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Songs We Love

Songs We Love: Kinky, 'Charro Negro'

Members of Kinky Ulisses Lozano (left) and Gilberto Cerezo (right) with guest vocalist Pepe Aguilar (center) Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

Members of Kinky Ulisses Lozano (left) and Gilberto Cerezo (right) with guest vocalist Pepe Aguilar (center)

Courtesy of the artist

The song "Charro Negro" starts with a deep, dark, slow bounce that sounds like the beginnings of an atmospheric EDM track. Then spurting out of the shadowy synths come a series of triumphant mariachi gritos, chopped into bits and reverberating amid the chorus like echoes ricocheting from the walls of a nightclub.

This is tradition remixed, and the style is not surprising coming from Kinky, the ever-eclectic, five-piece Monterrey band that has made a sport out of playing with musical genres. Their last efforts have fused rock, funk, jazz and even Brazilian batucada. In "Charro Negro," the band takes listeners back to the dance floor, but adds some unexpected pizzazz: It enlists vocal power from legendary mariachi singer Pepe Aguilar, igniting the song with Mexican authenticity. The bass drop and jubilant yelps reflect both traditional and modern ways of losing yourself in the music.

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Like so many of the songs on Kinky's new album, Nada Vale Más Que Tú, "Charro Negro" is a dark groove for dark times. The album invites listeners to explore the turmoil of today's world through politically charged tracks — such as "Un Peso," where the band asks: "How much does a bullet cost? How much does a black life cost?" But while some socially conscious art can often feel heavy with anxiety and angst, Kinky wants you to move while you meditate. It lightens the album by borrowing a little whimsy from a few featured artists: The energetic Mexican rapper MLKMN makes a cameo in "Fly," and the bright-as-a-peacock Dominican singer Jarina de Marco appears in "Que Calor." The album is proof again of the band's diversity of sound and eagerness to experiment.