Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Roberto Tapia – Me Enamoré

Not a collaboration, but how could we resist this picture?


Rebecca A. Gowns: This announces itself like all good norteño corridos should: a tiny drum fill towing a blast of brass. After the intro, it calms itself into the (comparatively) soft ballad verses, but it never lets itself settle into syrup. Instead, the full band participates — each instrument supplying gritos after every phrase. I’m as happy as a dollop of mayonnaise in a cup of esquites.

Alfred Soto: The brass charts are the funniest I’ve heard this year. Resignation needs counterpoint — Mexican music gets this.

Will Adams: Yes yes, the horns. But also the skipping drums and the fluttering woodwinds. And then, unfortunately, the vocals.

Anthony Easton: I still feel ashamed that I do not know how to read banda, especially given how successful Tapia is — it’s sort of like Univision beating NBC and all the anglos being shocked. The influence and power of Mexican music in the US is growing larger, and it doesn’t need to worry about slopping over to English speakers. I like that from a meta perspective, and I love this, but am not quite sure I have the language to describe what is happening here. His voice is smooth, it rides the production without effort, there is an elegance to the work, and a decorative beauty — that might be enough.

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Last month on La Voz Kids — Telemundo’s tween-centric version of The Voice –– Roberto Tapia led out his pre-teen proteges for a run through new single “Me Enamoré”. On one level, it was a promotional run for an established star (one of the show’s judges), but it was also an acknowledgement of the song’s cross-generational appeal. Watching the performance, there was no discordance that children were singing about crying in the aftermath of a lover’s unceremonious leaving, and neither was there a trace of awkwardness in the performance. Tapia favours traditional banda songwriting with their traditional tales of lost love and desired homes, and who are these kids to argue with tradition? For better or worse, these are ballads that could have been told fifty years ago. soundtracked by any collection of uptempo brass and any heartbroken man in a stetson. What “Me Enamoré” is, it always has been and always will be, regardless of trends or age.

Josh Langhoff: It never peaks. I can’t help but compare “Me Enamoré” to last year’s “Mirando Al Cielo” (like “Private Eyes” to “Kiss On My List”), and where “Mirando” strutted to inexorable melodic climaxes, the three different sections of “Enamoré” barely distinguish themselves, instead repeating short phrases and settling for anticlimax. But maybe that’s what Tapia’s going for. The B section features jumpy horn charts that really futz with Tapia’s swing, but then things settle down again, as souls tend to do after they’ve been invaded and destroyed by amor.

Brad Shoup: We get more of that Doc Pomus elegance in the tuba line. He’s relaxed on the verses, marching-band prepared on the refrain, and his woodwind players fling their curlicues like darts. A wonderful classicist performance.

Jonathan Bogart: I think the clarinet charts are pretty consistently my favorite element of banda sinaloense music, and that holds true here. Witty and fluttering and despairing and mocking by turns, they function as a Greek chorus to Tapia’s restrained self-pity, just as the drums beat out an ironic counterpoint. Life goes on, and there’s lots of fun yet to be had.

Reader average: [5] (1 vote)

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3 Responses to “Roberto Tapia – Me Enamoré”

  1. Wanted to contradict Daniel and say that while the song structure may be traditional — as if thousands of bands aren’t recording verse-chorus-verse-chorus-middle eight-chorus-chorus songs every year — banda sinaloense (see-nah-low-en-say) in its current mass-popularity form has only been around for about twenty years, a product of immigration patterns and local agribusiness growth. (Sinaloa could be compared with midcentury Chicago or Detroit in terms of being an agriculture/industry/cultural production nexus.) That it’s become the default face of regional Mexican music in the last ten years is a development as novel and exciting as the Southern hip-hop takeover in the last fifteen, and perhaps a reflection of how unsettled the historically more important border scene has become. Just because the instruments code as old-fashioned to us, with our mental map of swing giving way to rock giving way to electronic, doesn’t mean that that’s how its audience hears it. It’s slick and urbanized; Tapia is Garth Brooks, not Ricky Skaggs.

  2. So you’re saying my blurb wasn’t one-tenth as apt as the pic I chose.

  3. Well, that’s interesting. I appreciate your input, thx.