However gritty, rugged, earthy, or folksy a Latin style or rhythm starts out being, somebody will likely end up using it for pop/crossover purposes. That has happened with everything from salsa/Afro-Cuban music to Spanish flamenco to Dominican merengue and bachata. Norteño is no different; there is a world of difference between the hardcore norteño of Los Tigres del Norte, Los Tucanes de Tijuana, Los Huracanes del Norte, and Oro Norteño and all the pop-drenched grupero and Tejano that have saturated the regional Mexican market. This self-titled debut album by Monterrey, Mexico's Autentiko is a perfect example of using norteño for pop/crossover purposes. The familiar norteño elements are all there: a polka beat, prominent accordion playing, and cumbia played the Tex-Mex way (as opposed to cumbia played a Colombian, Peruvian, Bolivian, or Argentinean way). And Autentiko's members look the part thanks to their matching cowboy hats; if you earn your living selling Western attire, it doesn't hurt to have some españolhablantes (Spanish speakers) on hand because the cowboy look is as popular in regional Mexican music as it is in country. But while a band like Grupo Exterminador specializes in the tougher, harder, edgier side of norteño, Autentiko's decidedly romantic outlook combines norteño ingredients with the adult contemporary side of Latin pop. There are no ultra-slow ballads on this 30-minute disc, but even so, the material is sleek, urbane, and polished in an adult contemporary way; tracks like "Cachetada" (Slap in the Face), "Me Extrañaras" (You Will Miss Me), "Jamas, Jamas" (Never, Never), and "Perdona Mi Silencio" (Forgive My Silence) essentially bridge the gap between norteño and the smooth Latin pop of José José, Juan Gabriel, Marco Antonio Solís, and Julio Iglesias. Autentiko's debut isn't groundbreaking or distinctive; there are countless other regional Mexican outfits doing this type of thing. Nonetheless, this 2005 release is a pleasantly enjoyable, if formulaic, footnote in the crossover norteño scene of the mid-2000s.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson