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Joss Favela

Un Aplauso Para Esas Mujeres (Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 4/21/17)

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Women charting with norteño and banda music remains an unfortunately rare phenomenon, like snow in April or seeing an owl in the wild. So NorteñoBlog is stoked to see not one but two women on the Mexican radio charts this week. At #10 is actress/singer/”novia de America” Lucero, with a banda remake of Joan Sebastian’s 1980 countrypolitan tune “Hasta Que Amanezca”. With its repeated demands of “Ámame!”, it’s as forceful a love song as anything from Taylor Dayne’s Imperative Period, and Lucero really lets her voice fly around the melody’s contours. VALE LA PENA

Diana-reyes-la-pasion-tiene-memoriaThen at #18 we’ve got Diana Reyes with the banda song “La Pasión Tiene Memoria,” a song that appeared on her 2015 album but just got a video. It’s a Jekyll-and-Hyde deal with lovey verses detailing the memories of love, and then an angry chorus, in a different key and tempo, where Reyes goes crazy and feels everything overflowing inside her. The switch from verse to chorus is jarring, but Reyes’ voice remains a wonder and the song is growing on me. And it’s definitely better than anything off her dull new album Cuando Tuve Ganas. VALE LA PENA

(Although, la pura verdad, I think I prefer the new Jekyll-and-Hyde video from Chiquis Rivera, “Horas Extras,” to both. Give me a week to ruminate.)

luna aplausoAnd it’s not just women getting in on the “women” act! At #17 we find Edwin Luna, his Banda la Trakalosa, and his perennially nascent acting chops performing “Un Aplauso,” which is sadly not a Lady Gaga remake. Continue reading “Un Aplauso Para Esas Mujeres (Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 4/21/17)”

Lo Mejor de 2016: Where the Action Is

The Grammys and the Mexican government would very much like Mexico’s musical output to consist of genteel roots music. Fortunately, NorteñoBlog’s annual playlist 2016 VALE LA PENA shows that Mexican-American musicians have other ideas.

Our playlist has El Komander singing about immigration in two very different, equally urgent songs: once from the vantage point of a mother whose son is missing, and once as a proudly binational drug dealer. The playlist includes a defiant statement of national pride from Los Inquietos and Marco Flores. There are love songs from guitar bands, brass bands, accordion bands, sax bands, and synth bands.  El Bebeto and Banda Tierra Sagrada stop by to plug liquor; Fuerza de Tijuana celebrates two real-life American narcos. The guys in Los Titanes de Durango drive way too fast. La Rumorosa curses a terrible boyfriend; Intocable mourns absent amor with distorted guitar and a smoking accordion solo. At the top of the list, El Armenta offers a low-fi Lynchian nightmare of a cumbia about his girlfriend’s dog. All in all, it’s as energetic and varied as any single-genre playlist you’re likely to find.

THIS, Grammy voters, is where the action is.

———————————————–

vicente-un-aztecaEven as NorteñoBlog congratulates living legend Vicente Fernández on winning his third Grammy for Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano) (But Not Including Grupero ‘Cause That Shit Suuuuuuuux), we gotta note that this particular win is lame in a very Grammy-ish way. Continue reading “Lo Mejor de 2016: Where the Action Is”

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? (1/6/17)

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It’s been six weeks or so since NorteñoBlog checked in with Mexico’s airwaves, so you might think all the songs would be different. ¡Qué sorpresa! Apparently as the year nears its end, the music industry’s release schedule slows down across the continent. Fewer than half the songs have disappeared from this normally fast-changing chart. Among the new ones:

nada-de-nada— At #9, Pepe Aguilar has invited his daughter Ángela sing backup on the lickety split banda tune “Nada de Nada,” written by José Luis Roma of the bro band Río Roma. It’s an impressive band workout, with tuba and percussion burbling along like synth polyrhythms and the horns draping sweeping melodic lines over everything. It’s also a fine meta-song about how the singer has writer’s block in the face of his lover’s anhedonia. (At least, her anhedonia towards him.) Both singers undersell the song, making it one of banda music’s rare Big Smart Cumbias. Aguilar acquits himself well for releasing one of 2016’s most overrated albums, and gets himself a second Pick to Click:

