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La Adictiva Banda

El Fantasma, Calibre 50, y glitter rainbow hologram Jenni Rivera (Desfile de Éxitos 7/8/19)

calibre 50

First up, from the YASSS SLAIN QUEEN file: July 2 would have been the late Jenni Rivera‘s 50th birthday, so her estate celebrated by releasing “Aparentemente Bien,” a ballad she was working on before her 2012 plane crash. Thanks to some skilled studio reconstruction, you can hear the song in banda, mariachi, and pop versions. It’s OK. Inspired, no doubt, by the heavy metaphysical symbology of the Thor movies, the banda video depicts a rainbow butterfly morphing into an onstage Jenni hologram. NO VALE LA PENA

And now, BILLBOARD’S TOP 5 REGIONAL MEXICAN SONGS:

1. La Adictiva Banda“El Amor de Mi Vida” (#40 Hot Latin)
This lovey-dovey Horacio Palencia ballad is very boring, so the Blog’s SEO Optimization Team has asked that I make the most of things by reporting that La Adictiva’s singers are Isaac Salas and Guillermo Garza, the latter of whom shares a first name with Guillermo del Toro, producer of the forthcoming film Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The movie looks cool; this song, also recorded by sierreño quartet Alta Consigna, is NO VALE LA PENA.

encantadora fantasma2. El Fantasma“Encantadora” (#33 Hot Latin)
Now we’re talking. The man-myth-legend’s “Tu amor es que respiro” lyrics are hard to distinguish from Palencia’s, but the vaquero born Alexander García plows through all that sap like he’s racing his banda to the merch table. This song does NOT appear on García’s latest good album El Circo (Afinarte), on which the banda players routinely sound like they’re trying to trip their boss with their horns. Both album and single are VALE LA PENA. Also Pick to Click!

3. Calibre 50“Simplemente Gracias” (#20 Hot Latin)
Edén Muñoz remains one of the format’s most interesting lyricists, on a purely formal “watch me take pleasure in making these metaphors scan” level. When his band plays his ballads, they still sound like they’re gasping for breath. The Blog recommends their brand new, skippy hard luck tale “Chalito,” but this one is NO VALE LA PENA.

4. Banda Los Recoditos“Perfecta” (#29 Hot Latin)
This is the third song in a row to use el cielo and las estrellas as romantic metaphors. It seems they are endless. La mujer’s beauty is endless. This particular metaphor’s usefulness is not endless. This song feels endless. NO VALE LA PENA

5. Banda MS“Por Mi No Te Detengas” (#27 Hot Latin)
Wait a minute! Faithful reader, the Blog hasn’t yet directed you to my listicle for the Minneapolis City Pages: 10 times Banda MS, the world’s biggest brass band, didn’t totally blow. This single isn’t one of those times. NO VALE LA PENA

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Who’s On the Mexican Radio? (1/27/17)

christian-nodal-bigWelcome to the Mexican radio charts*: Changing quicker than Mexican-American diplomatic relations! More exciting than the Doomsday Clock! Not even half the existential threat of those stupid made-up islands in the South China Sea!

NorteñoBlog is pleased to note that, since we last checked in, we get to enjoy nine new songs. Two are straight-up replacements for the better:

At #13, La Arrolladora Banda swaps its slow jam “Yo Sí Te Amé” for the busy merengue-flavored “Traicionera”;

and at #2, the young hotshot accordion slinger Alfredo Olivas trades the decent bluesy norteño number “Seguramente” for the skippy deathbed meditation “El Paciente,” con banda. He even works in a shoutout to the mythic Catarino, a corrido legend who fought in the Revolution and healed his wounds with his own saliva. Alfredito doesn’t fare as well in the song, but the Blog is looking forward to his next, apparently posthumous album. Pick to Click!

Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? (1/27/17)”

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 9/28/16

marcello-gamiz

The best recent song to hit the Mexican radio top 10 is probably the #4 hit “Al Rescate,” the latest in the ongoing cry for help disguised as a brass band, Banda Los Recoditos. Having set aside a nice piece of land for themselves in the “ayyyy chiquitita I’m drunk and it’s your fault” territory, Luis Angel Franco and company seem content to mine that turf for whatever they can find, for the rest of their lives — which probably won’t be long, given the volatile state of their collective liver. Typically, their horn chart is accomplished and stuffed with counterpoint, and El Flaco is the most charismatic guy at the bar, savoring some strategically placed high notes that sound like they were written for his voice. VALE LA PENA, even if you’ve heard 20 other Recoditos songs just like it.

