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Desfile de Éxitos 5/21/16

Daddy-Yankee-Cortada1

It’d be hard to top last week’s spate of three-count-’em-three norteño debuts on the Hot Latin chart, including new songs from Arrolladora (this week at #28), Los Gfez (#36), and Hijos de Barrón (#47). But if you enjoy boring banda ballads, Norteñoblog has just the songs for you!

At #29, the week’s highest debut of any genre comes from Banda MS and their song “Me Vas a Extrañar,” which has been waltzing its sad tale of love gone wrong across Mexico for a couple weeks. Banda MS continues to be wildly, inexplicably popular. Their earlier hit “Solo Con Verte” just notched its 26th week on the U.S. Hot Latin chart, with no sign of slowing down: it’s still at #4, and this week it boasts the biggest gains in streams and digital sales. After half a year! I mean, as boring banda ballads go, “Solo Con Verte” is decent, but that’s sort of like calling John Kasich the standout candidate in the most recent Republican presidential primary. The field was not exactly an embarrassment of riches. (Other kinds of embarrassment, definitely.) But this comparison might be inapposite anyway, because John Kasich’s YouTube numbers are way below Banda MS’s.

At #48, the second banda debut is the title waltz from Recoditos’ latest album Me Está Gustando. Sung by Samuel Sarmiento, its video features not one but two inappropriate workplace romances and the band’s other lead vocalist, Luis Angel Franco, wearing a construction helmet. Sharpen those slash fiction pencils!

The debuts on the Regional Mexican radio chart are a little better. Continue reading “Desfile de Éxitos 5/21/16”

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”

Fiesta de Aniversario: THE PICKS TO CLICK

gerardo birthday

NorteñoBlog doesn’t always Pick to Click, but when I do… sometimes I get it wrong and type “Click to Pick.” This made searching for the previous year’s worth of Picks INTERESANTE.

The Pick to Click began as a shameless ripoff from Charles Pierce’s must-read liberal politics blog at Esquire, as did a couple other, possibly subtler NorteñoBlog tics. (Spot them all! Both! Whatever!) It’s a useful way to highlight the song I enjoy the most in a particular post, so that you the loyal reader don’t have to wade through a pool of Banda MS’s tears to reach the good stuff. Of course, if you enjoy the delectable bouquet wafting from Banda MS’s tears, you can always Click what I don’t Pick, though you’ll run the risk of turning Banda MS happy and then they might run out of Art. Besides current singles, the following list includes some older singles and current album tracks.

Most Picked at three apiece: NorteñoBlog’s probable artists of the year Alfredo Ríos “El Komander” and Marco Flores y #1 Banda Jerez. Banda Cuisillos, Noel Torres, and Chuy Lizárraga each scored two Picks. So did Los Gfez, Pancho Uresti, and Ariel Camacho, though one Pick from each of those three was in a “featured” role. Besides norteño and banda, the list includes cumbias and puro sax stomps, reggaeton and ABBA-schlager, Jenny and the Mexicats and Pitbull, and covers of Johnny Cash and — first up — Shania Twain. Happy Clicking!
Continue reading “Fiesta de Aniversario: THE PICKS TO CLICK”

NorteñoBlog’s Top Singles of 2015: Abril – Junio

cuisillos

This quarter’s list contains fewer radio hits than last quarter’s — only four out of 11 — but don’t worry! Both radio and Youtube continue to inundate us with all kinds of great music under the banner of “regional Mexican.” Below we’ve got cumbia from the underrepresented state of Nayarit, violin-driven dance music from the underrepresented state of Oaxaca, a brass banda from Jalisco who dresses in indigenous garb and doesn’t play corridos but sometimes plays piano pop, Linda Ronstadt-style pop country from Nuevo León, Chicago’s hometown heroines Los Horóscopos hitting Mexican radio and giving everybody cuernos, aaaaand (as usual) a whole lotta Sinaloa. NorteñoBlog has apparently been sleeping on the states of Chihuahua and Zacatecas, though, as I’ve dug up zero hot new singles to represent their puro sax styles. Better luck next quarter!

1. Banda Cohuich“Son Kora Kau Te Te Kai Nie Ni (Dialecto Huichol)” (Pegasus)
Huichol is an indigenous Mexican language, and “Son Kora” is a relentless jerking propulsion machine with brass, gang vocals, and a slippery synth line (I think).
hasn’t charted

2. Laura Denisse“Sigo Enamorada” (Fonovisa)
Denisse has a big clear voice in the vein of Linda Ronstadt, and she’s been singing a mix of banda and pop since she was a kid in the ’90s. The big brass riff here is simply a series of repeated notes, but the players articulate and syncopate like swaggering jazz cowboys.
hasn’t charted

3. Ariel Camacho y Los Plebes Del Rancho“Te Metiste” (Del/Sony)
This gorgeous love song sounds just as strange and sparse as “El Karma” when it plays on the radio.
U.S. radio hit