— Speaking of Picks to Click, Joss Favela is in at #16 with his previous champ “No Vuelvas a Llamarme.” It’s one of the ace songwriter’s top-shelf tunes, even if the chords borrow from Gerardo Ortiz’s “Archivos de Mi Vida” (and probably lots of other songs). The interplay between accordion and rhythm section is on point and, whaddya know, the words — about how Favela’s always too busy to take your calls — are funny. Add it to your shiny new Best Singles of 2017 lists post haste. VALE LA PENA

edwin-luna— At #8 we find the latest Very Important Video in Edwin Luna‘s crusade to become a famous actor, fill the world with brotherly love, and get real boned. Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? (1/6/17)”

A Sixteen-Musician Pileup from Chicago (also starring Voz de Mando)

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voz-de-mandoNorteñoBlog has long neglected the Sinaloan quartet-con-tuba Voz de Mando, despite their having one of the more charming Navidad songs on the radio for the past four years. (It’s actually a cover of Los Bukis, whom the blog will continue to neglect for now.) Their new single “Pa’ Que No Me Anden Contando” (AfinArte/Sony) is useful in several ways. It’s a minor-key stomper encouraging you to grab life by the horns with your teeth and whatnot (I paraphrase) — so that, when you’re on your deathbed, you won’t have to rely upon secondhand reports to know what it’s like to have horns caught in your teeth. (See also Los Recoditos’ “Mi Último Deseo” and other YOLO worthies.) It’ll help you fill out your Joss Favela/Luciano Luna bingo card, in case you hadn’t yet accounted for a “minor-key YOLO stomper” from their collective pen. Aaaaand it’s a useful Spanish idiom for all my fellow language learners out there. “So I Don’t Hear It Secondhand” is how the Sony PR team translates the title, which literally-to-inglés has something to do with careful accounting, I think. The message is clear: Voz de Mando, Favela, and Luna are against careful accounting. NorteñoBlog is fastidious in its accounting, so I don’t recommend songs too too easily, but some fiery accordion rips this tune into VALE LA PENA territory. Plus, the dude who shouts out “VOZ DE MANDO” in all their songs sounds like he’s inviting you to a monster truck rally.

Somewhat better is a Sierreño-con-tuba ode to the Triduum, Continue reading “A Sixteen-Musician Pileup from Chicago (also starring Voz de Mando)”

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 11/17/16

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Welcome back to Songwriters’ Showcase, an apparently semiannual feature in which NorteñoBlog checks out the new love songs on Mexico’s radio chart, discovers that the world is a void wherein everything tastes like ashes, and attempts to salvage the post by researching the professional tunespinners who spun the tunes. The winners, as always, are you the readers.

Except they’re not all love songs this week! We start with not one but two big dumb cumbias. At #18, Claudio Alcaraz has written his own exercise in banda-fied minimalism, “El Pú,” about a friend of his who likes to get drunk and insult people. Great swaths of humanity get insulted here. Truckers, cops, Michoacanos, saints, etc. — you name ’em, they’re pú, aka “puro mandilón.” (“DEmasculated,” as my grandpappy and/or Urban Dictionary used to translate it.) In the video, Sr. Alcaraz’s friend appears as a lecherous clown who lights up the party by starting a conga line. Even so, the guy should stop insulting entire classes of people or he’ll never be elected to public office.

The other BDC, at #11, is way more bitchin’: “Que Perrón” by La Séptima Banda. Written by Joel Suarez and Luciano Luna, who is normally not this much fun, it’s an 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.” Whoever’s singing lead — I think it’s Efrain, but votes for Chino will also be tabulated — plays his wiggly cadence off the tuba/batería lines with a cheerful insouciance that makes me think I’ve been underrating the Séptima album all year. I’ll get back to you on that. In the meantime, a very ornate Pick to Click. (This live video lets you savor some of those internal brass rhythms.)

Also charting this week: Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 11/17/16”

Joss Favela en la Jukebox

joss-favela-guitar
“That score saddens me.”

Donde algunas escuchan “banda,” quizás porque el trovador contrató un tubador para tocar, NorteñoBlog escucha una canción muy olvidable, y el combinación de la guitarra, el acordión, y la batería no ayuda. Pero me sigue gustando Joss Favela, porque el compositor de “Te Hubieras Ido Antes” sabe como escribir una melodia. Debería haber escrito una aquí.

