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22 Bilingual Songs to Enrich Your Listening and Language Practice

Bilingual songs have a magical way of bridging cultures, transcending language barriers and igniting a sense of unity among diverse audiences.

These musical creations showcase the fusion of different languages, creating a unique and captivating listening experience.

In this article, I’ll give you 22 excellent bilingual songs to add to your playlist, whether you’re a language learner or just a music fan.

From popular hits to hidden gems, these songs are a celebration of cultural diversity and artistic expression.

Contents


Bilingual Songs

The songs below are grouped by the languages in which they’re sung. We’ll start off with a couple of multilingual musical works sung in more than two languages. Then we’ll move on to a few English and French bilingual songs, followed by songs sung in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Japanese and more.

1. “L-O-V-E” by Nat King Cole

Languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese

In this song, Nat King Cole sings the same charming message about love in six different languages. While his accent might not be perfect in all the languages, you’ve got to appreciate his effort to spread some multilingual love.

2. “Lo Siento” by Super Junior feat. Leslie Grace 

Languages: Korean, Spanish and English

This is an electrifying bilingual song that combines K-pop with Latin rhythms. Its infectious beats, catchy melodies and energetic vocals create a lively track perfect for the dancefloor. If you want more multilingual K-pop, check out “From Home” by NCT U which features lyrics in Korean, Chinese, Japanese and English.

3. “Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi” by Kylie Minogue

Languages: French and English

This pop hit from 1988 is upbeat, catchy and wonderfully dance-able. The song captures the essence of romantic uncertainty and the whimsical nature of love. While it doesn’t offer any complex language lessons, it will stick the titular French phrase in your brain for all eternity. 

4. “Michelle” by The Beatles

Languages: French and English

Here we have a classic tale of international, bilingual love. Paul tries to woo his French lover in the little French he knows, as she doesn’t seem to know much English. I’m willing to bet you know the song, and the French is easy to understand by context alone.

5. “Bongo Bong” by Manu Chao

Languages: French and English

This song humorously depicts Manu’s bohemian existence. It’s in French and English, but you can find songs by Manu in so many other languages: Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Catalan, Galician, Portuguese, Greek and more.

6. “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quittes Pas)” by Regina Spektor

Languages: French and English

Regina is well-known for her multilingual lyrics and albums. She sings in English, French, Russian—and she occasionally throws in a Latin verse or two. If you like this song, then check out “Après Moi” which also has both French and English lyrics.

7. “If That’s What It Takes / Por Que Tu M’aimes Encore” by Celine Dion

Languages: French and English

In this song, Celine pours her heart out in two languages. While she usually has the two versions separate, this mash-up is ideal for language learners and fans of bilingual music.

Most of her songs are in English or French, but Celine has also sung in Spanish, Italian, German, Latin, Japanese, Chinese and more. Check out this impressive compilation of her singing in nine different languages! 

8. “I Belong To You (+ Mon Cœur S’ouvre à Ta Voix)” by Muse

Languages: English, French

This is a mesmerizing bilingual song by the British rock band Muse. It combines elements of rock, pop and opera, creating a captivating musical journey. It’s a testament to the beauty and emotional depth that can be achieved when different languages and musical genres intertwine.

9. “Qué Maldición” by Banda MS feat. Snoop Dogg

Languages: Spanish and English

“Qué Maldición” is a bilingual collaboration between the Mexican band Banda MS and the iconic American rapper Snoop Dogg. This unique fusion of regional Mexican music and hip-hop brings together two distinct musical styles.

The song effortlessly transitions between Spanish and English, blending traditional banda instrumentation with Snoop Dogg’s smooth rap verses (and even some Spanish from him!). 

10. “Mentirosa” by Mellow Man Ace

Languages: Spanish and English

“Mentirosa” is a classic Chicano hip-hop song from 1989 that continues to be enjoyed by fans around the world. With its upbeat tempo, catchy hooks and fusion of hip-hop and Latin influences, it became an instant hit.

The music video conveniently displays English translations along with all its Spanish-sung lyrics, so even non-Spanish speakers can follow along with the song’s story of deceit and betrayal.

