I’m Spring Spanish teacher Juan and, as a musician, I think one of the best ways to learn Spanish is listening to music, so here are 10 Latin songs you can listen to to learn Spanish and improve your pronunciation.
They will appear according to the complexity level, so the first ones will be easy, but just wait until you get to the last ones!
First level: Easy
Canción número uno: Bonito, de Jarabe de Palo
Let’s start this list with a Spanish band. Jarabe de Palo has many great songs, but “Bonito” is great to learn some easy chunks and words in Spanish, since its catchy tune is nice and slow, so you can understand the words without much effort.
Learn the chunk: “Todo me parece bonito” (All seems so pretty/nice) and use it when you want to compliment a situation! It’s a very nice thing to say!
Canción número dos: Vivir mi Vida, de Marc Anthony
Marc Anthony is one of the most famous and successful Latin American singers. The chunk Voy a vivir (I’m going to live) can be very useful, as you can use any verb instead of vivir to say you’re going to do something.
This song is easy to follow for those who are not too familiar with the language. The lyrics repeat throughout the song, so it’s a great way to practice your pronunciation.
By the way, we’ve made a Spotify playlist with all these songs so you can listen to them on repeat!
Second Level: Intermediate
Canción número tres: Livin’ La Vida Loca, de Ricky Martin
Livin’ La Vida Loca performed by Puerto Rican native Ricky Martin topped the charts in 1999. La Vida Loca is “the crazy life” in Spanish. Pay close attention, since there are both English and Spanish versions.
Fun chunk to learn and use in a nightclub: La reina de la noche (The queen of the night).
- ¡Epa! ¿Ya viste el video de Spring Spanish de Cory bailando? En esta fiesta sería la reina de la noche. (Hey, did you see the Spring Spanish video of Cory dancing already? In this party, she would be the queen of the night.)
Canción número cuatro: La ciudad de la furia, de Soda Stereo
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without some Argentinian Rock and Roll! Soda Stereo was one of the most popular Latin Rock and Roll bands in the 90s. This song is easy to learn since it’s pretty slow and well pronounced. However, you might need to listen to it many times to understand some chunks like me verás volar (you’ll see me flying).
Third level: Advanced
Canción número cinco: Con altura (With Height), de Rosalia
Another contribution from Spain to this list: Rosalía is an incredible artist with flamenco roots. This catchy song is all about living the fun life, getting everything you can out of every moment, and maybe even enjoying a few wild nights.
The chunk vivo rápido y no tengo cura (I live fast and I don’t have a cure) is so rebellious and energy-packed that you won’t help but move your foot at least a little bit to the beat.
¿En serio le vas a poner más picante a esa arepa?
(Are you really going to put more spicy sauce on that Arepa?)
¡Psssss, claro! ¡Vivo rápido y no tengo cura!
(Pff, of course! I live fast and I don’t have a cure!)
Canción número 6: Juanito Alimaña, de Héctor Lavoe
Ah, Salsa! One of the great contributions from Caribbean music to the world!
Juanito Alimaña is a great fit for your Latin music arsenal. There’s a lot of slang and expressions that might be difficult, since this song is about a crime gang leader wreaking havoc among the streets of the Latin suburbs in New York.
The chunk La calle es una selva de cemento (The streets are a concrete jungle) is just so powerful, don’t you think?
Fourth Level: Hard
Canción número siete: Baracunata, de Aterciopelados
Powerful mix between popular music and Rock and Roll, Baracunata is a great introduction to Colombian slang. You could spend a whole afternoon trying to understand all the expressions and words in that song (talk about a focused study lesson!).
Easy chunk? Anoche te vi (Last night I saw you).
Canción número ocho: El tiburón, de Proyecto Uno
Okay, first boss coming: Merengue Hip-Hop. This mix is definitely challenging, since it’s very fast and there’s a lot of lyrics. Yeah, I would be freaking out too!
El tiburón de Proyecto Uno (The shark by Project one) was really popular back in the 90s, and it gained new popularity from this guy again. Great song to practice your pronunciation speed!
Good chunk for a Caribbean party: ¡Con la mano arriba! ¡Hey! (With the hand up! Hey!)
Fifth level: LEGENDARY
Canción número nueve: La Chilanga Banda, de CAFÉ TACVBA
The Godzilla of slang songs, La Chilanga Banda —from the incredible Mexican band Café Tacuba— is all about Mexican slang.
I mean, if you ever get the meaning of each of the expressions in that song, go to your nearest Mexican Embassy to get your free Mexican Passport because, wey, you just mastered Mexican culture!
Easiest chunk from this song: Mejor yo me echo una chela (I better go get a beer / lit.: throw myself a beer).
Canción número diez: Los Orozco, de León Gieco
If you ever want to impress your friends with how vast and limitless the Spanish language can be, just show them this song, because in Los Orozco, all the lyrics are written with only the O vowel!
The most mind-blowing thing ¡es que toda la canción tiene sentido! (is that the whole song makes sense!)
Fun chunk: Los otros son locos; yo los conozco; no los soporto. (The other ones are crazy; I know them; I can’t stand them). Stop, stop!
Now that you have some great songs in Spanish to listen to, it’s time to learn some actual Spanish from them… and my Spring Spanish colleague Maria Fernanda will now show you exactly how to do that!
Just follow the link and you will find a step-by-step method to identify and memorize Spanish chunks from all the songs you listen to. Give my regards to her, will ya?