learn-spanish-with-songs

Learn Spanish with Songs: 30 Spanish Songs for Every Music Taste

Who doesn’t love great music?

Let’s utilize this universal adoration to learn Spanish through songs!

You can trust that our collective experience learning 10+ languages also taught us a thing or two about picking out great tunes to study from.

These catchy—and educational—Spanish songs will help improve your pronunciation, broaden your vocabulary and even deepen your grammar knowledge.

Read on for 30 songs to learn Spanish with, tips for how to learn Spanish with songs, resources for finding Spanish songs and more!

Contents

Pop Songs and Ballads

1. “No” (No) by Shakira

Lyrics

Shakira’s “No” is slow and steady, and heartbreakingly expresses her reasons for refusing to be with someone who is constantly causing her pain. She says that no one can live with the venom of this relationship and that she resents the fact that her lover can still hurt her even when he is long gone.

The words are simple and powerful, and make strong use of the Spanish informal command form.

You will also find a few interesting expressions and phrases so make sure to read those lyrics closely!

2. “Me voy” (I’m Leaving) by Julieta Venegas

Lyrics

This song tells the story of a woman who leaves her lover and must say goodbye, even though she doesn’t want to.

The lyrics use common Spanish words along with a slow, easy beat—which is perfect for Spanish learners.

Most of the song is in the present tense, though there are a few more complicated forms, like the subjunctive. Keep an ear open for common expressions, like “que lástima,” which roughly means “what a shame.”

3. “Recuerdo” (I Remember) by TINI, Mau and Ricky

Lyrics

A tale of one romantic evening comes to life through vivid images and concise storytelling. This slow and dramatic song tells the story of dancing, kissing and what happens afterward. There are flashing lights and jail photos so this is not a happily-ever-after!

Much of the song’s story takes place in the past tense so this is a great chance to practice the simple past.

Listen out for pronunciation in this one, as well. For example, notice how the s sounds in “los dos,” “escucho” and “diste” are silent. Where else do you notice dropped letters? This song is a good way to start looking at full sentences together, rather than individual words one at a time.

Videos that show the lyrics with the music, like this one, are also great resources for jotting down vocabulary or pressing pause to really see how the pieces of the language come together.

4. “Vivir mi vida” (Live My Life) by Marc Anthony

Lyrics

This song poses the question, “Why cry?” Life is full of ups and downs, but excitement is all around and the only thing we can do is live our lives. Marc Anthony provides a very upbeat song you will not be able to resist dancing to.

Laugh, dance, shout, enjoy and live in the moment! This song is a reminder that the moment is all we have, so take advantage of it.

You might notice a colloquialism in this song, “¿Pa’ qué?” (“For what?”), which is a shortening of para qué, and a great intro phrase to Spanish slang.

5. “Historia del taxista” (Story of the Taxi Driver) by Ricardo Arjona

Lyrics

This song tells the story of a taxi driver who picks up a crying woman on the side of the road and the chance encounter turns into something more. The two begin sharing their life stories and, despite the gap between their social classes, something clicks.

Listening to the song is practically like hearing an entire story—and it even comes with its own twist ending.

The lyrics have dialogue, descriptive language and very little repetition, making this the perfect song for more advanced intermediate learners.

6. “Nada valgo sin tu amor” (I’m Worth Nothing Without Your Love) by Juanes

Lyrics

Another love song, this smooth and easy jazz-inspired tune tells the story of a man who is nothing without his lover. It’s a beautiful confession of a man who is in love and knows what he would lose without it: the wonderful feelings of companionship that comes with a relationship, and the desire to feel that again when love has gone away.

The lyrics read like a love letter and are a bit more complex than other songs. I recommend taking it one step at a time and making sure that you understand each individual line before moving on to the next.

7. “Todos me miran” (Everyone Looks at Me) by Gloria Trevi

Lyrics

Look no further for the perfect Spanish woman power anthem!

From throwing off the chains of her inattentive partner to becoming the queen of the city in an evening, Gloria Trevi’s passion is palatable through the music she has created.

This song is a fantastic way to study the past tense. The lyrics repeat often, so you won’t be lost!

8. “¿Con quién se queda el perro?” (With Whom Does the Dog Stay?) by Jesse & Joy

Lyrics

A sad and realistic breakup song, Jesse and Joy pose the question “Who gets the dog if we break up?”

What starts off as a shiny, new and exciting relationship filled with shared joys soon turns ugly. The song leaves us packing bags and splitting material items until the final question of who gets the dog remains.

There is plenty of repetition but also plenty to learn in this song, so you may need to take some time unpacking the language. You’ll find many words related to the home and furniture, as the couple distributes their belongings among themselves and draws the curtains on their home (literally) and relationship (metaphorically).

9. “Deseos de cosas imposibles” (Wishes of Impossible Things) by La Oreja de Van Gogh

Lyrics

We take a break from dancing to listen to one of La Oreja’s best songs.

A declaration of true, raw love after a breakup, the speaker uses a myriad of similes and metaphors to show how much they still love the other person, even now that they’re not together anymore.

This song is not challenging because of its vocabulary, but it employs the use of metaphorical language for a ton of hidden meanings perfect for advanced learners to analyze and decipher.

Here is an example:

Igual que el mosquito más tonto de la manada (Just like the silliest mosquito of the swarm)
Yo sigo tu luz aunque me lleve a morir (I follow your light even if it leads me to die)

Try to find more in the lyrics!