11. “Promise” by Usher feat. Romeo Santos

Languages: Spanish and English

In 2011, the song “Promise” by Romeo Santos and Usher was unveiled to the world and quickly rose to the top of the Latin charts. Within the enchanting notes of this song, you’ll discover the rich influence of bachata melodies intertwining with infectious R&B beats.

The music video deserves special recognition, as it garnered widespread acclaim for its imaginative visuals and the impressive dance skills shown off by both artists. 

12. “Stand By Me” by Prince Royce

Languages: Spanish and English

You’ve undoubtedly heard the original R&B hit “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King. This is a Spanglish version by the Dominican bachata star from New York, and it has every bit as much soul. The first time around it might seem tricky to guess when he’ll switch between Spanish to English, but after a couple of listens you’ll be singing right along.

13. “Latinoamérica” by Calle 13

Languages: Spanish and Portuguese

Calle 13 is an eclectic Puerto Rican band that integrates virtually all styles of Latin music into their songs—everything from reggaeton to salsa, cumbia and bossa nova. This song in particular showcases their empowering and impactful music.

By incorporating Spanish and Portuguese lyrics, the band aims to unify Latin America and express the experiences and challenges faced by its people. The song addresses various social, cultural, political and economic issues in the region while also instilling hope in the resilience of its native population.

14. “Ilusion” by Julieta Venegas feat. Marisa Monte

Languages: Spanish and Portuguese

This lovely duet is a melodic dreamland that’s bound to charm you. Julieta Venegas herself grew up bilingual in Spanish and English, but notes that she “feels” in Spanish. This certainly comes through in her Spanish-language musical performances.

If you love this song, check out “Miedo,” another Spanish-Portuguese song by Julieta featuring Lenine (a big shot in Brazilian music). The Spanish and Portuguese are actually overlaid in this song, giving it a fascinating, textured quality. Listen to how the accents combine, blend and contradict one another during the chorus. 

15. “We Are One (Ole Ola)” by Pitbull

Languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese

This song represents the essence of multilingual music, reaching a vast global audience as the official song of the 2014 World Cup. Even if you don’t see it as a musical masterpiece, just think about the sheer number of people who were exposed to it worldwide.

It carried the spirit of the games in English, Spanish and Portuguese, united as one to spread a message of excitement, national pride and international cooperation.

16. “Somos Sur” by Ana Tijoux featuring Shadia Mansour

Languages: Spanish and Arabic

If you haven’t heard these rappers before, then you’re in for a treat. Bumping beat, bombastic sounds, a cacophony of instruments from around the world—and two multilingual, revolutionary social activists who are speaking for the voiceless people in their home regions.

Ana Tijoux has many other songs about political justice and revolutionary ideals in both Spanish and French, while Shadia Mansour skillfully raps in English and Arabic on many tracks.

18. “Stirb Nicht Vor Mir (Don’t Die Before I Do)” by Rammstein feat. Sharleen Spiteri

Languages: German and English

Rammstein is one of those rare bands that can get their messages across with their sound alone. The sound of buzzing guitars and a deep booming voice remains constant, as do the band’s dark, brooding, morbid and often violent lyrics—but you’ll find a lot of diversity in the languages they use.

This one uses German and English, but others combine German with Spanish, Russian or French.

19. “99 Luftballons” by Goldfinger

Languages: German and English

This well-known anti-war song brought German music into ’80s vogue. This English version is a punk rock favorite, but keep in mind that Nena, the artist behind the original German song, never liked the English translations.

In case you’ve never heard the plot of this imaginative song, it illustrates the effect of wartime paranoia by telling a story: 99 balloons float up gently into the sky, and the nations sharing the airspace get engaged in a 99-year war after failing to properly identify them as harmless objects. 

20. “Picture This” by Kero Kero Bonito

Languages: Japanese and English

This is a delightful bilingual song that blends elements of indie pop and electronic music. The soft Japanese “rap” in the middle of the song clearly introduces a lot of useful, common Japanese phrases. If you listen to this song (and their other releases) as obsessively as I do, you’re bound to pick up a few things.

