 RegMex)

¡Adios!
“Querida” – Juan Gabriel
“Hasta Que Te Conocí” – Juan Gabriel
“Así Fue” – Juan Gabriel
“Yo Te Recuerdo” – Juan Gabriel ft. Marc Anthony
“Abrazame Muy Fuerte” – Juan Gabriel
“Amor Eterno” – Juan Gabriel
“El Noa Noa” – Juan Gabriel
“La Frontera” – Juan Gabriel ft. Julión Álvarez & J Balvin
“Te Quise Olvidar” – Juan Gabriel ft. Alejandro Fernandez
“Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” – Juan Gabriel
“Ay Mi Dios” – IAmChino ft. Pitbull, Yandel & Chacal
“El Perdedor” – Maluma
“Algo Contigo” – Gente de Zona
“Imaginar” – Victor Manuelle and Yandel
“A Donde Voy” – Cosculluela ft. Daddy Yankee
“Vine a Decir” – Christian Daniel ft. Jerry Rivera
“Ella Y Yo” – Pepe Quintana ft. Farruko, Anuel AA, Tempo, Almighty, and Bryant Myers

—————–

4. “No Lo Hice Bien” – Los Plebes Del Rancho de Ariel Camacho
9. “Me Está Gustando” – Banda Los Recoditos

13. “Cicatriiices” – Regulo Caro
15. “Fuiste Mia” – Gerardo Ortiz
16. “A Ver a Que Horas” – Banda Carnaval
17. “Renunciacion” – Los Huracanes Del Norte
18. “Me Estorbas” – Pesado
19. “No Me Vas a Convencer” – Conjunto Primavera ft. Antonio Meléndez
20. “Cómo Olvidarte” – El Bebeto

¡Adios!
“Que Caro Estoy Pagando” – Los Plebes del Rancho de Ariel Camacho
“Como Quiera Sigo Vivo” – Los Rieleros del Norte
“A Los 18” – Kevin Ortiz ft. Beto Vega
“Me Gustas” – El Coyote y Su Banda
“Espero Con Ansias” – Remmy Valenzuela
“Si No Es Contigo” – Banda El Recodo
“Quiéreme (Ámame)” – Intocable (#13 RegMex)
“Todo o Nada” – Alfredo Olivas (#12 RegMex)
“Me Va a Pesar” – Arrolladora (#4 RegMex)

Keeping Up With El Komander

komander-cigar

When NorteñoBlog last checked in with Alfredo Ríos El Komander, it was right after el primero de enero and everyone was still pisteando. This is inexcusable. Komander is the premier singles artist of our time, as proven by the 21-song digital album El Komander 2015 Top 20 (Twiins), which showcases his tuba-driven norteño band. Under their fingers, the nerviest sentiments become off-the-cuff, and the silliest drinking songs swing like a hammer throw competition. Despite sounding like they’re inventing their music as they go, they rarely settle for less than consummate hooks and popcraft.

They also rarely stand still. Since that collection, Komander and his manos have released a bunch more songs. NorteñoBlog sleeps on them no longer!

komander-chefFirst up is “El Chef de las Cocinas,” in which Sr. Ríos introduces us to his stove. Turns out he runs a cracking meth biz in Sinaloa, where he can enjoy the fresh air while strolling through the hills surrounded by his army of ex-militia soldiers. His product is all locally sourced — “nada es ‘Made In China'” — and socially responsible, in that Komander doesn’t deal with people who are racist. I’m not ashamed to tell you I would vote El Komander’s meth operation for president over Donald Trump. Not that meth is so great, but Trump’s just a really low bar. Musically the song is an appealing but rote corrido, with most of its action coming from the tubist, who plays as a rock-hard extension of the drum kit, coordinating his hits and fills with the cymbals. VALE LA PENA

komander-mayitoWe move from there to some Mexican CNN type shit, or at least to some Hasty Cartel Googling. Continue reading “Keeping Up With El Komander”

Attack of the Teen Idols (Desfile de Éxitos 8/13/16)

ulices chaidez big

The world waits, selfie sticks and hair product poised and ready, for 20-year-old heartthrob Luis Coronel to release his next album. Uncharacteristically, NorteñoBlog will cut the guy some slack. Fielding a lawsuit from a former producer and going reggaetón would slow down anyone’s career. The last time I went reggaetón, the local barnyard animals went unmasturbated for months. It was chaos.

