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Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 11/17/16

gerardo-ortiz-regresa-hermosa-snap-b

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”

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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”

Desfile de Éxitos 4/9/16

los titanes

NorteñoBlog returned from Easter break to a special treat — and no, I’m not talking about the controversial, NSPT “Fuiste Mia” video where Gerardo Ortiz catches his mujer with another dude, shoots the dude, helps said mujer into the trunk of his car, and then lights the car on fire. If you’re thinking, “That sounds like a 15-year-old Eminem song” — you’re right! It’s basically the plot of “Kim” (and, to a lesser extent, “Stan”), only none of that drama actually occurs in the lyrics of “Fuiste Mia,” itself an anodyne but pretty obsession anthem. This video raises complex moral questions. Is depicting femicide in a music video more arbitrary, and therefore less defensible, than depicting the same crime in song? Is the “Fuiste Mia” video less hypocritical, and therefore more defensible, than that Séptima video where the singer sells his cheating mujer into slavery, only to end with a Muy Especial message against “la trata de blancas”? NorteñoBlog will consult with our team of ethicists and get back to you approximately, oh, never.

You see, I’m too excited about this other treat: Billboard has expanded its website’s Hot Latin Songs chart from 25 songs to 50 songs! (I’m pretty sure it’s always 50 songs long in the magazine.) It’s too soon to tell whether this is a one-week oversight, a permanent change, or a joyful seasonal rite meant to commemorate the 50 days of Eastertide feasting. One thing I can tell: you’re not as excited as I am. Here’s why you should be.

1. More songs! Continue reading “Desfile de Éxitos 4/9/16”

¡Nuevo! (starring Larry Hernández, Pesado, y más)

Larrymania

larry hernandezHere at NorteñoBlog we’ve not yet explored the career of Larry Hernández, corridista and family man, creator of both controversial Youtube smashes and a reality show called Larrymania. He’s out with a new album today, 16 Narco Corridos: Vol. 2 (Fonovisa), whose psychedelic purple cover — complete with frolicking spiders and ungulates! — suggests a lyrical move from production to consumption. No idea whether that’s true, since none of the songs seem to have found their way onto the internet yet. (Though I’m probably wrong about that, since Hernández knows his way around the internet better than I do.) Instead we have the sweet if stalkery “Vete Acostumbrando”, in which Hernández promises to show up outside your window at midnight with a banda, looking for your silhouette on the shade. Nice of him to provide warning.

Vol. 2 is the sequel to 2009’s 16 Narco Corridos, for a time Hernández’s biggest selling album and spawner of the hit “El Baleado.” Hernández got the same rap as Movimiento Alterado: that he glorified violence by singing explicitly about the violent murders surrounding Mexican drug cartels. According to Billboard‘s Leila Cobo, Hernández saw it differently:

Hernandez says he in no way seeks to glorify that way of life. While some of the appeal may lie simply in its shock value, composer/singer Hernandez says he sings about what he knows. “I lived violence as a child,” says Hernandez, who’s also an avid reader of books about drug cartels and the drug trade. “I was born in Los Angeles but was raised in Mexico, and as a boy, I saw how this person or the other was killed. They are my experiences.”

But while this may be the reality in Mexico, it isn’t the same in the United States. This fact, producer Adolfo Valenzuela says, makes the songs harmless- and appealing- in the United States. “Here, it would be almost impossible for [young people] to go around toting guns,” says Valenzuela, whose company, Twiins Enterprises, has signed several new acts like El Kommander. “I think they merely see it as something forbidden and cool. They see it as a new trend.”

