music, charts, opinions



Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 2/16/16


First off, NorteñoBlog congratulates friends of the blog Los Tigres, Natalia Lafourcade, and most charming man alive Pitbull on their recent Grammy wins. Los Tigres’ very good Realidades won for “Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano),” a category that included no Tejano albums but whose name testifies to the lingering power of the Tejano voting bloc. Or at least to the outspoken crankiness of the Tejano voting bloc. (I assume there’s still a Tejano voting bloc.) Lafourcade’s fine Hasta La Raíz tied with Pitty Wap’s intermittently banging Dale for “Best Latin Rock, Urban, or Alternative Album.” NorteñoBlog woulda picked Maquinaria Norteña for Regional and Bomba Estéreo for Rock/Urban/Alternative — after all, the Bombas excel in all three areas — but these were still respectable and relevant choices.

Next, NorteñoBlog congratulates Espinoza Paz for writing lots of decent, non-sappy songs recently. Paz is capable of biting hilarity — see Marco Flores’s “El Pajarito” and Los Horóscopos’ “Estoy Con Otro En La Cama.” He can also concoct musical experiments that look deceptively simple, like Arrolladora’s “Cabecita Dura” — 120 straight syllables without pause or apparent breath! — and straight up banda bangers like Roberto Tapia’s new single “Vale La Pena.” (That video seems to have fallen off a truck, so watch it while you can.) Back in 2009, after he’d won his second straight BMI songwriter of the year award, Billboard‘s Leila Cobo interviewed Paz, a former migrant worker who doesn’t read music.

Cobo: How would you describe your music?

Paz: Commercial.

True enough; and like most professionals he’s had some bad days at the office, especially in solo work like “Sin Esencia,” a pensive smell-the-fart guitar ballad. Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 2/16/16”

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: Julio – Septiembre

marco flores


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”

Desfile de Éxitos 8/22/15

maximo grado

NorteñoBlog is un poco freaking out this week, because if you look way down at Billboard‘s Regional Mexican airplay chart, you’ll see Roberto Tapia has a new single called “No Valoraste.” Unfortunately Tapia hasn’t finished the video yet, nor has the song hit any of the streaming services I’ve checked, so I have no idea what “No Valoraste” sounds like. NorteñoBlog doesn’t always enjoy Tapia, but when I do, I prefer his pop singles. And it’s not just me! My son, who’s kind of rockist but also digs Kidz Bop and EDM-pop, normally hates when I turn on the Spanish language radio stations, but as we pulled into Grandma and Grandpa’s driveway the other night we found Tapia’s monster hit “Mirando al Cielo,” and he was grooving. It actually delayed our triumphant race to the grandparents’ door, as we sat in the car and seat-danced. Um, Pick to Click!

So Tapia’s latest will either be profoundly great or profoundly disappointing, is what I’m saying.

Thank heavens for “Mirando al Cielo,” from whence cometh our help, because this week’s charts are slim pickings. The best newish tune is by Banda MS: “Piénsalo” is the higher of their two songs inside the Hot Latin top 20, and it’s uncharacteristically fast, if not too special. MS typically hits with the stickiest of treacly ballads, and these concoctions have brought them untold fame and Youtube hits. Their older top 20 hit this week, “A Lo Mejor,” has gotten some click-baity help from Remex’s big-budget novela video, in which infidelity and mistaken identity somehow result in stabbing and crashing cars. Desafortunadamente, to make sense of all that you have to listen to “A Lo Mejor.”

Elsewhere, Joan Sebastian’s epic death bump evaporates as we say adios to his four revived hits; La Séptima Banda score a second decent airplay hit, though it’s no “Bonito y Bello”; Pitbull continues to be awesome; and people evidently continue streaming “Propuesta Indecente,” now at 107 weeks on the chart. Think about that. When “Propuesta Indecente” came out, NorteñoBlog’s guinea pig WAS NOT YET ALIVE. (“Propuesta Indecente” has always been at war with alfalfa hay and cilantro.)

After speaking with a big Máximo Grado fan the other day, I fear NorteñoBlog may have given short initial shrift to that group’s really pretty good “Unas Heladas,” currently at #14 airplay. So here it is, en realidad, this week’s Pick to Click:

These are the top 25 Hot Latin Songs and top 20 Regional Mexican Songs, courtesy Billboard, as published August 22.

