Editors’ Notes “I learned music in the most natural way,” Christian Nodal tells Apple Music about growing up in a family with deep musical roots. “I discovered music as a medium to express one’s emotions. Listening to my mother singing coplas, that was hugely influential in me wanting to write songs with real feeling and not just some catchy lyrics.” In May 2020, the Sonoran superstar released the first half of AYAYAY!, an album now completed with another half dozen songs which turn pages from his diary into thrilling sentimental chronicles. These tracks split the difference between mariachi romanticism and sierreño fierceness, with daring excursions into genres as diverse as country and salsa adding depth and variety. “There is a lot of heart on this record,” he says. “And there are two different worlds, too. Some songs have a very forward-looking sound, with a more modern production, while others keep the ranchero vibe of [2017’s] Me Dejé Llevar.” Here, the young king of mariacheño uncovers the stories that inspired his third album—one song at a time.

AYAYAY!
“I came up with this one when I was on a binge. I was hurting and I played José Alfredo’s song ‘Tú y las Nubes’: ‘Tú y las nubes me traen muy loco/Tú y las nubes me van a matar’ [‘You and the clouds are driving me crazy/You and the clouds are killing me’]. And I suddenly cried ‘Ay, ay, ay!’ in sheer pain. Then I played a happy song and yelled ‘Ay, ay, ay!’ again. It’s an expression that means many different things in Mexico. I wanted that title for the album because there is heartbroken music on it, but also romantic songs and some that you can dance to. To use the title, I had to write a song to go with it. I started to sing, just playing with the sound of the ays, like a game. It was only later that I thought of using a cumbia beat behind it.”

Mi Chula
“I wrote ‘Mi Chula’ for my fans. I was inspired by my mom and every ‘chula’ woman I know. ‘Chula’ is a word we use in Sonora to describe women with a beautiful personality. When I was starting out, my first fan club was called Las Chulas de Christian Nodal, and with their anniversary around the corner, I thought it would be nice to have something representing them. The song is about looking beyond superficial beauty. I hope my fans realize that they don’t need to get all dressed up every day, that they don’t need to look pretty to be chulas. The chula is inside. That’s how I see my fans.”

Se Me Olvidó
“This is something that I had on my mind for a very long time. I was itching to do a country song. I was outside my house one day, just cooking some carne asada, and I thought that I should finally do it on this album. I started listening to Joan Sebastian and Nunca Jamás records, which have a very particular sound. When I finished my dinner, I grabbed the guitar and started singing, ‘Con el alma bien dolida/Así comenzó mi día’ [‘With pain in my soul/That’s how my day started’]. I was also thinking of Los Apson and that ’70s rock sound. My parents didn’t want me to release it, but it’s not really their decision to make. I put the video online when I was on a plane and people went nuts right away.”

Ojalá Fuera Cierto
“This is one of my favorite songs here. It’s about a relationship where you give everything you have but the other person feels insecure and starts asking you why you’re looking at your phone, if you’re talking to anyone, stuff like that. They accuse you of things that never even crossed your mind. You end up wishing that it was all true, that you didn’t love them so much and you were really interested in someone else. It’s like a slap in the face with kid gloves.”

No Es Justo X Él
“This one came from kind of an ugly story. I had a friend, a really talented painter, that would always fall head over heels in love. He always fell for the model type, the pretty girls, but I could tell they didn’t have such pretty personalities. They made him take them to expensive restaurants and buy stuff for them. I was a little bit like his father and would always scold him. And it happened a couple of times that when we were out drinking, his girlfriend started flirting with me. It was really uncomfortable, because men tend to not reason very much when they are in love. I ended up telling him what was going on, but he kept on doing the same thing, and I got this story out of it. That’s where the lyrics originated, but it didn’t really happen like it does in the song. He was my best friend back then, but we don’t see very much of each other these days.”

Aquí Abajo
“‘Aquí Abajo’ talks about the world where all the disappointed live. When we get our heart broken, there is something that doesn’t let us get out from the sadness, the deep things, the depression. No matter how much you look for, you drink or do millions of things, the pain does not go away either, people understand it. There are two different worlds—a world from which you can’t go out, the ‘under here’ world.”

Amor Tóxico
“I have a friend who was in a very jealous relationship. His girlfriend was like, ‘If you’re not with me, you won’t be with anyone else. You are mine and only mine.’ Some heavy stuff. I used to tell him, ‘Dude, why are you still with her?’ And then one time they had a really ugly argument, and he asked me for a song to get her back. They would be crazy one minute and hate each other the next. Basically, I just wrote the lyrics about how my friend was feeling and came up with a fun, very Mexican song. In the end, they didn’t get back together, but I got a good song out of it.”

Mamacita
“‘Mamacita’ is about when women have been in a relationship for a long time. The flame burns low and the guy is not trying anymore to keep it lit, because he’s worried about other things. And what she really needs is to be treated like a ‘mamacita,’ just like she was on their first date.”

Aquí Sigo Tras De Ti
“This one is based on experiences I had growing up. I was thinking about when I first started liking girls and they paid no attention to me. When I was in elementary school, I used to send them notes and little things like that. I always ended up having a hard time because they just wanted me as a best friend. I turned that into a more mature feeling, but it’s essentially the same thing. It’s like when you try to make someone fall for you, but they don’t and say something like ‘Oh, you would be great as a friend.’ That hurts.”

Nace Un Borracho
“‘Nace Un Borracho’ is about love in our time, when things are not really that serious anymore. It’s not like it was before, when people would start dating at 16, get married, and spend their whole lives together. Now people get divorced and they don’t have the same intensity. What the song says is that maybe people don’t value those things anymore. For me, the killer line is ‘Hoy muere este muchacho/Y nace un borracho’ [‘Today this boy is dead/And a drunkard is born’].”

Mi Ex
“This one is pretty obvious. You will be my ex—my excuse. If you put pressure on someone, they will probably explode. That’s what the song is about, a person that just got sick of a relationship where everything is a reproach and in the end is like, ‘You know what? Now you’re really going to be my ex, you are going to be my perfect excuse.’”

Venganza Cumplida
“I wanted to make a salsa song and got really involved in every detail. I managed to get the guy who plays percussion for Marc Anthony on the recording. He is a musician who lives and breathes salsa, and he loved what I had come up with. The title makes it sound like a corrido, but it’s a very happy song that says, ‘Hey, look, they cheated on you, so stop crying and just come with me.’ Sometimes I know exactly what kind of song I want, rock or salsa or whatever, and I work on it with that very present, but mostly they just come out however they want to come out.”

Anoche Me Enamoré
“More ’70s rock here. Los Apson are my favorite rock band ever. Everybody should listen to them. I had a new song, but I saved it for later and recorded this cover instead. I used to listen to it with my grandpa when I would drive with him in his truck from Caborca to Tepic, Nayarit. He had every record by Los Apson, and this was one of my favorite songs. The drive was 23 hours straight, just listening to all their music.”

SONG
AYAYAY!
1
2:10
 
Mi Chula
2
2:42
 
Se Me Olvidó
3
2:38
 
Ojalá Fuera Cierto
4
3:18
 
No Es Justo X Él
5
2:35
 
Aquí Abajo
6
2:23
 
Amor Tóxico
7
2:10
 
Mamacita
8
2:14
 
Aquí Sigo Tras De Ti
9
2:18
 
Nace Un Borracho
10
2:56
 
Mi Ex
11
2:28
 
Venganza Cumplida
12
2:46
 
Anoche Me Enamoré
13
2:19
 

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