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Jonatan Sánchez

Fiesta Tercer Aniversario: LOS PICKS TO CLICK

alfredo olivas wary

Welcome to NorteñoBlog’s fourth year! As I survey the previous twelve months of radness, several themes emerge:

fantasmaSierreño is no longer a novelty. The guitar + tuba-or-bass style is now as prevalent as its country cousins, banda and accordion-based norteño. Although the style has existed for decades, you can trace its popularity back to the 2015 death of young singer-guitarist Ariel Camacho, which cemented sierreño as both young people’s music and a vehicle for pop hits. Two Camacho-related bands — Los Plebes del Rancho de Ariel Camacho and Ulices Chaidez y Sus Plebes — appear below, as do established norteño/banda stars Gerardo Ortiz and Remmy Valenzuela, jumping on the sierreño bandwagon with corridos and romantic ballads. One of the year’s biggest breakout stars, man-myth-legend El Fantasma, scored a long charting hit with the guitar corrido “Mi 45,” in the process becoming one of California’s most streamed Latin artists.

comere calladoGerardo Ortiz continues to dominate. You wouldn’t know it by looking at his album sales, but artistically, nobody in the genre had a better 2017. His sierreño-biting Comeré Callado album was a rebound from 2015’s disappointing Hoy Más Fuerte, with better songs and typically stunning band interplay. He was also featured on excellent norteño and bachata singles (see below), and notably did not release any videos showing him murdering women. I only accomplished one of those things.

La-Nueva-Onda-Norteña-V-Hell-Yea-2017-500x500Like Civil War reenactments and teen slasher movies, puro sax music will never die. The jaunty norteño subgenre, whose songs definitely do not all sound the same, continues to do several things well. It’s an excellent accompaniment to doing chores. Like freestyle, it pits bouncy uptempo music against bereft emo lyrics, to the benefit of both. And it pulls all kinds of other stuff — notably the huapango folk dance and alt-rockers Caifanes (see below) — into its deranged but happy orbit.

christian-nodalI wish I liked mariacheño and socially conscious corridos more than I do. Christian Nodal released an excellent, career-defining debut single, “Adios Amor,” and then followed it up with a boring but well-reviewed mariachi album. Calibre 50 released a heartfelt sigh of an immigration story, “Corrido de Juanito,” that meant a lot to some very smart people. Given the choice, though, I’d rather listen to the parade of reprehensible narcocorridos scattered below. Bands like La Nueva Rebelión draw swaggering energy from their illicit subject matter, turning narco music into a thrilling and paradoxically life-affirming force. Not that musicians can’t walk and chew gum at once — last year especially,
El Komander succeeded with both kinds of stories.

la villarrealWhere are all the women? I’m sorry to say, this is one area where the Blog seems to be getting worse, not better, and I’m not sure if it’s my fault or the industry’s. This year the Blog enjoyed singles by Alicia Villarreal (her album La Villarreal is way better mariachi pop than Nodal’s), Lucero, Diana Reyes, and Chiquis Rivera, but didn’t Pick to Click them, simply because there was better stuff those particular weeks. The latest countrified album from blog fave Laura Denisse was more of a chore than her last one, although it may be growing on me (and I just saw she has a Christmas album! Must research…). Los Horóscopos have been MIA lately. As Victoria ‘La Mala’ has pointed out, Mexican regional music remains a man’s world — the sheer amount of music produced by men overwhelms that of the women. That said, the year’s most exciting new voice belonged to Ángela Aguliar, who showed rich confidence on two wonderful duets with her father Pepe. (See below.)

Anyway, here they are: the past year’s worth of Picks to Click. Thanks for reading, and happy listening!

11/17/16: “Que Perrón” by La Séptima Banda
A big dumb cumbia ode to the modern world’s sexually assertive mujeres. As you might expect, such mujeres make La Séptima Banda very happy, especially the dude in the middle of the song who sheepishly admits, “I’m ugly.”

12/2/16: “Traigo Ganas de Pistiar” by Escuela de Rancho, Los Orejones de la Sierra, y La Bandeña
It scarcely matters what the song “Traigo Ganas” is about. I mean, I know it’s about getting drunk — the song opens with the sound of cans being cracked open, and anyway, I’m sure you’ve met low brass players — but what matters is the stupendous way this makeshift octo-quin-trio makes you feel all giddy and swivelly by jumping from one part of the song to the next.
Continue reading “Fiesta Tercer Aniversario: LOS PICKS TO CLICK”

