Billboard's Regional Mexican chart, launched in 1994, catalogs airplay of regional Mexican folk genres like norteño, mariachi, and banda.
1. La Adictiva Banda San Jose de Mesillas, “Nada Iguales”
The band portrays the entertainment at a luxury ruins resort. Driving a BMW to a secluded ancient temple. High heels poking holes in the grass of an outdoor tent. The video mimics the plot of the song’s lyrics, about loving your lady despite being “not similar at all” and beseeching her not to break up with you for being a jerk with a wandering eye. Basically the Tony and Carmela Soprano story.
2. Banda El Recodo de Cruz Lizárraga, “Te Quiero A Morir”
An epic video for a love ballad whose title could be translated as “I Love You to Death” or mistranslated as “I Want You to Die.” While it may still be early to declare death the prevailing musical theme of 2012, there’s a rather bleak slant to the titles of upcoming releases. The action-movie tone of the video for “Te Quiero A Morir” has little to do with the gleaming sequin-suit sunniness of the song itself, which makes for a nice/strange contrast. I particularly enjoyed the ship’s captain using wireless GPS (GPShip). The last minute of the video, which consists of ocean noises, a sonorous foghorn, and the sound of the boat chugging off from the harbor as the girlfriend waves a final goodbye to her enlisted novio, is like an art film. I want it to be one of those 10-hour YouTubes. The Mexican music video Melancholia?
3. Pesado, “El Mil Amores”
Pesado, a five-member norteño group from Monterrey, are well-respected for their longevity in a genre that mostly produces singles artists (see also: garage rock, rap, pop, all genres of music, really). Lead singer and accordionist Mario Alberto Zapata has a beautiful voice. Norteño is essentially country music, a folk tradition of sad songs and barn-burners to be played around campfires and at weddings. “El Mil Amores” is a road trot about hanging up your wandering spurs to play one perfect squeezebox forever.
4. Julion Alvarez y Su Norteño Banda, “Olvidame”
A norteño twist on the traditional “life on the road” video narrative (co-morbid recommendation: Heidecker & Wood’s “Life on the Road”). Instead of a tour bus or a long black limo and weathered leather jackets or long hair, here it’s all white suits and cowboy hats in chauffeured white BMWs on the way to the show, followed up by a fight in an all-white modernist apartment (or hotel room, unclear). The chorus is a pleading “Olvidame” as the singer begs his girl to forget and ignore him rather than fail to reciprocate.
5. La Original Banda el Limon de Salvador Lizárraga, “Di Que Regresaras”
Girls be trying makeup on while dudes be watching sports before the prom! This video self-reflexively takes place at the kind of formal event where bands play swaying, heavy-breathing slow-dancers like this one for buzzed teens. Spoken parts of songs are especially effective when you have a bunch of guys playing horns and stepping in the name of love behind you. Made for sunset drives and make-out spots.
6. Tierra Cali, “400 Mil Veinte Anos”
Five brothers from Michoacán. Take a moment to admire the styling in this video: blue sweatpants for TV in bed, bleach-spattered daisy dukes for your girlfriend as she feeds you breakfast, all “RON” headbands everything. The lead singer is green-screened in front of a luxury car, the drummer in front of a blue sky, and the keyboardist a red screensaver. An “office” is as minimally set-decorated as Russian porn. A four-way split-screen for a conference call leads to a party with some regional-video hoes. The lead singer ill-advisedly brings two skanks home to his wife. She removes her ring and walks out. There are even more heavy-metal high jinks and then he wakes up drunk in a ditch and (spoiler) walks into traffic. At which point it becomes an anti-alcoholism PSA. Awesome.
7. Espinoza Paz, “Para No Perderte”
Kind of like a Taylor Swift video. Espinoza Paz (who worked in the states as a fruit picker and gardener before breaking into the Mexican regional-music scene) is a janitor with braces, dating the cute lady janitor who also has braces. B-plot: two high-schoolers get together through a radio dedication message of love. In a ’70s downer ending twist, the female janitor rejects Paz in the boiler room when he forgets their third anniversary and dismisses him after his impassioned attempt to win her back. He’s left to mop the courts and long for her through a library window.
8. Jenni Rivera ft. Marco Antonio Solis, “Basta Ya”
The first lady on the chart! Jenni is a diva and she lets us know it with her pipes while wearing a yellow chiffon butterfly cape (“veritably ecru”). This is the banda version of “Basta Ya”; there is also a pop version, which subs in strings for the horns. A stood-up girl gets drunk alone and does meta-karaoke to “Basta Ya,” caressing the television and wiping off her lipstick to cry in the sink, planning to overdose on pills. An angel of mercy in the form of the divine Jenni Rivera arrives at her door and smiles beatifically, giving her a hug that is maternal or sexual depending on the gutterhood of your brain.
9. Roberto Tapia, “No Fue Facil”
Love songs dominate. The Billboard charts ain’t got no love for Narcocorrido?
10. La Arrolladora Banda el Limon, “Llamada De Mi Ex”
Another lovelorn, relationship-themed ballad about pining for an ex. See? Country music. This seems fun to sing loud and drunk at karaoke, a banda “Since U Been Gone.” There are 18 guys in the band.
Molly Lambert is a Grantland staff writer.
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