Los Tigres del Norte

Directo al Corazon

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Directo al Corazon Review

by Alex Henderson

In Spanish, Directo al Corazon means straight to the heart. For some artists, such a lofty title would be an example of empty rhetoric. But in the case of los Tigres del Norte, Directo al Corazon is an appropriate title because they really do provide songs that go straight to the heart -- songs that working class Mexicans can relate to, and songs that non-Mexican listeners can find heartening even if they don't have first-hand knowledge of the things the group addresses. One doesn't have to be from Trenchtown, Jamaica to be moved by Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry," and one doesn't have to be Mexican to find los Tigres' songs heartening. Directo al Corazon, on the whole, isn't as lyrically biting as some of los Tigres' other albums, but the warmth, charm and infectiousness one expects from the norteño veterans are certainly present. They are present on the earnest "A Ellas"; they are present on "Viva la Sinaloa," which pays tribute to the Mexican state of Sinaloa. Another high point of the album is the poignant single "La Sorpresa," which is about a man who leaves behind the woman he loves when he departs his country in search of financial opportunities elsewhere -- a difficult decision, but one he feels he has to make. For all its highlights, Directo al Corazon isn't among los Tigres' essential albums -- and when a group's catalog is as huge as los Tigres', casual listeners really need to make a distinction between the essential albums and the albums that are worthwhile but not quite essential. Nonetheless, there are many die-hard Tigres fans who insist on owning everything that they record, and listeners who fit that description will find Directo al Corazon to be a solid addition to their catalog.

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