Sometimes I wonder whether Adolfo Valenzuela inspired the character of Caesar Flickerman in The Hunger Games.

pesadoIn the past we’ve been annoyed by the superabundance of Pesado’s live albums, but we’ve also appreciated their acumen for soaring melodies and male video models. Their new album Abrázame (Disa) may or may not be out today, or possibly sometime in May, but there’s no question it opens with their VALE LA PENA single “Que Aún Te Amo,” and it’s quite likely that lovelorn singer Mario Alberto Zapato could use a hug.

capitanes de ojinagaThe border city of Ojinaga, Chihuahua, has a dual musical personality. In the ’80s it was home to man myth legend Pablo Acosta, El Zorro de Ojinaga, one of those storied drug traffickers who gave back to the community before getting offed by los federales. As such, Ojinaga and El Zorro himself will live forever in the form of corridos, including one by Los Tigres. But Ojinaga is also the musical home to a slew of peppy saxophone dance bands, including Conjunto Primavera and Los Rieleros, giving rise to the “puro Chihuahua sax” sound. Two such bands have new music out: La Fiera de Ojinaga just released the single “Como Una Fiera” (Azteca), and Capitanes de Ojinaga have the album Volando Hacia Ti (Goma) with its solid romantic lope “Cuando Quieras Llorar.” Capitanes’ singer even sounds a little like Primavera’s Tony Meléndez, one of the higher compliments NorteñoBlog can pay.

triny y la leyendaThe Go Tejano Day protesters had a point — their music has suffered neglect in recent years — but what about those poor fans of tierra caliente? Man, nobody’s even talking about that stuff any more! NorteñoBlog would seek to right this wrong, but I actually don’t like tierra caliente, since it always just seemed like duranguense for supper clubs or church socials. Here to prove me wrong are genre stalwarts Triny y La Leyenda with Me Voy a Ir (Discos Arpeggio). Triny’s single “Tu Desastre” could be worse — the accordionist is spitting out some wicked fills in the background — but I fear it won’t change hearts and minds. Neither will the latest hits compilation by supertwee Tierra Cali, La Historia… Mis Éxitos (Universal).

rocio quirozYou would perhaps like some cumbias? Argentina’s Rocio Quiroz has a new album, Vivir Soñando (Ser Música), thoughtfully uploaded to Youtube by some scofflaw. This seems really good, especially its Pick to Click single “La De La Paloma”, a minor key stomp with its drums slightly off-kilter in that delicious cumbia manner. The guitar tone is like something out of ’80s new wave, and Quiroz sounds great spitting out heartache.

Grupo Maximo GradoLike many corridistas before them, Grupo Máximo Grado think they are Iván Archibaldo Guzmán Salazar, and they sing as much on their latest album and single, Yo Soy Ivan (Sol/Hyphy). See also Gerardo Ortiz’s “Archivaldo,” where Banda El Recodo and Los Tucanes show up at Ivan Archivaldo’s party. Máximo Grado’s Ivan has hot licks and a good tune that climbs its way into the upper register (akin to how Ivan’s dad climbed his way into the upper ranks of the Sinaloa Cartel, hmmmm?), but little in the way of uncanny lyrical detail. Corridistas take note: you should always namedrop who plays your icons’ parties, because it gives me more to write about.

bisnietosI know nothing about Los BisNietos except each one is un Hombre De Rancho (Luz), although their singing comes more from the school of clean norteño vocals, reminiscent of Glenn Medeiros. (As opposed to Marco Flores’s more extreme norteño vocals, reminiscent of a rooster.) The single “Me Creo” has some wicked accordion, fitting for a song in which Los BisNietos cast themselves as villains… OF THE HEART. Their sideburns are their rapiers.

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

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 2/27/15

americasierra_porqueelamormanda

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.

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

11. “Si Tuviera Que Decirlo” – Pedro Fernandez
12. “Lo Hiciste Otra Vez” – Arrolladora
13. “Sencillamente” – Raúl y Mexia + SuenaTron
14. “Escuchame” – Fidel Rueda
15. “El Que Se Enamora Pierde” – Banda Carnaval
16. “Perdi La Pose” – Espinoza Paz
17. “Me Importas” – Los Primos MX
18. “Ponte Las Pilas” – America Sierra
19. “Adicto a la Tristeza” – Banda La Trakalosa ft. Pancho Uresti
20. “Tiene Espinas El Rosal” – Grupo Cañaveral De Humberto Pabón ft. Jenny and the Mexicats

¡Adios!
“Es Todo Un Placer” – Diego Herrera ft. Los Gfez
“Mayor De Edad” – La Original Banda el Limón
“Eres Una Niña” – Gerardo Ortiz

Desfile de Éxitos 2/28/15

chuy lizarraga

Another chart, another week of being contigo and living contigo and dancing cont– what? What’s that? YOU SAY THAT AFTER 41 WEEKS, “BAILANDO” IS NO LONGER NUMBER 1?

