The hyper-abundant compilation album is one of the more bewildering aspects of the Regional Mexican music industry. There are a LOT of them — witness this Allmusic list of more than 50 Conjunto Primavera comps since 1995, released on eight different record labels. Lately some music-writer friends and acquaintances have observed a dearth of compilation albums in recent years, given listeners’ ability to cherrypick their own songs on streaming sites. NorteñoBlog does not dispute this observation; I’ll only add that the compilation market in Regional Mexican is still going strong. This year saw four new Primavera comps, on two different labels. Who’s buying these things? Don’t they already own all these songs?
Without answering these questions, NorteñoBlog presents this list of 100 single- (or, in the case of Sony’s Frente a Frente series, double-) artist comps released on CD in 2015. It doesn’t include multi-artist comps like Fonovisa’s annual Radio Éxitos: Discos Del Año series. This list is incomplete; I’m pretty sure I could find more by scouring the catalogs of indie labels Select-O-Hits and D&O.
A crowded field of contenders met this week, selling themselves to a fickle public by trying to outshout their rivals. As they took their places on the public stage, arranged according to their polling numbers, some sported relatively fresh faces while others had clearly been here before. Broadcast to the masses, they broached the familiar topics of family values and the plight of the working class. They touted their hardscrabble origins and titanic work ethics. One challenger had amassed unimaginable wealth and made certain everyone in the audience knew it. The contenders spared no expense, and certainly no words, in their attempt to move one step closer to claiming the world’s most powerful and coveted title.
I refer, of course, to NorteñoBlog’s prestigious Pick to Click.
There are eight new songs, to be exact, since the last time we checked the Mexican radio charts five weeks ago. I’m afraid I can’t assign their singers one-to-one correspondence with the… unique field of candidates seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. president. Although both groups contain mostly men — in this thought experiment, the part of Carly Fiorina will be played by Los Horóscopos — the Mexican radio stars are not, so far as I can tell, frightening power-mad scaredy cats. Here are their strong suits, from lowest polling to highest:
At #20, Diego Herrera sings a tribute to the families who’ve stood behind their famous norteño singing sons. This could have lapsed into sap, but Herrera is a masterful singer who lands each of his many words with precision and dexterity. Plus he uses the word “chingones” over and over. (Since I don’t think Miss Manners has covered it, this Latina article dissects how appropriate the word is for polite company. Opinions vary!)
At #19, the man with the continent’s best voice, Julión Álvarez, sings about love (as he does) in one of his better recent tunes, a fast banda. He’s also the only person I know who has convincingly sung the word “irremediablemente.”
Los Tucanes and their rich friends Código FN are at #18, singing a corrido about the big name bandas who play their fancy parties, where the liquor bottles flow like spit valves and muchachas dangle from arms. How did our hosts get all their money? Don’t ask questions!
At #17, the members of La Estructura, a relatively new quartet/quintet, are weary. Their gauntlet of negotiating the nightlife and trying to win back a pretty mujer has tuckered them out. As the tubist blarts out sad counterpoint the lead singer stops traffic to block his ex’s SUV and plead his case. Improbably, this works.
Mariachi Pedro Fernández is at lucky #13 with a cover of Leandro Rios’s excellent rhyming exercise/claim to hardcore ranchero roots, “Debajo Del Sombrero.” The song remains great, but Fernández’s take sounds too smooth, even perfunctory, as though he and his well tooled mariachi machine are racing through it.
Up at #9, Fidel Rueda insists, over speedy banda, that he is not el mandadero, for whom he is sometimes confused by assholes. Rather, la moneda está volteada, y Rueda es él que manda. Merely for serving as a furious rebuke to some of those frightening power-mad scaredy cats, this would be a front-runner for Pick to Click status. Turns out it’s a fine song, too. I’ll entertain a motion from the floor.
I mean, you knew it wasn’t gonna go to those Sebastianes or Arrolladora ballads, they just kept crying all over the place.