4. Grupo El Reto ft. Alta Consigna“La Parranda Va a Empezar” (Gerencia 360/Sony)
This quartet belongs to la corriente escuela of corridistas who sing about corruption while their corrosive tubists imitate machine gun fire. Corre! The quartet Alta Consigna also has a tuba in the band, so you’ve got two tubists and a requinto (I think?) playing furiously over everything.
hasn’t charted

5. Banda Cuisillos“Cerveza” (Musart/Balboa)
This isn’t even my favorite Cuisillos song of 2015 — that’d be this swinging piano-driven non-single — but these Jaliscanos do indulge several of NorteñoBlog’s weaknesses: two different singers trying to outdo one another in the passion department, brass alternating with guitar, and deplorable sexism.
Mexican radio hit

6. Leandro Ríos ft. Pancho Uresti“Debajo Del Sombrero” (Remex)
This not-so-humble ranchera ballad takes as much pleasure in the act of rhyming as any random song by Sondheim. Although, going through my Spanish rudiments, I’m disappointed the song doesn’t take place in enero, and why doesn’t our heroic caballero own a perro?
U.S. and Mexican radio hit

7. Banda Costado – “Pinotepa” (Talento)
This is a way different sound than we usually enjoy here: lots of percussion, tuba bassline, wild violin, and singers. Many independent lines and very little chordal harmony, in other words.
hasn’t charted

8. Banda Culiacancito“Lastima de Cuerpo” (Del/Sony)
If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know one of my favorite musical effects is rapid fire barrages of syllables that never seem to end and make me feel totally inadequate about my grasp of español. Prolific songwriters Geovani Cabrera (Regulo Caro, Calibre 50) y Horacio Palencia (todos) deliver. Knock yourself out with a trombone slide!
hasn’t charted

9. Los Gfez“Hasta Tu Dedo Gordito” (Remex)
I implore you not to google images of dedos gorditos unless you get off on toe injuries. No judging. I should mention that the quartet Los Gfez, last seen joining Diego Herrera on a likable Mexican hit, start their search for the mystery dedo fast and, through the magic of time changes, find a way to get faster.
hasn’t charted

10. Noel Torres“No Andan Cazando Venados” (Gerencia 360/Sony)
Torres’s arrangement of “Venados” sounds like he’s adapting Ariel Camacho’s unusual instrumentation. He takes stripped down passages of requinto guitar solos over lurching tuba, the same dynamic you find in Camacho’s repertoire, and alternates them with full banda sections. Horns replace rhythm guitar. The result is both serious and silly (ay, esos clarinetes), a fitting tribute that also fits with Torres’s swagger.
hasn’t charted

11. Los Horóscopos de Durango“Estoy Con Otro En La Cama”
Mexican radio hit

10 more good ones:

Miguel – “Coffee”
AB Soto – “Cha Cha Bitch”
Sam Hunt – “House Party”
Markus Feehily – “Love Is a Drug”
Honey Cocaine – “Sundae”
Chemical Brothers ft. Q-Tip – “Go”
Brandon Flowers – “Can’t Deny My Love”
Haley Georgia – “Ridiculous”
Bobby Brackins ft. Zendaya and Jeremih – “My Jam”
Vanbot – “Seven”

¡Nuevo! (starring Los Gfez, Laura Denisse, y más)

denisse banda

gfezThere are times when NorteñoBlog’s rudimentary knowledge of Spanish becomes an obstacle. One such time is today, as I try to figure out the great new single by Los Gfez, “Hasta Tu Dedo Gordito” (Remex). (Pick to Click!) The subject of this song is plain from all the gratuitous bosom shots in the video: it’s about tu cuerpo and what Martin Panuco would like to do to it. The question comes when we try to determine the identity of the title dedo. At heart a third grade boy, I’ve used my context clues to determine that esta mujer’s dedo gordito is located somewhere below her ombligo; that Panuco is traveling from ombligo to dedo gordito with his lengua; and that somewhere in this scenario, there is a pomo (“knob”) he wants to raise. (“Cien por ciento”! Nothing less will do!) I can only conclude that this dedo gordito is la mujer’s big toe. I implore you not to google images of dedos gorditos unless you get off on toe injuries. No judging. I should mention that the quartet Los Gfez, last seen joining Diego Herrera on a likable Mexican hit, start their search for the mystery dedo fast and, through the magic of time changes, find a way to get faster. Good luck, guys! Send postcards!

laura denisseSince NorteñoBlog was quiet last week and since this week is all singles, we’ve got a second Pick to Click: Laura Denisse’s good humored banda swinger “Sigo Enamorada” (Fonovisa). Denisse has a big clear voice in the vein of Linda Ronstadt, and she’s been singing a mix of banda and pop since she was a kid in the ’90s. This song, about continuing to love, is her major label debut. The banda arrangement is delightfully spare and snappy — Denisse spends much of the first verse singing over a bed of percussion and tuba, with minimal horn interjections. The big brass riff is simply a series of repeated notes, but the players articulate and syncopate like swaggering jazz cowboys.