Los Jóvenes Sónicos (Desfile de Éxitos 3/25/17)

el fantasma

The unlikeliest song on this week’s hit parade is “Mi 45,” by man-myth-legend and all around mysterious dude El Fantasma. In the year since NorteñoBlog first dug this ghostly apparition’s indie debut album, Equipo Armado (AfinArte), we have learned a couple things about him. First, that his real name is Alexander García. Second, that he’s known as “El Rey Del Underground,” if only to his madre. Third, that he’s playing my neck of the woods this weekend, so if you’re near Chicago and you wanna hear some ace corridos, check out his Facebook page. Fourth… actually, that’s it. El Fantasma keeps everything close to the vest.

mi 45Including, it turns out, his 45. This hit corrido, #35 on the big chart and #20 on the radio, has inspired a round of Hasty Cartel Googling that hasn’t yielded much, except that El Fantasma’s narrator is somehow involved in the Sinaloa Cartel. He’s still firm with El Chapo’s sons Ivan and Alfredito, whose Instagram personas out-smarm the Trump brothers’. He may be hiding out in the wilderness with his 45, biding his time or doomsday prepping. NorteñoBlog also can’t tell why the song’s hitting now — hometown pride? riding the Sierreño wave? — or even which version is the hit — the fiery guitar/tuba original, or the just-wild-enough banda remake? El Fantasma: still an international man of mystery!

A belated Pick to Click:

Continue reading “Los Jóvenes Sónicos (Desfile de Éxitos 3/25/17)”

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 2/28/15

chuy lizarraga

Another chart, another week of being contigo and living contigo and dancing cont– what? What’s that? YOU SAY THAT AFTER 41 WEEKS, “BAILANDO” IS NO LONGER NUMBER 1?

[Cue Star Wars clips of the Death Star blowing up, cheesy computer-animated intergalactic societies dancing and partying in its wake. Despair sets in when we realize they’re dancing to a steel drum version of “Bailando.”]

That’s right, Enrique and the gang have been replaced by Maná and Shakira singing a bit of tissue paper called “Mi Verdad.” Say what you want about “Bailando” — and no, I cannot prove it was part of a North Korean plot to make Americans voluntarily destroy all our broadcast technology — but at least it’s memorable. A good teaching tool! If it weren’t for millions of Youtube viewers confirming “Mi Verdad” actually exists, I’d have my doubts.

Don’t shed too many tears for Enrique, though — he’s climbing at #12 on a Nicky Jam track, and anyway, “Bailando” simply moves down to #2, just ahead of the 82-week-old “Propuesta Indecente.” (“Bailando” has always been at war with “Propuesta Indecente.”) King Romeo’s doing OK, too. With his new song “Hilito” climbing to #13, Romeo Santos is getting perilously close to having four songs in the top 10 again. Speaking of which, the Singles Jukebox just covered his duet with Marc Anthony; Jonathan Bogart suggests, “The alleged woman at the center of the lyric is entirely absent: Marc and Romeo spend the entire song preening for and performing at each other, not her.”

Among this week’s new entries, the Pick to Click is Chuy Lizarraga’s banda ballad “Se Me Sigue Notando.” Calling it dramatic is like calling an Applebee’s cocktail watered down, but Lizarraga achieves his drama through the confident relaxation of his pacing. Like, the song’s really slow? And Lizarraga doesn’t seem to care, and in fact he wants you to wonder when the next phrase is going to hit. Just slow down and accept that Chuy knows what he’s doing, and your mind will open to a new realm of romantic despair. (Today’s gringo country comparison is Jamey Johnson.)

These are the top 25 Hot Latin Songs and top 20 Regional Mexican Songs, courtesy Billboard, as published Feb. 28.

1. “Mi Verdad” – Maná ft. Shakira
2. “Bailando” – Enrique ft. Descemer Bueno, Gente de Zona, & the word “contigo” (48 WEEKS OLD)
3. “Propuesta Indecente” – Romeo Santos (82 WEEKS OLD)
4. “Ay Vamos” – J Balvin
5. “Eres Mia” – Romeo Santos (49 WEEKS OLD)
6. “Travesuras” – Nicky Jam
7. “Yo También” – Romeo Santos ft. Marc Anthony
8. “Hablame de Ti” – Banda MS (#14 RegMex) (snoooooozzzzzz)
9. “Disparo Al Corazon” – Ricky Martin
10. “Eres Una Niña” – Gerardo Ortíz (#3 RegMex)

11. “Dime” – Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda (#6 RegMex)
12. “El Perdon” – Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias
13. “Hilito” – Romeo Santos
14. “Juntos (Together)” – Juanes
15. “Piensas (Dile La Verdad)” – Pitbull ft. Gente de Zona
16. “Levantando Polvadera” – Voz De Mando (#1 RegMex)
17. “Lejos De Aqui” – Farruko
18. “Soltero Disponible” – Regulo Caro (#5 RegMex)
19. “Lo Hiciste Otra Vez” – La Arrolladora Banda El Limón (#2 RegMex) (Oh dear, this is not good. Not just sap — meandering sap.)
20. “Qué Tiene De Malo” – Calibre 50 ft. El Komander (#13 RegMex)

