music, charts, opinions


Roberto Tapia

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”

Desfile de Éxitos 10/24/15

will smith

It’s not quite our one-year anniversary — that’ll come next week — but NorteñoBlog has been at this funny business for 51 weeks and in all that time, Billboard‘s Latin charts have always contained a song by either Gerardo Ortiz or El Komander. UNTIL NOW. Well, really until two weeks ago, when Komander’s “Malditas Ganas” dropped off the chart. “Malditas Ganas” entered the chart back in May, hi-fiving Ortiz’s “Eres Una Niña” as it sauntered out and paving the way for Ortiz’s “El Cholo” a week or three later. (NorteñoBlog doesn’t need your fancy “fact checkers.”) And now “Ganas” and “Cholo” are both gone, and NB’s heart is empty, and… ooh, what’s that! New Chuy Lizárraga!

Please note: it’s entirely possible that both Banda MS and Julión Álvarez have been on the charts the entire length of the NB’s existence, much like well-known Methuselan beard “Propuesta Indecente” (116 WEEKS!), but frankly, that last bit of data gathering has plum tuckered me out and I would like to listen to some songs now.

The Hot Latin Top 10 is a complete reshuffle of a month ago. (NOBODY. EVER. GOES. IN. and NOBODY. EVER. COMES. OUT.) So we’ll just skip down to #11, where Bomba Estéreo have repurposed their excellent single “Fiesta” to include a rap by new Bomba Estéreo superfan Will Smith. This isn’t Smith’s first visit to the Latin charts: “Men In Black,” “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” and “Wild Wild West” were all monster hits that received Latin airplay and broke the Hot Latin top 40 back when the Hot Latin chart allowed for such things. (Weirdly, “Miami” doesn’t seem to have received the same bienvenido.) This may, however, be the first time someone has tried to rhyme “mamacita” with “beer-a.” Let’s hope it’s the last. Smith’s other intriguing line is this odd bit of post-coital pride: “Woke up behind her/ No gas in me, I’m a Tesla.” Yo homes, smell you later!
Continue reading “Desfile de Éxitos 10/24/15”

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 9/26/15

roberto tapia


If you’ve hung around NorteñoBlog for very long, you’ll know that when I fall for a Roberto Tapia banda single, I fall hard. So it is with his new tune “No Valoraste” — the waltz beat is stiffer than his previous “Me Enamoré” and “Mirando Al Cielo,” but the high-climbing melody sounds great in his upper range. Along with Friday’s brand new video, and having heard it on the radio a couple times last week, “No Valoraste” shoots into Pick to Click status. And by all means watch that video: it’s like Ingmar Bergman shot a novela on the beach using the castoff furniture from Return to Oz. See Tapia and his ex-mujer stalk one another in symbolically opposing color schemes, as they seek cold comfort from an absent God and/or Princess Ozma.

Tapia’s at #4 on the airplay chart, so the streams racked up by this new video should propel him onto the big Hot Latin chart next week.

Continue reading “Desfile de Éxitos 9/26/15”

Who Played It Better: Ariel Camacho or These Dudes?


First, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: a crap recording of Roberto Tapia’s new banda single “No Valoraste.” It’s trad and jubilant. You’re welcome.

But now it’s time for a new, probably never-to-recur NorteñoBlog feature called “Who Played It Better: Ariel Camacho or These Dudes?” Ariel Camacho, you’ll remember, has been a favorite of the blog ever since I heard his excellent El Karma album at the beginning of the year. He played the requinto guitar — tuned higher than normal, prone to virtuoso displays — and led a band, Los Plebes del Rancho, that also included a rhythm guitar and a tuba. Omar Burgos’s tuba managed to function as bass, percussion, and lead instrument all at once. Then in February Camacho died in a car accident at the way-too-young age of 22. Tributes followed, and outpourings of grief, and — this is where our new feature comes in — bitings of his post-Sierreño style.

So I ask you, loyal NorteñoBlog reader: WHO PLAYED IT BETTER?

Continue reading “Who Played It Better: Ariel Camacho or These Dudes?”

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)

¿Qué Estamos Escuchando?


The common thread this week is Remex Music, an indie label seemingly without major distribution — someone correct me if I’m wrong — and whose Youtube channel lords over other labels’ view counts like Lorde. 109 million for “La Buena Y La Mala” by Banda Tierra Sagrada! (See below!) Of course, hits don’t necessarily make for quality, but Remex’s folks seem scrappy and good, at least in the following examples:

“Mi Padrino El Diablo” – La Trakalosa De Monterrey
Satan’s got his hand in those 36 million views (because 36 is six sixes, or two marks of the beast, you see) and possibly in that #12-and-climbing position on Billboard’s Regional Mexican chart (don’t even ask about the numerological significance there). “Mi Padrino” is the story of a young kid, chased from home by an abusive padre and sleeping on the streets, until “un compa de negro [se toca] la frente”… “a companion of black touches his forehead.” Creepy! Turns out to be the Devil aka the Godfather, and he takes our friend’s soul in return for untold wealth and power, so now our friend sits pretty like Tom Hagen and/or Robert Johnson. The music’s a cheerful blend of small band with big banda, subtler than this year’s similar mashups from LOS! BuiTRES!, and if the brass riff’s recycled, the singers sell it like it’s brand new.

“Soy Un Desmadre” – Banda Tierra Sagrada ft. Marco Flores
Wild with tempo shifts and Marco Flores’s charismatic reed of a voice, these Remex bros are apparently bad news if you have the misfortune to let them enter your home, but give ‘em two and a half minutes and they’ll probably get a wriggly foot in the door. #11 RegMex and climbing.

“De Norte A Sur” – Cardenales de Nuevo Leon
The lope of love. This charming tune only reached #19 RegMex back in 2012, but Chicago radio stations still play the heck out of it and why not. If you’re trying to learn Spanish it’s got a chronological progression of well-enunciated nouns — BEsos to PREso to coraZOOOOON to CUERpos to SEXo — that’ll help you catch some rockin’ mnemonia. The boogie woogie flew from singer Cesareo Sánchez many moons ago, but his performance manages lived-in confidence without doing much at all, almost as if he’s advising the horny young couple in the video. He’s seen all this before.

“Soy El Mismo” – Prince Royce and Roberto Tapia
It can’t all be good news, and this ain’t Remex. While the bachata/banda mashup is mildly intriguing, especially during the sections where the two different rhythms blat along without apparent regard for one another, it’s not much of a song. And anyway, Gerardo Ortíz already did the banda plus bachata thing more gorgeously on last year’s “Eres Una Niña,” just now climbing the chart. These two showbizzers debuted the song on La Voz Kids, which they co-host. “Moves Like Jagger” wasn’t much of a song either.

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