cheyo carrilloAfortunadamente, the job of “young dreamy norteño singer with enviable hair” is not so hard to fill, and this week’s charts have two hopefuls squeezing through the Coronel-shaped void. At #20 on the Regional Mexican radio chart is L.A.’s teen corridero Cheyo Carrillo, who rarely settles for the typical fade-with-fauxhawk look, instead coaxing volume and body with frightening abandon. As a pre-teen, his accordion skills landed him a gig with Los Bukanas de Culiacán, and then with El Komander. This got him noticed by Komander’s label bosses and noted amoral purveyors of candy everybody wants, the Valenzuela Twiins. NorteñoBlog slept on last year’s self-titled debut album (on Twiins-affiliated La Disco Music), which included an authoritative version of Komander’s “Soy de Rancho,” but desafortunadamente I haven’t made the same mistake with this new single, the romantic banda snooze “No Es Normal,” released by Fonovisa and written by industry lifer Adrian Pieragostino. The video features a young, apparently dorky woman who wears glasses but is secretly hot, and lots of slow motion chewing. The song features some rote brass charts. Es normal, pero NO ES VALE LA PENA. Continue reading “Attack of the Teen Idols (Desfile de Éxitos 8/13/16)”

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? 2/2/16

pequenos

ALERTA DE SPOILER: The following may reveal important plot twists from the latest Trakalosa video, a 10-minute saga called “Supiste Hacerme Mal.” (It’s at #7 this week.) Don’t say NorteñoBlog didn’t warn you.

(In other news: yes, Trakalosa videos now merit spoiler alerts.)

The latest radio hit by Edwin Luna and his banda Trakalosa de Monterrey is a study in domestic strife and scandalous romance. Basically, a young woman is planning to marry the two-timing novio of her wedding planner, whom said novio has been treating with cold distance. When the two women discover they love the same man at a reception tasting event, drama happens. So much drama. Edwin Luna turns in a characteristically intense, nostril-flarey performance as the novio in question; novela actriz Yulianna Peniche shows more range as the wedding planner. We’re already familiar with Luna’s boundless ambition — he’s started putting his name in front of his band’s — and scandalous romantic life — short take: Luna left his wife and son for the actress who directed this video, Alma Cero — but I’m not sure how much this not-entirely-flattering video trades on Luna’s IRL circumstances. Do fans see art imitating life?

Regardless of its tabloid inspiration, this isn’t another Muy Especial video in the vein of Trakalosa’s previous epic “Pregúntale” (#17), which boldly came out against wife-beating. There is no moral to be learned or lesson to be had here, unless it’s this pro tidbit for wedding planners: Always learn the name of the husband before drawing up a contract! This video is essentially clickbait, a way to drum up interest in an otherwise forgettable song (seriously, try humming a couple bars of “Supiste” — IT CAN’T BE DONE) and, I’m guessing, to boost Luna’s nascent acting career. He’s not a terrible actor, but I worry his neck tattoo will limit his choices. Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 2/2/16”

¡Nuevo! (starring Banda La Contagiosa, Beatriz Adriana, y más)

contagiosa hernandez

contagiosaBanda Los Recoditos has made a career of wild party songs fueled by alcohol and sex. We should all be so lucky. Now the Remex label has gotten in on the act with a new-ish band of merrymakers, Banda La Contagiosa, whose album La Fiesta Perfecta rang in el año nuevo. Founded in 2012, their Facebook page describes them as “Banda 100% sinaloense de musicos experimentados,” but I don’t hear the experimentation. They make everything go down so easy. The title singleis pleasantly quick, as is the duet with ex-Tigre del Norte and current mustache consultant Raúl Hernández. There’s also a cover of Codigo FN’s(and Recodo’s, and MS’s, and Ariel Camacho’s…) “Me Gustas Mucho,” and the whole thing ends with a token big dumb cumbia. “Efectos de Alcohol” — the main effect is that Banda La Contagiosa gets laid — is this week’s Pick to Click on the strength of some dramatic octave leaps in the chorus and a video that celebrates the visual glory of creation. Like most hangovers, este album es VALE LA PENA.

Continue reading “¡Nuevo! (starring Banda La Contagiosa, Beatriz Adriana, y más)”

¡Pisteando! (starring El Komander, Chuy Zuñiga, y más)

chuy zuniga

Forever seeking new ways to ring in the new year, NorteñoBlog first tried watching Chi-Town Rising, Chicago’s inaugural attempt to steal some of New York City’s televised thunder by running a glowing electronic star up the side of the Hyatt Regency. Unfortunately, NBC’s TV coverage was marred by the presence of congenial twit Mario Lopez and new Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Chicago (the horn-rock band) trying to rouse the crowd from their drunken stupor with a poorly mixed performance of “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” (Considering Chi-Town Rising was 30 seconds late with their countdown, I’m gonna say “no.”) Thoroughly depressed, I switched to ABC, only to discover it had been commandeered by hometown scourge The Vampire Strangler:

Happy New BLAGGGGHHHH!
Happy New BLAGGGGHHHH!

pisteaderaBut in the depths of my despair, a Buchanan’s-soaked hand reached down and encased mine in its sticky grip. Turns out El Komander understands the doldrums afforded by the flipping of the Gregorian calendar, so he released the stopgap album Pisteadera, Vol. 1 (Twiins) on December 30, right when his fans most needed to get pisteando. Continue reading “¡Pisteando! (starring El Komander, Chuy Zuñiga, y más)”

¡Feliz 2016! (y ¡Lo Mejor de 2015!)

2016-copia

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!)”

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