21. “Adios” – Ricky Martin (BACK FROM THE DEAD THIRTIES)
22. “Fanatica Sensual” – Plan B
23. “Mi Princesa” – Remmy Valenzuela (#9 RegMex)
24. “Mi Vuelvo Un Cobarde” – Christian Daniel
25. “Contigo” – Calibre 50 (#19 RegMex)

¡Adios!
“Mi Vecinita” – Plan B
“Quédate Con Ella” – Natalia Jiménez (Sleek! Horns + electrobeats!)
“Soledad” – Don Omar

—————–

4. “Eres Tú” – Proyecto X
7. “No Te Vayas” – Fidel Rueda
8. “El Que Se Enamora Pierde” – Banda Carnaval
10. “Entonces Que Somos” – Banda El Recodo (A nada Luciano Luna ballad off Recodo’s 2013 album, now turned into a dramatic short film.)

11. “Javier El de Los Llanos” – Calibre 50
12. “El Karma” – Ariel Camacho y Los Plebes Del Rancho
15. “Y Vete Olvidando” – Javier Rosas
16. “Se Me Sigue Notando” – Chuy Lizarraga y Su Banda Tierra Sinaloense
17. “Mi Primera Vez” – Jonatan Sánchez
18. “Que Aun Te Amo” – Pesado
20. “El Amor de Nosotros” – Duelo

¡Adios!
“Perdoname Mi Amor” – Los Tucanes de Tijuana
“La Indicada” – Kevin Ortíz
“La Bala” – Los Tigres Del Norte
“Hasta Que Salga El Sol” – Banda Los Recoditos
“Y Asi Fue” – Julión Álvarez
“No Me Pidas Perdon” – Banda MS

Desfile de Éxitos 2/7/15

banda ms

Compared to how inert they’ve been, the charts are packed with action this week, almost as full as they’re packed with Romeo Santos. (To say nothing of Romeo’s leather pants!) The upper echelons are still barely moving, though. Weirdly enough, Banda MS has two sucky ballads in the Hot Latin top 10, which measures radio play, sales, and streams, but no songs in the Regional Mexican top 20, an airplay chart. The principles of detection point to a couple possibilities:

Possibility #1. Regional Mexican radio is cooling on Banda MS’s sucky ballads but said ballads still receive lots of support from sales (no data available) and streams (video #8 has 37 million views in three months, and video #9 has 101 million in eight months). This might mean Banda MS receives support from a broader fanbase than other regional Mexican artists, or it might just mean DJs are getting tired of the sucky ballads but fans aren’t. The websites of Chicago’s two regional Mexican stations sort of support this theory, since neither lists Banda MS’s sucky ballads among their top 10 songs. That’s a limited sample size, though, and the top 10 at WOJO “Qué Buena” bears little relation to current Billboard hits.

Possibility #2. Billboard uses a different set of stations to compile the Hot Latin chart than it does the Regional Mexican chart. Without knowing what those stations are, it’s hard to figure out what this might mean. Is it possible Banda MS are getting played on more general Latin stations, or even on Latin pop stations?

The Hot Latin top 10 does have one mover and shaker, although it moved and shook there already about a month ago. Bienvenido (DE NUEVO) to the newly bevideoed “Yo También” by King Romeo, may he live on this chart forever. And because it wouldn’t be fair for one man to clog up the top 10 with four songs that’ve been kicking around for at least half a year, we bid a fond adiós to “Odio,” El Rey’s duet with El Drake. But don’t worry! Romeo’s also down at #25 with a new one, “Hilito.”

Also farewell to J. Balvin’s “6 AM,” Victor Manuelle’s electro-salsa “Que Suenen Los Tambores,” Juan Luis Guerra’s song about besos, Banda Tierra Sagrada’s “Soy Un Desmadre,” and “Al Estilo Mafia” by the nomenclaturally gifted Saul “El Jaguar” ft. La Bandononona Clave Nueva de Max Peraza. In a move as inevitable as a broken heart, Julión Álvarez’s “Dime” graduates from the regional Mexican chart to #17 Hot Latin. Fresh faced Jonatan Sanchez, Gerencia 360’s attempt to grab some of that Luis Coronel money, enters the Regional Mexican chart with “Mi Primera Vez.” I won’t attempt to tell you whether new songs by Chuy Lizarraga, Los Tucanes, and Banda Carnaval are actually NEW.