[Cue Star Wars clips of the Death Star blowing up, cheesy computer-animated intergalactic societies dancing and partying in its wake. Despair sets in when we realize they’re dancing to a steel drum version of “Bailando.”]

That’s right, Enrique and the gang have been replaced by Maná and Shakira singing a bit of tissue paper called “Mi Verdad.” Say what you want about “Bailando” — and no, I cannot prove it was part of a North Korean plot to make Americans voluntarily destroy all our broadcast technology — but at least it’s memorable. A good teaching tool! If it weren’t for millions of Youtube viewers confirming “Mi Verdad” actually exists, I’d have my doubts.

Don’t shed too many tears for Enrique, though — he’s climbing at #12 on a Nicky Jam track, and anyway, “Bailando” simply moves down to #2, just ahead of the 82-week-old “Propuesta Indecente.” (“Bailando” has always been at war with “Propuesta Indecente.”) King Romeo’s doing OK, too. With his new song “Hilito” climbing to #13, Romeo Santos is getting perilously close to having four songs in the top 10 again. Speaking of which, the Singles Jukebox just covered his duet with Marc Anthony; Jonathan Bogart suggests, “The alleged woman at the center of the lyric is entirely absent: Marc and Romeo spend the entire song preening for and performing at each other, not her.”

Among this week’s new entries, the Pick to Click is Chuy Lizarraga’s banda ballad “Se Me Sigue Notando.” Calling it dramatic is like calling an Applebee’s cocktail watered down, but Lizarraga achieves his drama through the confident relaxation of his pacing. Like, the song’s really slow? And Lizarraga doesn’t seem to care, and in fact he wants you to wonder when the next phrase is going to hit. Just slow down and accept that Chuy knows what he’s doing, and your mind will open to a new realm of romantic despair. (Today’s gringo country comparison is Jamey Johnson.)

These are the top 25 Hot Latin Songs and top 20 Regional Mexican Songs, courtesy Billboard, as published Feb. 28.

1. “Mi Verdad” – Maná ft. Shakira
2. “Bailando” – Enrique ft. Descemer Bueno, Gente de Zona, & the word “contigo” (48 WEEKS OLD)
3. “Propuesta Indecente” – Romeo Santos (82 WEEKS OLD)
4. “Ay Vamos” – J Balvin
5. “Eres Mia” – Romeo Santos (49 WEEKS OLD)
6. “Travesuras” – Nicky Jam
7. “Yo También” – Romeo Santos ft. Marc Anthony
8. “Hablame de Ti” – Banda MS (#14 RegMex) (snoooooozzzzzz)
9. “Disparo Al Corazon” – Ricky Martin
10. “Eres Una Niña” – Gerardo Ortíz (#3 RegMex)

11. “Dime” – Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda (#6 RegMex)
12. “El Perdon” – Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias
13. “Hilito” – Romeo Santos
14. “Juntos (Together)” – Juanes
15. “Piensas (Dile La Verdad)” – Pitbull ft. Gente de Zona
16. “Levantando Polvadera” – Voz De Mando (#1 RegMex)
17. “Lejos De Aqui” – Farruko
18. “Soltero Disponible” – Regulo Caro (#5 RegMex)
19. “Lo Hiciste Otra Vez” – La Arrolladora Banda El Limón (#2 RegMex) (Oh dear, this is not good. Not just sap — meandering sap.)
20. “Qué Tiene De Malo” – Calibre 50 ft. El Komander (#13 RegMex)

