‘Breaking Bad’ crosses into narcocorrido territory
What made Chalino Sánchez a legend in the Mexican music scene wasn’t that he was shot as he sang onstage. No, it was that he pulled out a gun and fired back.
That moment, perhaps more so than any other, seems to define the narcocorridos, or drug ballads, that have become a staple subgenre of Mexican regional music — their spirit being one of danger, bravery and standing up to the enemy.
That bravado may also help explain why Pepe Garza struggled with the lyrics for a narcocorrido music video that opened Sunday night’s episode of AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” the cable series about a chemis- try teacher-turned-drug dealer named Walter White. It’s believed to be the first time a narcocorrido video has been prominently featured on a major American television show.
“I wrote two versions,” said Garza, a composer and longtime programming director for L.A. radio station KBUE-FM (105.5), which calls itself Que Buena. The first version, he said through a translator, was a literal translation of the English lyrics that show creator Vince Gilligan presented him. In that one, Heisenberg, White’s drug-dealing alias, wins out in the end. But in Garza’s second take, the drug cartel exacts revenge.