Also solid is the song sitting at #5, La Adictiva’s brassed up take on another “ayyyy chiquitita I’m drunk and it’s your fault” song: “Que Caro Estoy Pagando.” Formerly a hit in El Norte for Sierreño heartbreakers Los Plebes del Rancho de Ariel Camacho, the song transitions to its new instrumental setting with stately melodic leaps intact, though I do miss the scratch in José Manuel Lopez Castro’s voice. VALE LA PENA.

But that’s the chart that measures “Audiencia.” The real action is over on the “Tocadas” chart, where — I’m guessing — we see adventurous radio programmers in smaller markets testing the waters for more VALE LA PENA songs like:

Los Horóscopos’ “Qué Chulada de Papucho”: Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 9/28/16”

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 3/8/16

pepe-aguilar

To hear Billboard‘s Leila Cobo tell it, singer-songwriter-producer Pepe Aguilar changed the industry of Regional Mexican music. Known for his giant sombreros and even bigger romantic mariachi ballads, this son of ranchera star Antonio Aguilar started his career as a rocker, he told Cobo in 2004:

Q: So what does a regional Mexican singer know about rock?

A: You should have met me when I had an earring and long hair! I recorded a rock album in 1987, before recording rancheras. Rock has been my inspiration and my best weapon. My Mexican music sounds the way it sounds because of rock. I produce and write everything I do musically based in rock.

Q: What happened with that album?

A: It flopped [laughs].

In 2012, Cobo credited Aguilar with essentially creating a new radio format. “Thanks directly to Aguilar’s contemporary readings on traditional music, radio stations that had never played mariachi opened up to the genre and, to this day, ‘romantic Mexican music’ is the programming base of dozens of stations around the country.” The closest Chicago comes to that format is Amor 106.7, where Pepe Aguilar is indeed a “core artist” but they also play bachata and Enrique. The point is, Aguilar’s traditional music has always had an element of crossover, and you can hear that in his latest banda single “María”, sitting at #9 this week on the Mexican chart.

“María” flaunts Aguilar’s crossover pedigree. With its pounding cumbia beat, its minor-key chord progression, and Aguilar’s seductive (and often multitracked) croak, it sounds like a stadium football banger filtered through a banda. It’s telling that Aguilar’s aside of choice is a grunted “hungggh!”, rather than the banda singer’s typical falsetto gritos. Add to that the high-concept video, where Aguilar stalks the nighttime city streets dressed all in black, eyes hidden behind intimidating sunglasses, using his magical touch to turn homeless women and whores into respectable ladies who dance around in bright primary colors. (One of them evangelizes some street toughs — this is the kind of retrograde video symbolism that inspires people to resurrect the term “street toughs” — who then paint a respectable wall mural. Of “María,” I guess.) Even in the most elaborate and sexist banda videos, singers rarely paint themselves as saviors. Whether lovers, cuckolds, protesters, or well-connected men about town, they belong to the scenes they depict. Aguilar here presents himself as savior and transformer, a transcendent figure — just as he sees himself within the regional Mexican scene?

Since the song sounds pretty good, we’ll let him think that if he wants. Pick to Click!

Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 3/8/16”

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”

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 5/15/15

recodo vicio

Not one but three feisty banda tunes enter the Mexican radio chart this week. NorteñoBlog has already mentioned Recodo’s “Mi Vicio Mas Grande,” which jumps from 9 to 4 and is also charting in El Norte — it bears more than a passing resemblance to Recoditos’ “Mi Último Deseo,” though the writers are different. (“Mi Vicio” boasts the unlikely fingerprints of Luciano Luna, the Diane Warren of the Sierra, apparently feeling his oats.) Chuy Lizarraga’s “Tu Mami” sounds similar, a minor-key raver.

