Los Tucanes de Tijuana

Tucanes de Plata

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Los Tucanes de Tijuana are one of the most popular norteño groups in the U.S. and Mexico. Unlike the relatively family-friendly los Tigres del Norte, who strive to be the conscience of the genre, los Tucanes have a much edgier image, releasing many so-called narcocorridos -- songs which glorify drug dealers and the criminal life, and which are frequently based on real-life incidents and even named in tribute to specific criminals. Since the early 2000s, they've tried to have it both ways, releasing an album of narcocorridos and an album of traditional love songs in close proximity -- for example, in 2003 they paired Imperio (crime stories) with Amor Descarado (love stories), in 2006 they offered El Papa de los Pollitos (crime stories) and followed it with Amante de lo Bueno (love stories) , and in 2008m they released Propiedad Privada (crime stories) and Soy Todo Tuyo (love stories). This compilation, as its subtitle "Censored Tucanazos" indicates, is a showcase for their gangsta side. Tracks like "Boletin de Prensa," "La Banda de la Suburban," and "Consulado Privado" offer the classic Tucanes sound -- pulsing rhythm, accordion-and-guitar melodies, and vocals that clearly enunciate every detail of the lurid tales they tell, with smooth harmonies to drive home the chorus and encourage their audience to sing along. The music and arrangements are fairly spare and generally similar, because the lyrics are the focus -- norteño is a storytelling medium, with little or no room for instrumental virtuosity. But los Tucanes are stars in their genre for reasons that go beyond the tales they tell, and this excellent compilation presents them at their toughest and their best.

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