21. “Adios” – Ricky Martin (BACK FROM THE DEAD THIRTIES)
22. “Fanatica Sensual” – Plan B
23. “Mi Princesa” – Remmy Valenzuela (#9 RegMex)
24. “Mi Vuelvo Un Cobarde” – Christian Daniel
25. “Contigo” – Calibre 50 (#19 RegMex)

¡Adios!
“Mi Vecinita” – Plan B
“Quédate Con Ella” – Natalia Jiménez (Sleek! Horns + electrobeats!)
“Soledad” – Don Omar

—————–

4. “Eres Tú” – Proyecto X
7. “No Te Vayas” – Fidel Rueda
8. “El Que Se Enamora Pierde” – Banda Carnaval
10. “Entonces Que Somos” – Banda El Recodo (A nada Luciano Luna ballad off Recodo’s 2013 album, now turned into a dramatic short film.)

11. “Javier El de Los Llanos” – Calibre 50
12. “El Karma” – Ariel Camacho y Los Plebes Del Rancho
15. “Y Vete Olvidando” – Javier Rosas
16. “Se Me Sigue Notando” – Chuy Lizarraga y Su Banda Tierra Sinaloense
17. “Mi Primera Vez” – Jonatan Sánchez
18. “Que Aun Te Amo” – Pesado
20. “El Amor de Nosotros” – Duelo

¡Adios!
“Perdoname Mi Amor” – Los Tucanes de Tijuana
“La Indicada” – Kevin Ortíz
“La Bala” – Los Tigres Del Norte
“Hasta Que Salga El Sol” – Banda Los Recoditos
“Y Asi Fue” – Julión Álvarez
“No Me Pidas Perdon” – Banda MS

¡Nuevo!

diana reyes

Being a duranguense fan has lately felt like being a scorpion at a Sierra Club meeting — everyone runs away when they see you coming, but once they’re safely across the room, they talk about you with condescending pity and acknowledge your vital role. Hence the new compilation from Diana Reyes, Mis Mejores Duranguenses, a promising overview of an important career. Back in ‘04-’05, Chicago duranguense music was the hot sound of norteño, a pared down take on banda with synth horns, faster tempos, unhinged tambora, and a ridiculous dance step all its own. Born in Baja California, with family from Sinaloa, Reyes began her career recording traditional norteño but hopped aboard the Durango bandwagon and released several albums for different labels, including her own DBC. To give you an idea of how bankable this stuff was, her third album for Musimex/Universal was a Christmas album, Navidad Duranguense.

In 2010 Reyes released her best album, Amame Besame, through Capitol Records — back on the majors! Half duranguense, half techno corrido, and all exquisitely produced, it effectively marked the end of duranguense not just for Reyes but for regional Mexican music in general. Former heavy hitters like Grupo Montéz and Alacranes Musical have seen their popularity dwindle and their sound give way to banda pop. (That new Alacranes song, which I shouldn’t in good conscience endorse because the linked video promotes cockfighting, sounds rad.) Los Horóscopos de Durango just up and went banda. Reyes herself returned to norteño for an underwhelming 2011 album, and recently released this power ballad telenovela theme, “Yo No Creo En Los Hombres.” (Hey, me neither.) I won’t vouch for the song, whose horns read more “‘80s Chicago” than any horn-based music you’d actually wanna hear wafting from our fair city, but her husky vibrato remains a powerhouse. As for this new hits album, 20 straight duranguenses will be too many, but Reyes sang them as well as anyone. Aside from making lots of pretty, clattery pop, her music might make lots of people nostalgic for a time when they could reliably hear women’s voices on regional Mexican radio. Let’s hope so.

Also new this week:

Senzu-Rah from singer-songwriter Regulo Caro, whose album last year trafficked in off-kilter songwriting experiments and character studies, while still digging deep into corridos;

Así Te Quiero Yo from Banda Tierra Sagrada, who, if they don’t get sucked into a sarlacc pit of samey banda ballads, might deliver more energetic bad-boy anthems like the album’s lead single “Soy Un Desmadre”;

and a new live comp from Pesado, which’ll probably turn out to be a couple hours of mildly pleasant stodge that you either already own in some other form, or never need to hear again.

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