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Los Huracanes del Norte

Archivos de 1996 (starring Jennifer y Los Jetz, Los Tigres, y más)

jennifer-pena

The Regional Mexican charts of 1996 held four separate genres. One of them was the deathless norteño of Los Tigres and Los Huracanes; the other three were in various stages of decline.

The technobanda of Bandas Machos and Maguey still thrived, but in a few years would be eclipsed by acoustic banda. Helena Simonett’s book Banda lays out the commercial leapfrogging these two styles played with one another throughout the ’90s.

Tejano fans were still mourning Selena — see #7 below — but they were also welcoming newcomers like Jennifer Peña y Los Jetz (see the Pick to Click, below) and Bobby Pulido (see the terrible song right below her). There were, however, rumblings on the horizon. San Antonio and Dallas were suffering from too many Tejano bookers flooding the market, one promoter told Billboard‘s Ramiro Burr. Some bands complained that clubs were replacing live bands with DJs. Burr would spend the next several years chronicling the decline of the Tejano genre as a commercial force, though it still exists for a small but fervent fanbase.

The third synth-based style, grupo music, also still exists, but its commercial mojo would peter out more abruptly. Marco Antonio Solís had just left Los Bukis and was scoring a bunch of solo Hot Latin #1 hits that sounded way more pop than the rest of his cohort. (See #2 below.) Bronco would retire in 1997, leaving Los Temerarios and Los Mismos to care for the genre. I think. NorteñoBlog’s disinterest in grupo music remains strong and resolute.

[EDIT: I just checked and Los Temerarios were still scoring big hits in 2004, and possibly later, so maybe the petering was more gradual.]

These were the Top 15 Regional Mexican songs, as published by Billboard on November 9, 1996: Continue reading “Archivos de 1996 (starring Jennifer y Los Jetz, Los Tigres, y más)”

Parade (Desfile de Éxitos 4/30/16)

huracanes-del-norte-estrenan-video
Life could be so nice…

Controversy over Gerardo Ortiz‘s “Fuiste Mia” video continues this week, as it returns to YouTube in a version designed to make you and your computer blue. The video, you’ll recall, opens with a scene of Sr. Ortiz and the most beautiful girl in the world sharing a kiss in the shower, getting soft and wet 2gether. In the next scene, Ortiz catches her starting to work it with another man, asks the eternal question “Why you wanna treat me so bad?”, and shoots that dude in the head atop the bed, leaving him dead on it. The video ends with the beautiful ones on the outs, Ortiz shoving her into the trunk of his sporty little automatic, and, tick tick bang, blowing her up. Scandalous! This time, in a delirious attempt to make the video less dark, the action is obscured by a big “Gerardo Ortiz” logo that refuses to gett off the screen, but all these plot points remain plain as Morris Day.

Arguments for and against the video have gone round and round. Critics, seeing in this video a sign ‘o’ the times, have accused Ortiz of exploiting Mexico’s chaos and disorder, and treating glibly the country’s violence against women. In a press conference, Ortiz countered with the “baby I’m a star” defense — he’s only acting, the video is pure fiction, and it’s his job to push the envelope to the max. Cynics might note that the song itself is a standard “when you were mine” love song — it’s fine but not exactly jam of the year — and that this arbitrary video is a mismatch for the song’s style. As a publicity move, the video is an undisputed, if underwhelming, success: the new “Fuiste Mia” video has racked up 1.6 million views and last week hit #20 on the ladder of the Latin pop life, Billboard‘s Hot Latin chart. This week it drops to a new position at #30. (Ortiz’s other chart hit this week, “¿Por Qué Terminamos?”, peaked at 7.)

jesus ojedaElsewhere, Jesús Ojeda drops to #42 with his own video wet dream. Songwriter Jesús Sauceda — who assures me via emale that he is NOT Jesús Ojeda, 3121 online bios to the contrary — enters at #47 with Los Huracanes’ “Amarte Es Hermoso.” Los Titanes‘ previous Pick to Click “Rumbo a Maza” — remember? the one where they get caught speeding jesus saucedain their little red white Corvette but then talk their way out of the ticket and go free? — holds steady at #49. If you’re anxious for a new chart entry worthy of NorteñoBlog’s coveted Pick to Click status, we’re still waiting for someone to release it. Trust me, I feel for you.

(Adios, you sexy mf; te amo corazón.) Continue reading “Parade (Desfile de Éxitos 4/30/16)”

Archivos de 2004 (starring Grupo Climax, Alicia Villarreal, y más)

Grupo_Climax

Sometimes when you’re feeling whimsical/bored/done with dishes, you just decide to research the chart statistics of Grupo Climax. Or I do — I may be atypical. One thing leads to another, za za za, and so here are Billboard‘s top 10 Regional Mexican airplay songs from July 17, 2004, the week Climax’s only notable hit enjoyed its highest chart placement. Hot Latin chart placement is in parentheses.