(BTW, the top 3 songs remain unchanged from five weeks ago. Meet the new jefes, same as the old jefes.)
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 “Worth It,” “See You Again,” “Cheerleader,” and a Kalimba song that strums along forgettably.
This week’s two new songs present a conundrum. Do I prefer Los Recoditos’ new ballad “Me Toco Perder,” specifically the heartfelt manner in which the lead singer pronounces the word “estrellllllas,” holding himself back from the crucial high note until his vibrato bursts through like a tear-filled reservoir? Or should I direct you instead to the speedier pleasures of La Iniciativa’s “La Reina,” which has lots of stop-start precision and chewy tuba-vs.-accordion lines? Probably the latter. But there’s a third song that deserves your attention more: Ariel Camacho’s love song “Te Metiste,” debuting this week on Billboard’s Hot Latin chart but not the regional Mexican chart, which means it’s getting most of its listens from streams and/or downloads. This could still be the result of Camacho’s death bump, but I prefer to think people are seeking out this song because of its great melody played by an excellent band. Pick to click:
In other news, Julión Álvarez’s “El Amor de Su Vida” goes top 10 in both countries. Clearly I am wrong about it.
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, sounding like they crashed from all that sugar, Juan Gabriel singing with Juanes.
Stasis sets in on the Mexican radio chart, with the top eight songs simply shuffling among themselves. Even the lower reaches contain only three new entries this week, but all three fill important niches. In the “boring banda ballad” spot, La Adictiva Banda replaces La Original Banda. Banda la Trakalosa replaces Gerardo Ortiz in the “actually good banda ballad” spot with their high-camp “Adicto a La Tristeza,” a previous Pick to Click. And the new “fast norteño quartet song” is from songwriter to the stars America Sierra, whose “Ponte Las Pilas” replaces Diego Herrera. Herrera’s song may have been a tad better, but only because he got Banda Los Gfez to play on it.
In other news, the Los Tigres song at #1 this week sounds better every time I hear it.
There’s even less action over at Billboard, although J Balvin finally gets a #1 hit with the 25-week-old “Ay Vamos,” and Enigma Norteño enters the Regional Mexican chart with the spry “Calla Y Me Besas.” That’s three hot Latin #1s in as many weeks! I’m scratching away at my dry skin with excitement.
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!”, “Blank Space,” and the ABBA-schlager of Natalia Jiménez.
Once again the Mexican radio chart tosses away songs faster than Marco Flores and his band can change their dance moves. (Mind the baritone player popping out from behind the congas!) Adiós, Pesado. Farewell, Lucero. Chuy Lizarraga, we hardly knew you. Los Tucanes, romantic ballads are not your forte. And in a couple cases, we simply exchange one skull-numbingly lush ballad for another: meet the new MS and Recodo, same as the old ones. (On the other hand, it looks like Recodo’s got a new album out soon, and science assures us it will not suck.)
As when a forest fire clears the way for delicate saplings, we’ve got a bunch of new songs. The pick to click is “Malditas Ganas” by Alfredo Rios El Komander, in the midst of undergoing a “The Rock”-to-“Dwayne Johnson”-style name change. Los Tigres is in the top 10 with the second delightful single from their 2014 album. In what may be a fluke, Intocable’s charting with a loathsome power ballad off their 2013 album. The balladry’s more powerful with mariachi singer (and new La Voz Kids host) Pedro Fernandez, at #20 with the pretty “Si Tuviera Que Decirlo.” Finally, the brothers Raúl y Mexia Hernández present an entity called SuenaTron, which I’m pretty sure blasted Godzilla with a giant nuclear accordion in the last movie. Here they blast us with “Sencillamente,” pop-rock so straight up I’m not sure what it’s doing on this chart, aside from the accordion.
These are Mexico’s top 20 Popular songs as charted by RadioNotas. Don’t confuse “Popular” with the “General” list, which contains most of the same songs along with “Uptown Funk!”, Calvin Harris’s “Blame,” and Pedro Fernandez’s cohost Natalia Jimenez, among others.