1. “El Perdón” – Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias
2. “La Gozadera” – Gente de Zona ft. Marc Anthony
3. “Propuesta Indecente” – Romeo Santos (107 WEEKS OLD)
4. “Te Metiste” – Ariel Camacho y Los Plebes del Rancho (#2 RegMex)
5. “Ginza” – J Balvin
6. “Fanatica Sensual” – Plan B
7. “El Amor De Su Vida” – Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda (#5 RegMex)
8. “Hilito” – Romeo Santos
9. “Malditas Ganas” – El Komander (#4 RegMex)
10. “La Mordidita” – Ricky Martin ft. Yotuel

11. “Aunque Ahora Estes Con El” – Calibre 50 (#1 RegMex)
12. “Sigueme y Te Sigo” – Daddy Yankee
13. “Perdido En Tus Ojos” – Don Omar ft. Natti Natasha
14. “Mi Vicio Mas Grande” – Banda El Recodo (#6 RegMex)
15. “Piénsalo” – Banda MS (#8 RegMex)
16. “Cuál Adiós” – La Bandononona Clave Nueva de Max Peraza (#3 RegMex)
17. “El Taxi” – Pitbull ft. Sensato & Osmani Garcia
18. “Me Voy Enamorando (Remix)” – Chino & Nacho ft. Farruko
19. “A Lo Mejor” – Banda MS (#18 RegMex)
20. “El Cholo” – Gerardo Ortiz (#7 RegMex)

21. “Back It Up” – Prince Royce ft. Jennifer Lopez & Pitbull
22. “Baddest Girl In Town” – Pitbull ft. Mohombi & Wisin
23. “Duele El Amor” – Tony Dize
24. “Calentura” – Yandel
25. “Solita” – Prince Royce

“El Perdedor” – Joan Sebastian
“Me Gustas” – Joan Sebastian
“Un Idiota” – Joan Sebastian
“25 Rosas” – Joan Sebastian
“Pierdo la Cabeza” – Zion & Lennox


9. “Un Desengaño” – Conjunto Primavera ft. Ricky Muñoz
10. “Confesion” – Arrolladora

11. “La Revancha” – La Trakalosa de Monterrey
12. “Me Sobrabas Tu” – Banda Los Recoditos (#5 RegMex)
13. “Bonito Y Bello” – La Séptima Banda
14. “Unas Heladas” – Grupo Máximo Grado
15. “Cajita de Cartón” – Intocable
16. “Suena La Banda” – Los Tucanes de Tijuana ft. Código FN
17. “No Valoraste” – Roberto Tapia
19. “Veneno” – Duelo
20. “Se Va Muriendo Mi Alma” – La Séptima Banda

“Vete Acostumbrando” – Larry Hernández
“Debajo Del Sombrero” – Leandro Rios ft. Pancho Uresti
“Hablame de Ti” – Banda MS (#5 RegMex) (snoooooozzzzzz)
“Contigo” – Calibre 50 (#9 RegMex)

Desfile de Éxitos 6/13/15


When Pitbull someday releases a career-spanning greatest hits album, it’ll be a monster. He’s got one hits album already: 2012’s Original Hits compiled his early stuff from TVT records and it looks good (I confess I haven’t heard all the songs), but since he released it in the midst of the Planet Pit/Voli Vodka world takeover, most of the world outside the 305 area code overlooked it. NorteñoBlog doesn’t often cover Pitbull because he has about as much to do with regional Mexican music as Rita Moreno does. (I confess I have even LESS of a connection to the format, but here we are.) But since he is possibly the most charming man on the planet — he needs to be loved slightly more than everybody else does — I will share my theory of Pitbull hits:

There are two tiers of Pitbull hits. The top tier includes such monster EDM smashes as “Timber,” “Give Me Everything,” and “Time of Our Lives,” and these songs are pretty good, just as the Planet Pit album was pretty good. That’s disc one of our hypothetical career spanning compilation. But the second tier, our hypothetical disc two of smaller hits… THAT’S where Pitbull hides his gold. I’m talking stuff like last year’s #23 hit “Fireball,” his astounding Ying Yang Twins feature “Shake” (included on Original Hits), 2010’s phenomenal, bilingual, featuring-Lil-Jon-and-everybody “Watagatapitusberry,” and the Pick to Click that climbs this week to #25 on Hot Latin, “El Taxi” featuring Sensato & Cuban oral sex freedom fighter Osmani Garcia. (“Chupi Chupi” was the too sexy song in question.) It’s really Garcia’s song — he originally received top billing and it’s more than a year old at this point, with 111 million Youtube views, but I assume it’ll appear on Pit’s forthcoming Spanish album Dale. “El Taxi” is lowdown and slinky. It features car horns beeping. I mean, come on.

