From corridos (verdes) to their first-ever bachata track, regional Mexican band T3R Elemento gives Billboard a sneak peek of their new album ‘Buenas Vibras all 13-tracks.
“I know it’s rare for a singer in this genre to not really speak Spanish,” Nava, 19, tells Billboard in a near whisper, bordering on an apology. “I spend a lot of time studying the words in Spanish. I have never given up. That’s a message I have for fans: follow your dreams because anything is possible.”
It’s been about four years since the regional Mexican band — which includes Felipe Prieto (requinto), Sergio Cárdenas en (bass, tuba) and Zeus Gamez (accordion) — started defining their musical style: a combination of bilingual corridos (more Spanish than English) that bleeds into other genres and sub-genres. Nava’s standout vocals lead with his own eccentric ways, a freethinking spirit who embraces marijuana culture topped by falsetto vocals that hint at R&B. Band members originate from America, Cuba and Mexico.
Even as regional Mexican traditionally demands that its singers have a command of Spanish, Nava simply relies on learning songs phonetically. It’s all part of a new generation of music enthusiasts catapulting the DEL Records act into a bigger spotlight, anchored by millions of clicks, awards and appearances with more on the way.
Maurilio Pineda, Jr., produced Buenas Vibras and was also at the helm as the album’s recording engineer, according to a DEL Records spokesperson, who added that Gerardo Luna (aka Magic Lalo) served as the mixing and mastering engineer.
As the budding foursome make their way into a bigger platform, we look at the Buenas Vibras tracks, which include the bachata song “Solo Yo Se La Razón,” a love story about the one that got away.
1. “420 y Ya Me Gusto” — Nava’s vocals take a supercharged lead with a powerful requinto cementing the song in a catchy track that also pays homage to medicinal herbs and the highs and lows of life.
2. “Algo Sin Igual” — A slower paced offering, this romantic composition serenades the memory of a “celestial goddess” and in great detail recalls the passion and her “racing heart.”
3. “Antes y Después De Ti” — Penned by Yoel Henriquez, Hector Guerrero and Oscar Cortez, this romantic track has a soulful vibe captured in Nava’s vocals with lyrics about unrequited love. Add the tuba on top of guitar notes and a skillfully played accordion and this tender ballad thrives.
4. “Apuestas Callejeras” — Taking a more traditional approach, this corrido looks at life on the streets of Las Vegas, Nava’s hometown. The accordion kicker takes it to another level.
5. “Arriesgate Conmigo” — Close your eyes and this is easily the start of a country song before it segues into a romantic corrido about taking risks in love. Nava’s voice punctuates the lyrics just right with, “Take a chance on me.”
6. “Calibrando Energias” — The title’s translation, “Calibrating Energies” has a tinge of rock orchestrations around a story of good and bad in addition to cautioning that envy is not always the best way.
7. “En Boca de Todos” — The band’s first single was launched in mid-October and as of this publish date is approaching 19 million YouTube views. The arresting track defines the spirit of the T3R Elemento sound: all instruments on deck for a splash of rhythmic celebration that cascades sonically into a charming composition that stays with you after just one listen. Check out the video:
8. “Garantia de Calidad” — A masterful requinto set by Jose Felipe Prieto pairs potently with the song’s faster pace in thoughtful execution as Nava croons about those who work the “green” fields, a nod to cannabis.
9. “Hojas del Monte” — Translated to “The Mountain’s Leaves,” this ode to weed begins with the protagonist wondering why he smokes so much in a storyline that also highlights those who grow and sell.
10. “La Mirada Siempre al Frente” — “Always Looking Forward” is the translation to the track that is dotted with bursts of tuba as Nava extends his notes longer for emotional emphasis — a corrido about life’s adventures from the past written by Arturo Guzman Gonzalez, Jesus Daniel Hernandez Rocha, Christopher Angel Nava Castro and Jesse Luna.
11. “Legado Fonseca” — A rousing requinto/tuba track opener follows an introduction and story of a Guadalajara cartel drug lord.
12. “El Oso” — Written by Jose Felipe Prieto, this corrido (“The Bear”) is about life, family and humility.
13. “Solo Yo Se La Razón“ — The word “bachata” usually elicits an A-list name in Latin music such as Romeo Santos. Here T3R Elemento introduces a love ballad in an effort to attempt “something different to switch it up musically,” Nava says. The story follows a man who takes the blame in a failing romantic escapade because, “Only I Know the Reason,” as the song’s translated title suggests.
Buenos Vibras Track List
1. “420 y Ya M Gusto”
2. “Algo Sin Igual”
3. “Antes y Después De Ti”
4. “Apuestas Callejeras”
5. “Arriesgate Conmigo”
6. “Calibrando Energias”
7. “En Boca de Todos”
8. “Garantia de Calidad”
9. “Hojas del Monte”
10. “La Mirada Siempre al Frente”
11. “Legado Fonseca”12
12. “El Oso”
13. “Solo Yo Se La Razón