Tired of learning Spanish from a tedious textbook? Then it’s about time you jazzed up your language-learning routine.
If you’re looking for a fun new way to learn Spanish, look no further than music.
Listening to catchy Spanish songs (the current stuff, obviously – not just has-been tracks like La Bamba!) is a great way to improve your Spanish – and have a cheeky dance around your room while you’re at it.
Can I actually learn Spanish by listening to music?
Yes, you absolutely can! Music can be a very powerful tool.
Focus on the songs you like, read the lyrics as you sing along, and, most importantly, have fun!
And before you know it, you’ll realise you’re singing in Spanish (most likely in a much-improved Spanish accent, too!).
Check out our YouTube playlist and the backstory of eight awesome songs that will have you singing in Spanish and dancing like a pro in no time.
1. A Dios le pido – Juanes
About the artist: Juanes is a Colombian singer-songwriter with quite the stage presence – especially when he’s blasting out his ballads.
About the song: Ah, A Dios le pido – Juanes’ iconic Latin rock hit. It’s all about a prayer to God to protect his friends and family. Fun fact: this moving number became so huge, it’s now also a hymn for peace throughout Latin America.
How it’ll help your language learning: Juanes’ hit single is packed with subjunctive verbs, triggered by the form “a Dios le pido que…” – making it ideal for those looking to practise making requests or expressing wishes with the Spanish subjunctive.
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2. Vivir mi vida – Marc Anthony
About the artist: Well, for starters, he’s one of the best selling tropical salsa artists. With a whopping 26 Billboard music chart hits. Way to go, Marc!
About the song: In his own words, Vivir mi vida is an infectious Spanish song “so positive and [that pays] such homage to life”. So much so, that it’ll immediately pull even the shyest of you out of your chair and on to the dancefloor!
How it’ll help your language learning: If you’re a beginner, there is no better song out there for you. Marc sings mercifully clearly and slowly; plus, the same lyrics repeat throughout the song, so you’ll have no trouble singing along.
3. La bicicleta – Shakira and Carlos Vives
About the artists: Like these two Colombian superstars need an introduction!
About the song: La bicicleta is a fast and (joyfully!) furious duet, filled with Colombian flavour: think everything from vallenato to pop, reggaeton and cumbia. For both artists, the song has a nostalgic note to it, with flashbacks to them growing up in their Colombian hometowns.
How it’ll help your language learning: Get down with the kids with the ton of colloquial expressions woven into the lyrics. Now that’s the stuff that’ll really put your Spanish language through its paces.
4. Mia – Bad Bunny (feat. Drake)
About the artists: Puerto Rican Bad Bunny takes centre stage, featuring Canadian rapper, Drake.
About the song: Mixing reggaeton and dancehall, Mia is the first song where Drake sings entirely in Spanish – with stellar pronunciation, if we do say ourselves.
How it’ll help your language learning: Don’t let the speed put you off – the language in this number isn’t as complicated as you might think! It just might take a few listens.
5. Malamente – Rosalía
About the artist: Watch out for this dark horse – she’s a rising Spanish star.
About the song: Malamente is a flamenco-hip-hop hybrid (yup, you heard us right!) with a really important message about gender-based violence.
How it’ll help your language learning: This is definitely one for more advanced Spanish learners, as the elongated vowel sounds in flamenco music aren’t the easiest to decipher; but they’re well worth working your way up to.
6. La gozadera – Gente de Zona (feat. Marc Anthony)
About the artist: A fiery Cuban reggaeton duo you totally need to check out, if you haven’t heard of them already.
About the song: It’s all in the name for this one. “La Gozadera” is a term used in Cuba to describe a bustling party with lots of drinking and dancing. So naturally, La gozadera is a track where reggaeton meets salsa, celebrating Latino culture in all its vibrant glory.
How it’ll help your language learning: If you’re just starting to learn Spanish, this is a great choice. The lyrics are super easy to follow and if you’re listening hard enough, you’ll also learn the Spanish names of a handful of Latin American countries. Bonus!
7. La Tortura – Shakira (feat. Alejandro Sanz)
About the artists: We know, we know. We’ve already mentioned Shakira, but we couldn’t resist giving her another shout-out. Plus, fellow Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz is definitely worth a look.
About the song: This twosome came together to create La Tortura – a Latin pop song about the relationship between two former lovers. Spoiler alert: he cheats on her, but he wants them to get back together. Don’t do it, Shakira!
How it helps your language learning: Although it’s not an easy one for beginners, this song is a clearest and crispest introduction to the Colombian accent you’ll find.
And for those of you grappling with the differences between the subjunctive and indicative, there’s no better place to see them in action.
8. Latinoamérica – Calle 13
About the band: Calle 13 is one of the most political bands in Latin America.
About the song: Latinoamérica is a hip hop / rap manifesto against poverty and for championing Latin American identity, with homage paid to iconic elements of Latin American culture.
Now this ‘Spanish’ song is actually a mish-mash of different languages, with the introduction sung in Quechua, a language family from the Andes, and another small fragment sung in Portuguese.
How it’ll help your language learning: If you want repetition, this song’s got it – making it mega easy to grasp the vocab and the structures embedded in the song’s lyrics.
Now, this is just a taster of Spanish music at its finest; but the list of greats is truly endless.
But these Spanish songs are a starting point, not only to help you retain more vocabulary, but also to give you a window into different cultures.
So what are you waiting for? Get listening to the playlist – and dancing like you just don’t care.
Do you have any favourite songs that you use to learn Spanish? Comment and let us know!
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