Friday, May 1st, 2015

Luis Coronel – Cuando La Miro

It got brass. In buckets.


Leela Grace: So much nineteen-year-old joy in those horns: the feeling of something old being new again by virtue of never having heard it before. Vocals mixed somewhere in the middle, but I’m just here for the brass, anyway. 

Josh Langhoff: I won’t sugarcoat it: this won’t be the last you hear from Luis Coronel. Triunfo magazine reports the bilingual Tucson teen plans to eventually “make the crossover and record in English.” His videos feature English-speaking restaurateurs, ’50s diners, and muscle cars, meaning he’s already singing to a bilingual U.S. audience; whether his crossover turns out to be Prince Royce-style assimilation, or the thing that finally drags banda/norteño music into Top 40’s embrace, is anybody’s guess. But no matter what Coronel sings, he needs to do something about his voice. Or lack thereof. Forswearing both the nasal whine and the overwrought (i.e., perfectly wrought) romanticism of his forebears, Coronel sings everything as though he’s reading the phone book. He can barely hang on to his songs. His hapless vocal cords tossed about by his (generally really good) arrangements, he makes even the simplest lines sound hard to scan. “Cuando La Miro” strands Coronel in his midrange; except for that shouted “Chiquitita!” he’s confined to six notes, none of which he projects over the brass. Maybe that’s why people love him? Like his unaffected peers Kevin Ortiz and Jonatan Sanchez, Coronel transforms music that’s often violent and racy into the endearing genre next door. He may someday portray the Pat Boone character in Elijah Wald’s How Calibre 50 Destroyed Narcocorrido.

Alfred Soto: Its terseness is its strength, but can I blame myself for wanting more?

Megan Harrington: The tag that precedes the video is a classic “learn your place, kid!” skit that had me anticipating something very youthful, maybe a rap or breathy R&B song. Instead, “Cuando La Miro” swings like old Frank Sintara. He was a teen idol over half a century ago and though the juxtaposition is a little jarring, I can hear how this is still a chin up rebuttal to ill-meaning adults.  

Juana Giaimo: Why is such a simple — even charming — melody joined by so much brass? 

Rebecca A. Gowns: Great tempo for a strut, which Luis Coronel certainly deserves — two hit albums by the age of 19! But he sings with a calm confidence: no theatrics, no showboating, just a nice young man singing a nice song. There’s points where he’s too soft, and it comes across not as tender-embrace-soft, but slightly-undercooked-cookie soft. Good thing he’s got such great support! The band bops along with professionalism, grace, and the touch of romantic whimsy that really makes this song stand out on the regional Mexican charts. It comes out like a Smore: gooey and melty and damn right you’re gonna play it again.

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