Escribí:

Having survived the teen talent show Código F.A.M.A. and worked with electrocumbia dudes 3Ball MTY, the man born José Alberto Inzunza Favela has been busy chiseling his way onto a norteño-pop songwriters’ Mt. Rushmore whose other inhabitants include Espinoza Paz, Horacio Palencia, and Favela’s frequent collaborator Luciano Luna. Like most prolific songwriters, Favela’s virtue lies in his fecundity: if you like at least one of his songs, that just means he wrote 10 others you forgot as soon as you finished making out to them. “Cuando Fuimos Nada” falls into that heap: decent tune, a life lesson out of a novela, and further proof that a small norteño group can’t rescue a pop nonentity the way a banda can.

NO VALE LA PENA

Desfile de Éxitos 11/5/16

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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)

¡Nuevo! (starring Joss Favela, Remmy Valenzuela, y más)

tapatias

Songwriter José Alberto Inzunza — aka Joss Favela — has probably made more money than any of the other kids from Código F.A.M.A. Season 2, the TV talent show where he finished seventh in 2004. The winners of Season 2 went on to star in Misión S.O.S., a novela that featured the following novel plot points:

[T]he neighbors of Buenaventura have even darker futures, as they are in danger of losing their homes, their school and much more, because the evil old Severiano plans to tear down the neighborhood and build an enormous shopping mall in its place. To accomplish his plan, Severiano is willing to resort to any means, and will provoke a series of disasters to drive the inhabitants away.

The decrepit old theater is the children’s favorite spot, and this is where they meet a mysterious little man who will change their lives and the fate of Buenaventura forever. Chaneque, a friendly elf, is a magical being who is on an important mission: to save his elf-world from destruction.

Yes yes, Shakespeare plots sound ridiculous when you describe them, too, although I’m not sure El Bardo ever resorted to the ol’ “save the theater before the evil capitalist tears it down” gambit. The point is, Misión only ran for a season, so I’m guessing its actors aren’t earning much in residuals. (If that’s how things work in Méxican TV.) Joss “Seventh Place” Favela, though, became a songwriter who scored massive hits. “Te Hubieras Ido Antes,” Favela’s favorite because it “crossed genres and borders” and therefore made him lots of money, had the good fortune to be sung by the continent’s best voice, Julión Álvarez; “¿Por Qué Terminamos?” landed with Gerardo Ortiz, who also got his start singing on Código F.A.M.A., where he looked exactly the same as he does now — only shorter and more elfen.

joss favelaFavela just released his solo debut album, Hecho a Mano (Sony). He sings with a fine quartet — accordion, tuba, bajo sexto, drums — whose personnel NorteñoBlog is still trying to track down. As you’d expect from this born romantic balladeer, the melodies are strong and soaring. As you might not expect, the band and their leader sometimes have great fun crushing lovelorn sentiments into a fine dust. For example, the standout “No Vuelvas a Llamarme” is a days-of-the-week song like Craig David’s “7 Days,” but it’s also a furious rolling waltz where Favela urges his ex not to call him, because he always has something better to do. (“Believe it or not, I go to Mass on Sundays” — and if you’ve ever tried to use your phone inside a cathedral, you know the reception sucks and the wi-fi’s probably spotty.) The well-rehearsed band has their stop-start game down cold, and the rhythm section’s licks fly nonstop like the popcorn Favela enjoys at those Wednesday double features he claims to never miss. Pick to Click!

Continue reading “¡Nuevo! (starring Joss Favela, Remmy Valenzuela, y más)”

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 12/18/15

adictiva singers

Welcome to the Songwriters’ Showcase! In this exciting feature, NorteñoBlog attempts to bring interest to the boring love songs on the Mexican radio chart by pointing out who wrote the boring love songs! Eventually I lose interest in that too! (Please note: some non-boring songs also lie ahead.)

At number 10, Diego Herrera adds lush guitar to a banda ballad, or maybe vice versa, and pledges his fidelity and jealousy to a mujer he claims is a good kisser. The song’s by Joss Favela and Luciano Luna, the (collective?) Diane Warren of norteño music, and if you’ve heard one of their love songs you’ve heard “Si Te Enamoras De Mi,” but the guitar makes some difference.

Case in point: Banda El Recodo’s at number 6 with another Favela/Luna love song, “Si No Es Contigo.” (Watch for my forthcoming pamphlet on the role of fate and potential realities in the Favela/Luna songbook.) Even though Recodo’s tune is skippier than Herrera’s, you can easily imagine them slowing it down and turning it into a waltz. While we’re talking about Recodo, NorteñoBlog would like to congratulate them on their Grammy nomination in the category Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano). Alternate parenthetical: (Stop Complaining, Noisy Tejano Voting Bloc). Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 12/18/15”

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