Continue reading “Desfile de Éxitos 6/13/15”

Desfile de Éxitos 3/28/15

luis coronel

You’d be excused for thinking the charts are dormant this week — the same #1’s, mostly the same top 10’s, “Bailando” has always been at war with “Propuesta Indecente,” etc. — but look beneath the filthy snow and there are signs of life. For one thing, NorteñoBlog will never complain about an accordion ballad reaching the Hot Latin top 10, even when that ballad is as lifeless as Calibre 50’s “Contigo.” True, this particular song might not push my buttons, but anything that helps squeeze out one of King Romeo’s romantic bellows is fine by me. (i.e., Adios to “Eres Mia,” only a year old.)

For another, some decent songs are muscling their way up. The Pick to Click is “Nota de Amor,” a pretty piano/accordion reggaeton love note by Wisin, Carlos Vives, and Daddy Yankee. It’s got the same chord changes as the Black Eyed Peas’ “Where Is the Love?,” though I didn’t detect any lines comparing the CIA to the KKK. We noted last week that the puro Chihuahua sax of La Maquinaria Norteña is awesome, and their “Si Te Vuelvo a Ver” is getting more radio play. And wonder of wonders, Tuscon’s teen tenor Luis Coronel is charting with a song that doesn’t suck! “Cuando La Miro” is some fairly likable magic changes bullshit. Coronel can barely keep up with it, but he knows how to put across wide-eyed eagerness.

All that plus Pitbull! NorteñoBlog will also never complain about the presence of Pitbull. And not just on the charts — in public and semi-public spaces. Even if Pitbull set up a Sheets Energy Strips display inside a funeral home and cornered NorteñoBlog, NorteñoBlog would just end up buying a bunch of energy strips and handing them out to the bereaved because, you know, it’s Pitbull. He could charm the rigor off of rigor mortis and/or Marco Rubio.

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

1. “El Perdon” – Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias
2. “Propuesta Indecente” – Romeo Santos (86 WEEKS OLD)
3. “Ay Vamos” – J Balvin
4. “Bailando” – Enrique ft. Descemer Bueno, Gente de Zona, & the word “contigo” (52 WEEKS OLD! “Feliz cumpleaños contigo…”)
5. “Hablame de Ti” – Banda MS (#6 RegMex) (snoooooozzzzzz)
6. “Mi Verdad” – Maná ft. Shakira
7. “Contigo” – Calibre 50 (#1 RegMex)
8. “Travesuras” – Nicky Jam
9. “Yo También” – Romeo Santos ft. Marc Anthony
10. “El Karma” – Ariel Camacho y Los Plebes del Rancho (#11 RegMex)

11. “Hilito” – Romeo Santos
12. “Lejos De Aqui” – Farruko
13. “Fanatica Sensual” – Plan B
14. “Piensas (Dile La Verdad)” – Pitbull ft. Gente de Zona
15. “Disparo Al Corazon” – Ricky Martin
16. “Eres Una Niña” – Gerardo Ortíz (#9 RegMex)
17. “Soltero Disponible” – Regulo Caro (#2 RegMex)
18. “Dime” – Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda (#8 RegMex)
19. “Juntos (Together)” – Juanes
20. “Lo Hiciste Otra Vez” – La Arrolladora Banda El Limón (#3 RegMex) (Oh dear, this is not good. Not just sap — meandering sap.)

21. “Pierdo la Cabeza” – Zion & Lennox
22. “Mi Vuelvo Un Cobarde” – Christian Daniel
23. “Qué Tiene De Malo” – Calibre 50 ft. El Komander (#18 RegMex)
24. “Nota de Amor” – Wisin + Carlos Vives ft. Daddy Yankee
25. “Mi Princesa” – Remmy Valenzuela (#13 RegMex)

“Eres Mia” – Romeo Santos (53 WEEKS OLD)

4. “Levantando Polvadera” – Voz De Mando
5. “El Que Se Enamora Pierde” – Banda Carnaval
7. “Eres Tú” – Proyecto X
10. “No Te Vayas” – Fidel Rueda

12. “Que Aun Te Amo” – Pesado
13. “Se Me Sigue Notando” – Chuy Lizarraga y Su Banda Tierra Sinaloense
14. “Mi Primera Vez” – Jonatan Sánchez
15. “Calla y Me Besas” – Enigma Norteña
16. “Si Te Vuelvo a Ver” – La Maquinaria Norteña
17. “Me Sobrabas Tu” – Banda Los Recoditos
18. “Cuando La Miro” – Luis Coronel
19. “Todo Tuyo” – Banda El Recodo
20. “Bonito Y Bello” – La Septima Banda

“Y Vete Olvidando” – Javier Rosas
“Entonces Que Somos” – Banda El Recodo (A nada Luciano Luna ballad off Recodo’s 2013 album, now turned into a dramatic short film.)

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