That leaves the third, a major-key raver by former La Voz Mexico contestant and stubbly denim vision Jovanko Ibarra. His “No Le Hagamos Al Cuento” is today’s Pick to Click because it’s a decent song, sung reedily, and if you watch the video you get to look at Jovanko Ibarra. On a motorcycle!

Also new from two weeks ago are El Komander’s uninteresting “Me Interesa” and, in the top 10, La Original’s “Sal De Mi Vida.”

These are the Top 20 “Popular” songs in Mexico, as measured by monitorLATINO. Don’t confuse “Popular” with the “General” list, which contains many of the same songs but also “Uptown Funk!”, “Sugar,” “Love Me Like You Do,” and an Aleks Syntek ballad about getting So Close. Syntek gets closer than Hall & Oates did, at least.

1. “Después de Ti ¿Quién?” – La Adictiva Banda San Jose
2. “Contigo” – Calibre 50
3. “El Amor de Su Vida” – Julión Álvarez
4. “Mi Vicio Mas Grande” – Banda El Recodo
5. “Confesion” – La Arrolladora Banda El Limón
6. “A Lo Mejor” – Banda MS
7. “Me Toco Perder” – Banda Los Recoditos
8. “Tranquilito” – El Chapo de Sinaloa
9. “Perdi La Pose” – Espinoza Paz
10. “Sal De Mi Vida” – La Original Banda El Limón

11. “Tu Mami” – Chuy Lizarraga
12. “Me Interesa” – Alfredo Ríos El Komander
13. “Y Esa Soy Yo” – Luz Maria
14. “No Fue Necesario” – El Bebeto
15. “Indeleble” – Banda Los Sebastianes
16. “Dudo” – Marco A. Flores y No.1 Banda Jerez
17. “Padre Ejemplar” – Los Titanes de Durango ft. Jaziel Avilez
18. “No Le Hagamos Al Cuento” – Jovanko Ibarra
19. “La Reina” – La Iniciativa
20. “Que te Quede Claro” – Saul El Jaguar

¡Adios!
“Escuchame” – Fidel Rueda
“Un Ranchero En La Ciudad” – Leandro Rios ft. Pancho Uresti
“Ponte Las Pilas” – America Sierra
“Si Tuviera Que Decirlo” – Pedro Fernandez
“Que Tal Si Eres Tu” – Los Tigres Del Norte

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 5/3/15

claudio

Last week NorteñoBlog recommended “Cerveza” by the cruel drunks in Banda Cuisillos. It turns out “Cerveza” has garnered one of the 20 biggest radio audiences in México but, due to some chart formulas I don’t quite understand at the website monitorLATINO, hasn’t yet hit the radio top 20, which measures total spins rather than estimated audience. (This could just mean it’s more popular in urban radio markets, where more people will hear its fewer spins…???)

ANYWAY, my point here is not to reveal how little I know about Mexican radio stats, but rather to direct you to two more such songs. The first is “Te Extraño Poquito” by Claudio Alcaraz y Su Banda Once Varas. It’s got breathless banda bombast and Alcaraz moving through increasingly desperate stages of post-breakup grief until, in the video, he goes Lloyd Dobbler on his ex and shows up outside her window with the entire banda. Neither ex nor neighbors call the police; rather, ex turns out the light, so everyone just gives up and goes home. Continuará…

Popular but less-spun song two is the charming “Amanece Y No Estas” by Diego Verdaguer, who splits the difference between mariachi and Jason Mraz-style hippy dippiness. No ukelele though, promise.

But today’s Pick to Click is yet another top 20 single from NorteñoBlog’s album of the year so far, Marco A. Flores’s Soy El Bueno. “Dudo” is more of Flores’s trademark Sinaloan banda played at Zacatecas speed. He uses pop chord changes but avoids sentimentality, mostly because he’s got a voice like a tornado siren playing a wax paper comb. The song lasts all of 2:48. I swear this record’s like the Ramones or someone.

Other newbies include ballads by Saul “El Jaguar” and Luz Maria, and something by Los Titanes de Durango featuring 14-year-old Jaziel Avilez. Being a sucker for such novelty and having once enjoyed Los Titanes, who despite their name play plain old norteño and not duranguense, I so wanted to like this song, but “Padre Ejemplar” goes on way too long. 40 seconds longer than “Dudo,” to be exact. Talk about self indulgence!

