Between his early corridos tumbados collaborations and the twin 2020 breakout albums Cruisin’ With Junior H and MUSICA, Junior H proved a harbinger of the coming sad sierreño wave. Three years after showcasing seminal songs like “No Me Pesa” and “Mente Positiva,” he’s now an influential and formidable force in música mexicana. Still, prior to the arrival of $AD BOYZ 4 LIFE II, 2023 had been uncharacteristically quiet for an artist known for dropping as many as three projects in a single year, in addition to singles. Thankfully, this 17-track outing sees the diligence of his studio time paying off with one of the most consistent sets in his discography to date. Unlike the 2021 installment, this sequel goes without guests to present his somber voice against arrangements that amplify and elevate his oft-melancholic delivery. This makes the tearful lows of “OTRO AMOR” and “Y LLORO” all the more grave and impactful, his lyrical preoccupation with matters of the heart as focused as ever. Few could make misery sound this melodic.

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