ely quinteroEly Quintero has been releasing her own banda and norteño music for several years now. Her new one, “La Pantera Rosa” (Ely), is only on Youtube as a series of preview snippets; as a lickety split quartet tune, it seems promising. As I catch up with her terrific previous singles, Quintero reminds me of one of the Terrazas sisters from Los Horóscopos, whichever has the brasher attitude.

komanderSpeaking of brash attitudes, the fast and furious Alfredo Ríos El Komander goes slow and serious for “Me Interesa” (Twiins), another half-assed single after “Fuga Pa’ Maza.” Only where “Fuga” was half-assed in a gloriously drunken whirlyball way, this ballad is half-assed in a sad slumped-over-the-bar way. I’m half-assedly searching for a parallel from the canon — maybe it’s the “Drinks After Work” to “Fuga”‘s “Red Solo Cup”? Suggestions welcome.

trakalosaLa Trakalosa de Monterrey has thrilled us with Faustian bargains and depressive wrist slitters. Now with Tatiana they are going Broadway, or something. Despite its nonstop barrage of words, “Ser Un Niño Esta Genial” (Remex) sounds like something that skipped off a Luis Coronel album, winking and pointing little finger guns at everyone in the room. The guys in La Trakalosa used to be adictos a la tristeza; now they’re hooked on Zoloft.

troyanaBanda Troyana does the small-band-strumming vs. big-brass-assault thing with entertainingly driving results in ¿Y Cómo Crees?” (Azteca). By the end of the song you pity the poor sap ripping through all those spectacular trombone fills — he’s going red and his tongue’s getting tired.

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 2/15/15

diego herrera

Two picks to click this week, the first of which probably shouldn’t count. Down at #19, Grupo Cañaveral De Humberto Pabón played one of their turn-of-the-millennium cumbias, “Tiene Espinas El Rosal,” in concert. They brought out the little Spanish/Mexican indie band Jenny and the Mexicats to sing it with them. It turns out I’m a sucker for both turn-of-the-millennium cumbias and Jenny and the Mexicats, who are classified in Allmusic as “Jazz Blues” because, um, Jenny plays the trumpet? No no. A cursory listen tells me they’re cumbia rockers, and I totally slept on their 2014 album. Confused by this sudden mixture of guilt, cumbia-suckertude, and wanting to sing “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” in the shower, I direct you to their live video and Jenny’s excellent trumpet intonation.

REAL pick to click is Diego Herrera’s (ft. Los Gfez) “Es Todo Un Placer”, one of those norteño quartet-meets-banda mashups the NorteñoBlog loves. You could do worse than subscribing to Remex’s Youtube channel.

I like Fidel Rueda’s “Escuchame” a touch less, but it has the advantage of being short. It also has some really tight brass charts packed into what’s essentially a midtempo norteño quartet waltz.

Picks to run far away include El Bebeto’s second boring ballad in a row, although he returns to banda from his brief mariachi nap; Espinoza Paz’s brief mariachi nap; and Los Primos MX’s insufferable sax ballad. My displeasure has a theme.

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!” and the ABBA-schlager of Natalia Jiménez.

1. “Contigo” – Calibre 50
2. “Que Tal Si Eres Tu” – Los Tigres Del Norte
3. “Todo Tuyo” – Banda El Recodo
4. “Me Sobrabas Tu” – Banda Los Recoditos
5. “Culpable Fui (Culpable Soy)” – Intocable
6. “Malditas Ganas” – Alfredo Rios El Komander
7. “Que Aun Te Amo” – Pesado
8. “A Lo Mejor” – Banda MS
9. “Lo Hiciste Otra Vez” – Arrolladora
10. “El Que Se Enamora Pierde” – Banda Carnaval

11. “Eres Una Niña” – Gerardo Ortiz
12. “Sencillamente” – Raúl y Mexia + SuenaTron
13. “Mayor De Edad” – La Original Banda el Limón
14. “No Fue Necesario” – El Bebeto
15. “Si Tuviera Que Decirlo” – Pedro Fernandez
16. “Perdi La Pose” – Espinoza Paz
17. “Escuchame” – Fidel Rueda
18. “Me Importas” – Los Primos MX
19. “Tiene Espinas El Rosal” – Grupo Cañaveral De Humberto Pabón ft. Jenny and the Mexicats
20. “Es Todo Un Placer” – Diego Herrera ft. Los Gfez

¡Adios!
“El Pajarito” – Marco Flores y La Número 1 Banda Jerez
“Nos Acostumbramos” – Los Horoscopos de Durango
“En La Sierra y La Ciudad La China” – La Adictiva Banda San Jose
“Debajo Del Sombrero” – Leandro Ríos ft. Pancho Uresti de Banda Tierra Sagrada
“Broche De Oro” – Banda La Trakalosa
“Cuando Tu Me Besas” – El Bebeto
“Dime” – Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda

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