The 20 Greatest Los Tigres Del Norte Songs of All Time, Nos. 10-1
Yesterday, we sang the praises of Los Tigres del Norte by revealing their best B-sides, so to speak; today, we tackle 10-1. Methinks everyone will agree with half of my choices, dispute three of them, and ridicule my top choice--enjoy!
10. "Un Dia a la Vez"
In their retinue of narcocorridos and Aztlanista chants is this curious ditty, a dirge that has become a staple of Mexican Catholic funerals and at Alcoholic Anonymous meetings for its simple message: one day at a time. As starkly beautiful as Cornelio Reyna's "Te Vas Angel Mio," Los Tigres rarely play this one live anymore, because it ain't exactly a barn-stomper--but that doesn't make it any less awesome.
9. "La Banda del Carro Rojo"
"'They say that they were coming from the south/In a red-colored car/They had 100 kilos of cocaine/They were going to Chicago'/That how the snitch said it/Who had ratted them out." So begins one of Los Tigres' two great sung sagas (the other one comes in a bit), a story so gripping, a beat so tense, that they later on recorded "La Muerte del Soplón" ("The Death of the Snitch") just to reconcile the mystery of who ratted out the group of narcos in the red car who would end up dead in a hail of gunfire--but not before killing some American officials of their own. Bonus points to Los Tigres for name-dropping the rinches: The Texas Rangers, the Joe Arpaios of their day who figured in many an ancient corrido, thus tying the old to the new.
8. "Pacas de a Kilo"
Only Los Tucanes de Tijuana's infamous "Mis Tres Animales" more blatantly celebrates the narco life than this ode, whose title roughly translates as "One-Kilo Bundles"--but it does it via code complex (the mention of cows with "sheep's tail"? Reference to marijuana) and not (cuernos de chivo? Narco slang for an AK-47). The song gallops through the pastoral lyrics, themselves a nod to the rural upbringing of most of the cartel lords. But the best surprise is near the end, when Los Tigres mention that their narco of note rests under the shade of "los pinos"--the pine trees, which just happens to be the name of the Mexican White House. Not the first time Los Tigres would directly challenge the regime of Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, as you'll soon see.