These are the top 25 Hot Latin Songs and top 20 Regional Mexican Songs, courtesy Billboard, as published Feb. 7.

1. “Bailando” – Enrique ft. Descemer Bueno, Gente de Zona, & the word “contigo” (45 WEEKS OLD)
2. “Ay Vamos” – J Balvin
3. “Propuesta Indecente” – Romeo Santos (79 WEEKS OLD)
4. “Yo También” – Romeo Santos ft. Marc Anthony
5. “Eres Mia” – Romeo Santos (46 WEEKS OLD)
6. “Travesuras” – Nicky Jam
7. “Eres Una Niña” – Gerardo Ortíz (#1 RegMex)
8. “Hablame de Ti” – Banda MS (snoooooozzzzzz)
9. “No Me Pidas Perdon” – Banda MS
10. “Y Asi Fue” – Julión Álvarez (#13 RegMex) (Is this man the best banda singer around right now? Or should we forget the qualifier?)

11. “Qué Tiene De Malo” – Calibre 50 ft. El Komander (#7 RegMex)
12. “Levantando Polvadera” – Voz De Mando (#2 RegMex)
13. “Soltero Disponible” – Regulo Caro (#3 RegMex)
14. “Mi Princesa” – Remmy Valenzuela (#4 RegMex)
15. “Soledad” – Don Omar
16. “Lejos De Aqui” – Farruko
17. “Dime” – Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda (#14 RegMex)
18. “Piensas (Dile La Verdad)” – Pitbull ft. Gente de Zona
19. “El Karma” – Ariel Camacho y Los Plebes Del Rancho (#10 RegMex)
20. “Javier El de Los Llanos” – Calibre 50 (#6 RegMex)

21. “Mi Vuelvo Un Cobarde” – Christian Daniel
22. “Quédate Con Ella” – Natalia Jiménez (Sleek! Horns + electrobeats!)
23. “Mi Vecinita” – Plan B
24. “Lo Hiciste Otra Vez” – La Arrolladora Banda El Limón (#5 RegMex) (Oh dear, this is not good. Not just sap — meandering sap.)
25. “Hilito” – Romeo Santos

—————–

8. “Eres Tú” – Proyecto X
9. “Entonces Que Somos” – Banda El Recodo (A nada Luciano Luna ballad off Recodo’s 2013 album, now turned into a dramatic short film.)

11. “Hasta Que Salga El Sol” – Banda Los Recoditos
12. “La Bala” – Los Tigres Del Norte
15. “No Te Vayas” – Fidel Rueda
16. “La Indicada” – Kevin Ortíz
17. “Perdoname Mi Amor” – Los Tucanes de Tijuana
18. “El Que Se Enamora Pierde” – Banda Carnaval
19. “Mi Primera Vez” – Jonatan Sánchez
20. “Se Me Sigue Notando” – Chuy Lizarraga y Su Banda Tierra Sinaloense

¡Nuevo!

jonatan-sanchez-mi-primera-vez-1024x1024

Say what you will about Disa Records — and no, I cannot prove they programmed a nefarious computer to generate songs, named the computer “Luciano Luna,” and then took a five-year lunch break — but they know how to anthologize their artists. Our big new release this slow week is the 20-song Lo Mejor De La Arrolladora Banda El Limón, not to be confused with last year’s 14-song Romances, as though Arrolladora plays anything else. You should also not confuse Mejor with this year’s Arrolladora live album, or with any of the Arrolladora-heavy Bandas Románticas comps, or with any of the umpteen other Arrolladora comps that have come before. Like arena en la playa, these albums are really hard to quantify, and they’re all essentially the same. Mejor is your first chance to own the fine “Cabecita Dura” and “El Ruido De Tus Zapatos” on the same disc, if that excites you. Maybe you need a gift for Mom.

Speaking of which, I’m pretty sure Arrolladora’s second most recent hit “A Los Cuatro Vientos” (not on Mejor) was their first single to miss the top 10 on Regional Mexican Airplay since “Ya No Te Buscaré” in 2011-12. (That one’s on Mejor.) It still got 14 million Youtube hits, so, you know, weep with Arrolladora not at them, but good luck humming “Cuatro Vientos” through your tears because it’s not much of a tune.

Also out today is Jonatan Sánchez’s Mi Primera Vez EP on Gerencia 360, also home to accordion hero Noel Torres, drummer Martin Castillo, and pretty boy Adriel Favela, all of whom have released enjoyable albums this year. Sánchez’s title single, a slight banda ballad, makes me think he’s Gerencia’s answer to Luis Coronel, Del’s teenage expert in slight banda ballads.

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