Dear Readers: As you drinko por Cinco this May 5, use this column with songs that mariachis will actually, gladly play instead of glumly strumming through the umpteenth “La Bamba.” The following eclectic choices are from hundreds submitted by wabs and savvy gabachos; make sure to knock back the Herradura but por favor designate a nerd as your driver!
“Los Mandados (The Errands)”: If Wayfarer-sporting, American Apparel–wearing, Elliott Smith–worshiping, Shepard Fairey–loving, oh-so-ironic gabachos want something subtly antigringo, they ask for this.
“El Borracho (The Drunk)”: Mariachis love it and puto pendejos que comen en restaurantes mexicanos on Cinco de Mayo can no doubt remember the title.
“La Media Vuelta (The Half-Turn)”: Is there a more supremely confident, hypermacho song? “You’ll leave if I say so”? “You’ll stay if I say so”? “I want you to kiss other lips just to see how great I am”? Perfect!
“No Volveré (I Won’t Return)”: Answer to “Volver, Volver.” Beautiful and painful all at the same time.
“La Martina”: Corrido by Antonio Aguilar about a young bride who cheats on her husband. The husband takes things into his own hands and empties his revolver into her. What else was the man to do?
“El Gavilán Pollero (The Chicken Hawk)”: My high school Spanish teacher actually told us the song was about a nasty chicken hawk terrorizing the newly hatched little chicks. Now whenever I hear the song, it makes me laugh so hard, Negra Modelo comes out my nose.
“El Son de la Negra (The Song of the Black Woman)”: Its upbeat driving rhythms get me smiling really fast, even before the first margarita arrives.
“El Perro Negro (The Black Dog)”: A man kills another man in his sleep, and the victim’s faithful dog avenges his owner’s death.
“Sabor a Mi (Taste of Me)”: Gringos will love this beautiful ballad, but talk about a little dirty! Favorite line, literally translated? “On your mouth, you will take a taste of me.” A perfect example of American influence sucking the passion from anything ethnic.
“Historia de un Amor (History of a Love)”: If the white folk do not get our true intensity by the lines “Adorarte para mí fue religión/Y en tus besos yo encontraba/El calor que me brindaba” (Adoring you was my religion/And in your kisses, I found/the heat that it offered), they never will.
“El Sinaloense (The Sinaloan)”: It sounds like an entire group of high school band students falling down a flight of stairs. WARNING: Any mariachi who has asthma should not attempt this song.
“I Just Called to Say I Love You”: Yes, mariachis know it — and it sounds badass.