Songs of the Week – Negro y Azul: The Ballad of Heisenberg, Los Cuates de Sinaloa & Crapa Pelada, Quartetto Cetro

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OK, I have to start this post by admitting that I was a latecomer to the hit television show Breaking Bad. I didn’t watch a single episode until this October; right after the series finale was aired.

But I started to binge on it and I’m now in the middle of the fifth and final season. (I probably would have finished it by now, but the Red Sox kept winning all the way through the World Series and sucked up a lot of my screen time.)

The series is outstanding; a compelling premise with great story line development and terrific characters. But one of the pleasant surprises to me was the ingenious use of music in the soundtrack. Most of the music is obscure, but when the producers chose popular songs they used them to great effect (“A Horse with No Name” “Tush”).

This week let’s listen to a couple of my favorite songs from the series. First up is “Negro y Azul: The Ballad of Heisenberg” by Los Cuates de Sinaloa.

The song is in the Mexican style called Narcocorrido. A corridor is a traditional Mexican story song. A narco-corridor is… well you get it. “Negro y Azul” translates to “Black and Blue,” a clear reference to Walter White’s (Heisenberg) hat and product.

My next choice is “Crapa Pelada” (1945) by the Italian vocal quartet, Quartetto Cetro.

This is such a quirky song that it is irresistible — kind of jazzy with a machine gun rat-a-tat-tat of words flowing in tight harmony. I’m pretty sure I’d like this song anyway, but the associated image of Gale (Walt’s lab assistant) singing it as he watered his plants while cooking his dinner is indelible. The song perfectly captured Gale’s idiosyncratic personality of which to that point, we knew little about outside of the lab.

There are dozens of other great songs featured in the series. I like most of them other than the rap/hip hop. (I know I’m proving that I’m an old man.) Some people have compiled Breaking Bad playlists on YouTube that are worth checking out.

Enjoy… until next week.

One thought on “Songs of the Week – Negro y Azul: The Ballad of Heisenberg, Los Cuates de Sinaloa & Crapa Pelada, Quartetto Cetro

  1. This is great Tom! I too am late to the Breaking Bad world, though we are just halfway through Season 2. It has to compete with Downton Abbey, and Diane trying to get through her last year at Davis, though.

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