These are the Top 20 “Popular” songs in Mexico, as measured by monitorLATINO. Don’t confuse “Popular” with the “General” list, which contains many of the same songs but also “Uptown Funk!”, “Sugar,” “Love Me Like You Do,” and an Alejandro Sanz ballad about scratchy-voiced zombies.

1. “Después de Ti ¿Quién?” – La Adictiva Banda San Jose
2. “Contigo” – Calibre 50
3. “El Amor de Su Vida” – Julión Álvarez
4. “Confesion” – La Arrolladora Banda El Limón
5. “A Lo Mejor” – Banda MS
6. “Perdi La Pose” – Espinoza Paz
7. “Me Toco Perder” – Banda Los Recoditos
8. “No Fue Necesario” – El Bebeto
9. “Tranquilito” – El Chapo de Sinaloa
10. “Indeleble” – Banda Los Sebastianes

11. “Dudo” – Marco A. Flores y No.1 Banda Jerez
12. “Que te Quede Claro” – Saul El Jaguar
13. “Si Tuviera Que Decirlo” – Pedro Fernandez
14. “Padre Ejemplar” – Los Titanes de Durango ft. Jaziel Avilez
15. “La Reina” – La Iniciativa
16. “Ponte Las Pilas” – America Sierra
17. “Y Esa Soy Yo” – Luz Maria
18. “Que Tal Si Eres Tu” – Los Tigres Del Norte
19. “Un Ranchero En La Ciudad” – Leandro Rios ft. Pancho Uresti
20. “Escuchame” – Fidel Rueda

¡Adios!
“Adicto a la Tristeza” – Banda La Trakalosa ft. Pancho Uresti
“Que Aún Te Amo” – Pesado
“Me Importas” – Los Primos MX
“Malditas Ganas” – Alfredo Rios El Komander
“Todo Tuyo” – Banda El Recodo

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 3/27/15

banda ms

Little to report this week: the only new songs in the top 20 are disappointing ballads by Julión Álvarez and Saul “El Jaguar.” One of the bright spots is #8, where norteño quintet Pesado’s “Que Aún Te Amo” lopes and soars amid all the ballads surrounding it in the top 10. (Also, I’m wondering whether I could get my hair to look like the young lead in the video. My blending skills need work.) At #9, mariachi singer Pedro Fernandez soars but doesn’t lope; rather, his beat chugs and pulses in ways that remind me of mid-’80s NRG ballads, or maybe Vangelis. And I won’t say it’s good, but Banda MS’s video for “A Lo Mejor” somehow crams an entire novela episode, including a cheap trick ending, into five minutes; I’m still trying to figure out how everyone’s related. Better than Sudoku for keeping your mind sharp!

These are the Top 20 “Popular” songs in Mexico, as measured by radioNOTAS. Don’t confuse “Popular” with the “General” list, which contains many of the same songs but also “Uptown Funk!”, “Sugar,” and, once again, the ABBA-Schlager of Natalia Jiménez.

1. “Contigo” – Calibre 50
2. “Que Tal Si Eres Tu” – Los Tigres Del Norte
3. “Después de Ti ¿Quién?” – La Adictiva Banda San Jose
4. “A Lo Mejor” – Banda MS
5. “No Fue Necesario” – El Bebeto
6. “Perdi La Pose” – Espinoza Paz
7. “Culpable Fui (Culpable Soy)” – Intocable
8. “Que Aún Te Amo” – Pesado
9. “Si Tuviera Que Decirlo” – Pedro Fernandez
10. “Confesion” – La Arrolladora Banda El Limón

11. “Todo Tuyo” – Banda El Recodo
12. “Malditas Ganas” – Alfredo Rios El Komander
13. “Ponte Las Pilas” – America Sierra
14. “Me Importas” – Los Primos MX
15. “Escuchame” – Fidel Rueda
16. “Adicto a la Tristeza” – Banda La Trakalosa ft. Pancho Uresti
17. “Indeleble” – Banda Los Sebastianes
18. “El Amor de Su Vida” – Julión Álvarez
19. “Que te Quede Claro” – Saul El Jaguar
20. “Sencillamente” – Raúl y Mexia + SuenaTron

