music, charts, opinions


Jorge Valenzuela

¿Qué Estamos Escuchando?

One of my formative critical influences is Richard Meyers’ book The Great Science Fiction Films (Carol Publishing Group). This mysterious book, which I bought at a theme park and have never seen elsewhere, covers sci-fi/fantasy/horror movies from 1975 to 1983. Its copyright date — no kidding — is 1962. As I write this, book on my lap, it occurs to me that the book might not actually exist; or maybe Meyers saw all the movies and then went back in time to write it; or possibly I’m Richard Meyers. Big old mindfuck, in other words.

In the intro, Meyers/Langhoff writes, “Although we malign many films in the coming pages, we really love all science-fiction films…” I could say much the same thing about norteño albums, as I bet most genre fans could say about their stomping grounds. Even the worst norteño album (I’ll nominate a certain live set by LOS! BuiTRES! without bothering to look up its specifics), the emptiest wasted hour of cartel crap or romantic sludge, tells you something about the good stuff. You can learn something from anything. Or at least glean a good sentence or two. Here’s Meyers on the 1977 Christopher Lee flick End of the World: “Nuns start turning back into clawed and tentacled monsters who attack innocent bystanders for a few minutes until a serene shot of the planet fills the movie screen. A second later it explodes in a torrent of plastic, dirt and water. Director John Hayes manages to stretch this inconsequential drivel over eighty minutes.”

In that spirit, let’s consider:

Various Artists – Radio Éxitos: El Disco Del Año 2014 (Fonovisa)disco 2014

Epiphanies, such as they are, from the Disco of last Año:

1. Luciano Luna writes a lot of hit songs. Five of these 20 bear his name in the writing credits — two solo and three cowrites. The best, “Te Hubieras Ido Antes,” belongs to the continent’s best singer, Julión Álvarez, who knows how to push and pull rote melodic phrases into floating conversations — I mean, they’re anguished, but still floating with the illusion of life. Chuy Lizárraga’s “Nomás Faltó Que Me Quisieras” is also good. Luna’s other three songs — by Recodo, Recoditos, and Calibre 50 — are among the low points of their parent albums.

2. Unfortunately, they don’t stand out too much on this comp, because most of these songs are ballads. I get that these songs were hits, but why pick Calibre 50’s thin attempt at a power ballad when they had at least three other, more interesting, faster hit songs last year? Shouldn’t a curated hits compilation be better than any random week of the chart it’s compiling?

3. As Luna’s rival mushmonger Espinoza Paz focuses on his solo career, he may be scoring fewer hit writing credits. He contributes only one song here, El Bebeto’s ballad “Lo Más Interesante,” a misnomer.

4. There’s only one woman here, and she’s great! She’s also dead. I have no idea what Jenni Rivera’s “Resulta” is doing on this CD. Well, OK, I have some idea. Rivera’s an icon who was arguably the center of her genre when she died, and it’s not like any woman or man has commandeered the field to take her place. (Gerardo Ortiz is trying.) This track from her 2011 album appeared on 2014’s posthumous live album, and a Youtube video of the studio version — the version on this CD — has garnered four million views. So yeah, “Resulta” is a 2014 single. Was it a radio éxito? No. But did any Latina women have éxitos on regional Mexican radio in 2014? Um… (Not for lack of trying.)

5. I apologize for sleeping on Jorge Valenzuela’s wonderful “El Agüitado.” Mouthpiece squeal of the year! That said:


Desfile de Éxitos


These are the top 25 Hot Latin Songs and top 20 Regional Mexican Songs, courtesy Billboard, as published Nov. 13. Things to note:

The sarlaccian digestion chart count for “Propuesta Indecente” increases to 68 weeks. And it moves UP a notch, to #2! You’ll remember this song already hit #1 more than a year ago, at the end of September/beginning of October 2013. King Romeo’s aptly named album Formula Vol. 2 had the biggest debut week (100k) of any Latin album in eight years. Since then he’s played Yankee Stadium and sold out venues in Mexico, the latter of which might be the more impressive feat for a guy from the Bronx. The video’s at 488 million views.

Nothing against “Propuesta”‘s pretty smarm, but its longevity underscores the lack of turnover on these charts. Nobody’s new or gone this week. On the one hand, this makes catching up with the popular music easy — stick around for a few weeks and there’s a good chance you’ll hear all the songs on the radio. On the other hand, we should wonder why the pace of turnover is so glacial. And why “Bailando” is still #1. At least we have “Soy Un Desmadre,” “Eres Una Niña,” and nomenclatural champs Saul El Jaguar ft. La Bandononona Clave Nueva de Max Peraza around to keep things interesante.

1. “Bailando” – Enrique ft. Descemer Bueno, Gente de Zona, & the word “contigo”
2. “Propuesta Indecente” – Romeo Santos (I just wanna point out this song is 68 WEEKS OLD AND CLIMBING, and that maybe someone’s chart methodology needs tweaking.)
3. “Eres Mia” – Romeo Santos
4. “Ay Vamos” – J Balvin
5. “Y Asi Fue” – Julión Álvarez (#1 RegMex) (Is this man the best banda singer around right now? Or should we forget the qualifier?)
6. “No Me Pidas Perdon” – Banda MS (#4 Reg Mex)
7. “Travesuras” – Nicky Jam
8. “6 AM” – J Balvin ft. Farruko
9. “Odio” – Romeo Santos ft. Drake
10. “Hasta Que Salga el Sol” – Banda Los Recoditos (#3 RegMex)

11. “Tus Besos” – Juan Luis Guerra 440
12. “Soy El Mismo” – Prince Royce
13. “Javier El de Los Llanos” – Calibre 50 (#5 RegMex)
14. “La Bala” – Los Tigres Del Norte (#2 RegMex)
15. “Adios” – Ricky Martin
16. “Yo Tambien” – Romeo Santos ft. Marc Anthony
17. “Perdon” – Camila
18. “Lo Poco Que Tengo” – Ricardo Arjona
19. “Eres Una Niña” – Gerardo Ortíz (#17 RegMex) (Hooray!)
20. “Tenerte” – Luis Coronel (#14 RegMex) (Quite a plummet for young Coronel! You hate to see that.)

21. “El Agüitado” – Jorge Valenzuela (#8 RegMex)
22. “Tu Respiracion” – Chayanne
23. “Plakito” – Yandel ft. El General Gadiel (It’s newish!)
24. “Que Suenen Los Tambores” – Victor Manuelle
25. “Soy Un Desmadre” – Banda Tierra Sagrada ft. Marco Flores y La #1 Banda Jerez (#6 RegMex)


#7. “Ahora Por Ley” – Los Huracanes Del Norte
#9. “Asi Ya No” – La Maquinaria Norteña
#10. “Zapatillas Ferragamo” – Meno Lugo

#11. “Mi Princesa” – Remmy Valenzuela
#12. “Levantando Polvadera” – Voz De Mando
#13. “La Historia De Mis Manos” – Banda Carnaval
#15. “La Indicada” – Kevin Ortíz
#16. “Al Estilo Mafia” – Saul El Jaguar ft. La Bandononona Clave Nueva de Max Peraza
#18. “El Karma” – Ariel Camacho y Los Plebes Del Rancho
#19. “No Me Dolio” – La Original Banda el Limón
#20. “Me Voy De Ti” – Fidel Rueda

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