Note that in 2004, the Hot Latin charts were still strictly based on airplay: “A panel of 99 stations (40 Latin Pop, 16 Tropical, 51 Regional Mexican) are electronically monitored 24 hrs. a day, 7 days a week.” (Today they also incorporate sales and streams, but there remain breakout charts like Regional Mexican that measure only airplay.) This accounting method placed five RegMex songs inside the Hot Latin top 10, a percentage we never see today; but it also meant the Hot Latin top 25 contained 10 regional Mexican songs, pretty typical by today’s standards.

1. “Qué de Raro Tiene” – Los Temerarios (#2 Hot Latin)
Trembly-eyebrowed synth-pop grupero brothers go nostalgic with an album of ranchera covers, including this Vicente Fernández cover that would top the Hot Latin chart. Gustavo Angel unleashes his throat and sounds right at home in this style. (Be sure to check out their AllMusic bio for a fascinating look at how the brothers started their own label and challenged Fonovisa, only to eventually be swallowed by the giant.)

2. “Dos Locos” – Los Horóscopos de Durango (#5 Hot Latin)
“The Durango Gang Busts Out of Chicago,” read the Billboard headline on June 12, shortly after this song had topped the Regional Mexican chart. Los Horóscopos had been a working banda for 30 years before their enterprising leader Armando Terrazas decided to put his daughters, the multi-instrumentalists Vicky and Marisol, up front. This sad polka cover of Monchy & Alexandra was cut from the same bachata cloth as their cover of Aventura’s “Obsesion,” and it hits one of duranguense’s sweet spots — floaty heartache over nonstop oompahs. (The other sweet spot is clattery barely-constrained synth-tuba chaos, but that didn’t chart as much.) Continue reading “Archivos de 2004 (starring Grupo Climax, Alicia Villarreal, y más)”

Desfile de Éxitos 12/19/15: Debajo Los Puentes

carnaval on bridge

The song sitting atop this week’s radio chart is an oddity. Banda Carnaval’s “Te Cambio El Domicilio,” a spritely pitching of woo with soaring vocal harmonies and a clever title conceit (“don’t change anything, baby, ’cause I’mma make you change your address” — I’m paraphrasing), has been climbing Billboard‘s Regional Mexican chart for 17 weeks, finally hitting #1 last week. But it still hasn’t gone top 25 on the Hot Latin chart, which measures downloads and streams alongside radio play. This is the first Regional Mexican #1 this year that hasn’t cracked the Hot Latin 25, and most of those songs have gone top 10 on the big chart during their most popular radio weeks. Basically, if a song’s receiving that much radio play and it has an online presence — Youtube video, availability at streaming sites and download stores — it’s gonna represent on Hot Latin.

What’s more, the video for “Domicilio” — in which the young men of Carnaval pitch their woo in front of a number of high-end urban settings, including Guadalajara’s extremely pointy Puente Matute Remus — has been viewed 25 million times in the past four months… which, I dunno, seems like it should be enough to drive the song into the company of King Romeo and Viceroy Nicky Jam? For comparison, Remmy Valenzuela’s lovely inquiry into the madness of love, “¿Por Qué Me Ilusionaste?”, is middling at #12 Regional Mexican this week. Its video dropped a week later than Carnaval’s, and so far it’s garnered 6.5 million fewer views, but the song is at #18 Hot Latin. Granted, I have no idea how much either video has been viewed in specific weeks or how much they’ve sold online. All I know is Remmy’s song has less radio play and fewer overall Youtube hits than Carnaval’s song, but Remmy’s on Hot Latin and Carnaval isn’t.

This isn’t some huge cosmic injustice or anything; basically it’s me pointing a dowsing stick at Billboard and trying to divine their proprietary chart formulas. Continue reading “Desfile de Éxitos 12/19/15: Debajo Los Puentes”

NorteñoBlog’s Top Singles of 2015: Julio – Septiembre

marco flores

UPDATED YOUTUBE PLAYLIST HERE

Three months ago on our Top Singles list, NorteñoBlog was concerned about a lack of chart hits and puro sax music. Worry no more! There’s a bit less variety on this list than before, in part because I devoted the month of agosto to a project that prevented me from trawling for indie singles. (More on that project soon.) But the states of California, Chihuahua, Texas, Tijuana, and Zacatecas all represent below, along with ever-present Sinaloa.

(First quarter singles are here; second quarter singles are here.)

1. Marco A. Flores y Su Numero Uno Banda Jerez“Amor de la Vida Alegre” (Garmex)
Mexican radio hit
Flores, who also made NorteñoBlog’s favorite single six months ago, is like the Ramones with better beats, Rae Sremmurd if they were fast, early Madonna with a better voice. He makes termite art of the most gnawing and forward-thinking sort. He spends half this song crowing over just drums and tuba.


