Once plagued by headline drama with family members and exes, the buoyant Chiquis Rivera now seems free to focus on her music. That’s a good thing, because as Jenni’s daughter’s vocal chops continue to improve, she would seem a prime candidate to lead a new wave of ascendant women in the Mexican regional industry. For proof of where Chiquis is on this journey, one may turn to Playlist, her third full-length production after 2015’s Ahora and 2018’s Entre Botellas, and her first released via Universal Music/Fonovision.
The big news off the album you’ve already heard; Chiquis teamed up with urbano powerhouse Becky G for a Spanish language version of Dolly Parton’s women-wronged classic belter “Jolene.” Produced by Kinky’s Ulises Lozano and Richard Bull with lyrics translated into Spanish by Ilka Cortes, the track is an excellent reminder of the copious links between United States country music and its umbrella genre sister, regional. Its recently released video throws the two singers into a capering graphic novel that [spoiler alert] climaxes with Chiquis and Becky G throwing out the inter female competition narrative for a collaborative vengeance.
Playlist doesn’t include much in the way of new sounds—go elsewhere if you’re looking for the urbano-regional merge Chiquis’ industry peers are exploring. The album finds much of its strength through renditions of cumbia, notably Chiquis’ duet with singer Amandititita “Ticket de Salida” and the tropical confection that is “Martes Es Muy Lejos.” The latter’s voluptuous pop whisperings of “Amor Prohibido”-era Selena displaying Rivera’s evident nostalgia throughout the album.
At the heart of what Chiquis is serving is the banda for which her family is known. “Gracias Por Tu Participación” is a break-up anthem for the gracious, its tuba gamely pacing Chiquis’ polite but firm dismissal. One of the album’s most significant tracks is “Las Destrampadas,” which was billed on its release as the first trio collaboration between well-known women regional singers in modern times. Ely Quintero and Helen Ochoa’s devious lyrics give much-needed “arriba la viejonas borrachas” energy. It’s in these moments that Playlist’s nostalgic leanings seem part of a larger strategy, one that hints at how Chiquis could figure as the link between Jenni’s golden moment for women regional talent and the next.