21. “Sumahama” by The Beach Boys

Languages: Japanese and English

Did you know that the Beach Boys sang something in Japanese? This is a slow, melodic, poetic song about love and loss in Japan, worth a listen on a rainy day. “Sumahama” captures the spirit of summer and the allure of the Japanese coastline, offering a captivating fusion of cultures and languages that showcases The Beach Boys’ global appeal. 

22. “Party Poison” by My Chemical Romance

Languages: Japanese and English

While My Chemical Romance screams about parties, dance floors and darkness (you know, all the usual stuff) a Japanese girl pipes in and loudly encourages listeners to join in the party madness.

If you want more bilingual music, I recommend the album “eXtraOrdinary rendition” by Rupa & the April Fishes which contains songs in English, French, Spanish and Hindi. The colorful, soulful music really manages to capture the ups and downs of an international life that crosses every border imaginable.

Why Bilingual Songs Are Great for Language Learners

Bilingual songs build bridges to connect people from different backgrounds who can sing along to the same tune. Beyond their power to connect, here are a few more benefits of bilingual songs:

  • Bilingual songs capture glimpses of bilingual culture. For example, Chicano music blends English and Spanish to reflect the natural mix of languages found in Mexican-American communities. Bilingual songs can also provide different forms of expression and perspectives on the world.
  • Bilingual music is the best recipe for high-powered learning. When music and multiple languages collide, your brain kicks into overdrive. Music boosts brainpower and language retention, while bilingualism boosts attentiveness. That means the more music you listen to, the better your brain is at absorbing language.
  • Listening to bilingual songs is fun. Singing along to music sneakily gives us language learning practice. It’s ideal for both children and adults, as the listener can simply enjoy themselves while building their language skills in the process.
  • It provides a motivating challenge. Mastering the Spanish rap interlude in your favorite pop song adds an element of challenge to the experience—and when you finally master that bit of the song, the satisfaction and pride you feel are beyond compare.

How to Learn Languages with Bilingual Songs

While just listening along can be a productive practice, there are ways to make your listening even more impactful. 

  • Find songs that blend languages. Many songs use two (or more) languages equally, switching back and forth throughout. These are great for training your brain to work with both languages at once. 
  • Listen to two versions of one song in different languages. Many bilingual artists record multiple versions of their hit songs. Try listening to both. Favor the version in your target language until you’ve mastered those lyrics, then switch over to the English version and compare and contrast the lyrics. You can also check out a language learning program such as FluentU to see subtitles in two languages at once.

    FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

    You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

    P.S. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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  • Check out covers in your target language. Search for your favorite English songs in your target language. If it’s a popular song, chances are good that there’s a cover out there on YouTube or Spotify in your target language. Many popular songs also have remixes that include another language, especially in English and Spanish. 
  • Try some bilingual songs for kids. Whether you’re teaching your kids French, Spanish, Japanese or any other language, use music to add more fun and diversity to their learning. It will help them retain vocabulary, practice their pronunciation and be excited to practice! These simpler songs are also great for beginner adult learners!

 

Music is a universal passion and something we can easily connect on across borders and languages.

Bilingual songs make this connection even more concrete and provide a way to practice a new language that won’t bore you.

So add a few to your playlist and get listening—and singing along! 

And One More Thing...

Love learning languages through music? Then you'll love FluentU.

With FluentU, you'll learn real languages—as they're spoken and sung by native speakers. FluentU has a wide variety of videos as you can see here:

And for us music lovers, there’s an entire category dedicated to music videos! It covers everything from fresh pop hits to educational singalongs, Disney numbers, and familiar holiday tunes.

Keep exploring from there and you’ll find all kinds of interesting videos related to music, like behind-the-scenes interviews with your favorite artists.

Of course, every language learner knows the frustration of trying to keep up with fast-paced lyrics while still learning! That’s why FluentU’s interactive captions let you tap on any word in the lyrics to instantly see an image, definition, audio and useful examples.

Didn't catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? Hover your mouse over the subtitles to instantly view definitions. Then hit play to keep going without ever missing a beat.

You can learn all the vocabulary in any song with FluentU's "learn mode." Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.

And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You get a truly personalized experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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