Continue reading “NorteñoBlog’s Top Singles of 2015: Julio – Septiembre”

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 9/8/15

marco flores

NorteñoBlog has pretty much made its peace with boring ballads about corazones and the hombres who break/nurse/fondle them, so this week’s Mexican Top 20 comes as a pleasant surprise. Most of the new songs are fast! Or at least midtempo, which often sounds like “fast” around this lot. (When Arrolladora’s devious mujer destroyed their collective soul, she also apparently destroyed their ability to play faster than 60 bpm.) Almost every inch of this new batch is perfect, from the bottom to the top:

At #20, Leandro Ríos, of superfun rhyming exercise “Debajo del Sombrero” fame, is now a no-good cheating bastard. But he’s really tortured about being caught “Entre Ella y Tú,” so that’s gotta count for something, right? Oh wait — HE’S NOT TORTURED AT ALL. As long as you’re content with the amount of Leandro you’re getting, what’s the problem? The jaunty accordion gave him away.

Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 9/8/15”

Ask a Norteño Fan: Manuel Martinez-Luna

manuel martinez-luna

Today we extend a warm NorteñoBlog welcome to Manuel Martinez-Luna. Manuel is a 31-year-old New York native, having cut a swath from Yonkers to Queens. You know him as the blog’s top commenter, which has led to an exciting new job (tambora roll…) writing for NorteñoBlog! (First article coming soon.) (No, there’s no money in it.) In his spare time, Manuel works as a compilations coordinator for The Orchard, a digital distribution arm of Sony Music, creating Regional Mexican compilations under the brand name Club Corridos. (Nice logo.) In alphabetical order, his favorites artists are Los Alegres del Barranco, the Beatles, Vicente Fernández, Ratt, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

We recently talked by phone for almost an hour about growing up in Yonkers, how Manuel came to love norteño music, how Hispanic and white people view narcocorridos, and his karaoke triumphs and fails. Here’s the edited transcript:

NorteñoBlog: What was the first popular music you ever remember loving? How did you hear it? What did you love about it?

Manuel Martinez-Luna: I would say it was hip hop. I got more aware of the artists and particular songs in middle school. Jay-Z and, when I used to live in Yonkers, the Lox — I still listen to them. For the most part it was the beats, the instruments they used, but also the lyrics — some songs might have been a little bit more street-oriented or violent, but a lot of the the things they said I could definitely relate to. The struggle, growing up in the inner city, was not that uncommon from the type of life I had — and not just me, but a lot of people can relate to not having enough money to get school clothes for the new year, or whatever it may be. Your plumbing doesn’t work during the winter, so you have to heat up your bath water in a big pot and then pour it over yourself to take a shower. Like the landlord, sometimes you ask him, “Come by and fix my damn pipes!” You know, they take a while, and you can’t show up to school smelly.

NB: What kind of music did your parents listen to? Did you find yourself liking what they liked, rebelling against their taste, or what?

MML: All Mexican music, primarily rancheros — you know, Vicente Fernandez, Antonio Aguilar — stuff like that. My dad would listen to corridos, but mostly more old school stuff — Los Alegres de Terán, Los Huracanes del Norte, like those guys? My mom would listen to very obscure female groups, I can’t remember their name right now. I think their name was Las Jilgueras something… [NB note: Las Jilguerillas?]

Honestly, when I was younger, I just didn’t get it — I thought it was kind of hokey and too old school or whatever. I would hear it in the background all the time, Saturday mornings my mom and dad would put on their music and we would go about our business, but at that time I just didn’t get it. You know, I wasn’t into it.

That changed around 2006, 2007, Continue reading “Ask a Norteño Fan: Manuel Martinez-Luna”

¡Nuevo! (starring Banda Cuisillos, Los Huracanes, y más)

cuisillos feathers

huracanesWith a career nearly as long as Los Tigres’ and a catalog just as intimidating, San Jose’s own Los Huracanes del Norte have been playing their corridos and love songs for more years than I’ve been alive. Longevity is part of their story. So naturally, their new album on GarMex/Universal is titled #. The cover, you see, is festooned with a bunch of Twitter hashtags you can use to spread your love of Los Huracanes, and most of them seem legit, although tweeter beware: when I looked up #queseoigaesebajosextomipancho, I didn’t get any results. You can be the first, I guess. All those hashtags make for an attractive album cover, and my keen-eyed friend Anthony likes the font they used. Los Huracanes have already hit the U.S. radio top 20 with “Como Tu No Hay Dos,” a sad country waltz played amid a surreal video landscape of inverted toilet plungers. Their reach also extends to #Manástylepopballadswithsopranosaxleads, as evidenced on last year’s #1 “Cero a la Izquierda.”
Continue reading “¡Nuevo! (starring Banda Cuisillos, Los Huracanes, y más)”

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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