¡Adios!
“Tranquilito” – El Chapo de Sinaloa
“Me Sobrabas Tu” – Banda Los Recoditos

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 3/13/15

La_maquinaria_Norte_a

Los Tigres’ celebration of triplets (the musical figure, not the polyzygotic phenomenon) continues at #1 in Mexico this week. There’s some activity in the lower rungs of the chart, where Arrolladora replaces one boring ballad, still a hit in El Norte, with one slightly less boring tune that sounds vaguely like Dean Martin’s “Sway.” (Only Arrolladora have the magic technique.) Banda Los Sebastianes re-enter the chart with the evanescent “Indeleble,” and El Chapo de Sinaloa appears with “Tranquilito,” for which only a turbulent “making of” video exists.

For once the US charts are more interesting! For one thing, Hot Latin boasts its fifth #1 in five weeks, with Nicky Jam & Enrique’s “El Perdon.” Last week was the late Ariel Camacho’s “El Karma,” which recedes to #10 this week following its death bump. Before that was J Balvin’s “Ay Vamos,” then Maná ft. Shakira, and before that…

This is the first time five different songs have topped the chart in as many weeks since January/February 2014, when Marc Anthony gave way to Prince Royce, then to King Romeo’s “Propuesta Indecente,” then to Enrique ft. Marco Antonio Solís, and finally to the “Odio” juggernaut. “Odio,” you’ll remember, was the last number one before our recent glorious era of “Bailando.” (“Bailando” has always been at war with “Propuesta Indecente.”) The era came to an end with Maná and Shakira’s “Mi Verdad.” During the previous set of five number ones in five weeks, back in 2012, the chart turned over more frequently; this was just prior to Billboard‘s controversial decision to incorporate both streaming data and airplay from across all genres into genre charts, and Hot Latin songs began ruling the roost for weeks on a regular basis.

New songs in the US Regional Mexican top 20 include La Séptima Banda’s “Bonito y Bello,” likable for its minor chords but otherwise meh; Los Huracanes’ “Como Tu No Hay Dos,” a slow country waltz; and the Pick to Click, La Maquinaria Norteña’s “Si Te Vuelvo a Ver,” a stomping country polka with some puro Chihuahua sax, by way of New Mexico. I want La Maquinaria Norteña’s logo on my windshield.

These are the Top 20 “Popular” songs in Mexico, as measured by radioNOTAS. Don’t confuse “Popular” with the “General” list, which contains many of the same songs but also “Uptown Funk!”, “Sugar,” and the Disneyfied jogging club soundtrack of Juanes.

1. “Que Tal Si Eres Tu” – Los Tigres Del Norte
2. “Contigo” – Calibre 50
3. “Culpable Fui (Culpable Soy)” – Intocable
4. “A Lo Mejor” – Banda MS
5. “Después de Ti ¿Quién?” – La Adictiva Banda San Jose
6. “Que Aun Te Amo” – Pesado
7. “Todo Tuyo” – Banda El Recodo
8. “No Fue Necesario” – El Bebeto
9. “Malditas Ganas” – Alfredo Rios El Komander
10. “Perdi La Pose” – Espinoza Paz

11. “Me Sobrabas Tu” – Banda Los Recoditos
12. “Si Tuviera Que Decirlo” – Pedro Fernandez
13. “Sencillamente” – Raúl y Mexia + SuenaTron
14. “Ponte Las Pilas” – America Sierra
15. “Escuchame” – Fidel Rueda
16. “Me Importas” – Los Primos MX
17. “Confesion” – La Arrolladora Banda El Limón
18. “Adicto a la Tristeza” – Banda La Trakalosa ft. Pancho Uresti
19. “Indeleble” – Banda Los Sebastianes
20. “Tranquilito” – El Chapo de Sinaloa

¡Adios!
“Lo Hiciste Otra Vez” – Arrolladora
“El Que Se Enamora Pierde” – Banda Carnaval
“Tiene Espinas El Rosal” – Grupo Cañaveral De Humberto Pabón ft. Jenny and the Mexicats

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