Various Artists

El Mas Grande Homenaje a Los Tigres del Norte

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If you asked an A&R person to suggest some artists for a compilation paying tribute to los Tigres del Norte, certain names would come to mind immediately -- names like los Huracanes del Norte, los Rieleros del Norte, los Tucanes de Tijuana, Grupo Exterminador, and Oro Norteño. And if the A&R person wanted to add some banda to that norteño-oriented lineup, Banda el Recodo, Ezequiel Peña, Rogelio Martínez, Banda el Limón, and Lupillo Rivera would also be quite appropriate. But try to envision a Tigres del Norte tribute that isn't full of norteño, banda, or duranguense stars -- a Tigres tribute that favors rock en español instead. Well, El Mas Grande Homenaje a los Tigres del Norte (The Biggest Tribute to los Tigres del Norte) is exactly that -- and most of the time, these rock en español makeovers of Tigres gems are as memorable as they are intriguing. Rock en español, of course, is a term that refers to lyrics rather than melodies, beats, or harmonies; Spanish-language rock comes in many forms, and on this compilation, Tigres songs that started out as norteño are reinvented as everything from alternative metal (Molotov on "Ya Te Velé") to adult alternative (Julieta Venegas on "La Juala de Oro" and Ely Guerra on "La Tumba Falsa") to ska-punk (Maldita Vecinidad on "El Circo"). The most traditional-sounding thing on the album, from a regional Mexican standpoint, is los Lobos' heartfelt, ranchera-ish version of "El Mojado Acaudalado"; all of the other tracks take major liberties with los Tigres' songs. But while the beats are generally quite different, los Tigres' powerful messages still come through. A few of the more electronica-oriented, rave-ish tracks sound forced and unnatural, but more often than not, this CD is a major artistic success and demonstrates that los Tigres' songbook can easily be relevant to rock en español.

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