Reggaetón Songs

10. “Despacito” (Slowly) by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee

Lyrics

This song hit the world hard when it came out, topping the charts in 47 countries! Whether you missed out on the craze or already have the song playing in your head after reading its title, this is a catchy way to learn Spanish.

The hit tune might be all about going “slowly,” but Daddy Yankee’s rap section zooms by pretty quickly. If you have trouble keeping up, try reading the lyrics out loud a few times, taking it faster each time. Then, you can try singing along with that section. Repeat a few times and soon you’ll be rapping along confidently!

Need a bit more help? This post about the lyrics of “Despacito” will give you a hand with the song’s pronunciation.

11. “Mía” (Mine) by Bad Bunny and Drake

Lyrics

This ode to love is told from the male point of view and implores the lover’s object of affection to declare that she belongs to him. It is clear-cut and to the point: He loves her; she should acknowledge that and tell the world how it is.

A tortured love song is always good listening, isn’t it? And the lyrics are as uncomplicated as their message, so this is a good choice to practice your speaking confidence and conversational vocabulary.

The video offers cultural glimpses which are beneficial to language learners. A Puerto Rican flag, Latin dance moves, a domino game and a backyard party will ring true to many who live in Spanish-speaking countries or in Latin neighborhoods. I know I recognized a lot from my own life!

Check this one out if you need to grab some Spanish terms of endearment for your vocabulary, too.

12. “Con altura” (With Height) by Rosalía

Lyrics

This catchy tune is all about living the fun life, getting everything you can out of every moment and maybe even enjoying a few wild nights.

The cultural significance of the reggaeton sound and flamenco dance moves is worth noting. They provide insights into Spanish culture that sometimes learners only experience through travel or immersion. Here, though, the music brings both to life.

Rosalía’s thoughts on this song, as well as the lyrics, can be found in a short piece on Billboard (linked above).

This one is easy to sing along to and really fun. Who could ask for more?

13. “Keii” by Anuel AA

Lyrics

This song by Puerto Rican rapper Anuel AA is almost like vocal theater, it’s so beautiful. The story is complete with love, longing, character development—and a rhythm that charmingly cradles the lyrics.

A repeated shout-out to other singers and songs provides repetition, which is a great way for Spanish learners to practice pronunciation. Sing along to get in an extra session of speaking practice!

The lyrics to this gothic love story read like poetry. The entertainer portrays Dracula so well that listeners may be looking over their shoulders as they sing this one!

14. “Súbele el volumen” (Turn Up the Volume) by Daddy Yankee, Myke Towers, Jhay Cortez

Lyrics

This song describes the transformation of a woman who used to be a “good girl.” But after getting her heart broken, she decides to take desquite (revenge) by drinking all night and doing other adult stuff.

Even native Spanish speakers can find some of the lines of this song hard to understand, so advanced learners will have to read the lyrics very closely in order to get the whole story.

A long story is exactly what this steamy song tells, but the chorus gets repeated enough times for any advanced learner to learn it in a couple of minutes. 

Are you ready to subirle el volumen?

15. “Amor en coma” (Love in a Coma) by MTZ Manuel Turizo x Maluma

Lyrics

Maluma continues to sell us his bad-guy vibes in a song in which he wonders how to break up with his girl without hurting her. 

He has stopped loving her and has even betrayed her with another woman, and he wants to end the relationship before he breaks her heart.

Broken hearts aside, this song is challenging enough to be used by advanced learners, but slow enough to still be possible to learn with.

The first part of the song is great for learning the Spanish subjunctive. Analyze it and you’ll find a lot of words and constructions that trigger this challenging Spanish mood.

The rap section is normally the hardest one in any song, but Manuel Turizo has a very clear pronunciation. The abundance of rhymes helps to make his part easy to memorize.

Rap and Hip-hop

16. “Con calma” (With Calm) by Daddy Yankee

Lyrics

This reggaeton dance song is all about a gorgeous woman who dances like a dream. The tune is so catchy that it honestly becomes an earworm (in a really good way) so you might find yourself singing the song without even realizing it. (True story—it happened to me!)

The refrain is super simple, making this a good choice for those who are just entering the advanced level of Spanish.

Pure entertainment value on this video is off the charts. The dance moves are slick, the presentation has comical elements—check out that big singing head—and the lyrics are shown with English subtitles.

17. “Loco contigo” (Crazy with You) by DJ Snake, J. Balvin and Tyga

Lyrics

If you like your music hot and saucy, this is the perfect song!

The video is all fast action, wild sets and crazy costumes. The guys sing about how crazy they are for a woman—with all the sincerity one can muster while riding in a vintage pink convertible past giant snails crossing the desert!

Spanish learners will enjoy the simple lyrics and basic vocabulary, but it’ll be a bit of a challenge to pick up all the words at full speed. This is a fun way to grab some conversational Spanish—and maybe learn a few steamier bits, as well!

18. “Lástima” (Pity) by Neutro Shorty

Lyrics 

We close this section of the list with what I consider to be a masterpiece, even though I’m not a fan of the genre.

“Lástima” is a song that describes the hardships many people go through in Latin America.

From the lack of money to the dangerous streets of the most unsafe barrios (neighborhoods) across the continent, Neutro Shorty really knows how to depict the society he’s a part of.

Described as Latin urban by some and Caribbean gangsta by others, Neutro Shorty is definitely an artist you should follow if you want to get to know more about the reality many South and Central Americans live nowadays.

The song might look difficult to master because it has few repetitions and a fast pace, but Shorty’s pronunciation is good enough to allow you to follow it by reading the lyrics (at least at the beginning).

It can also be used to learn some slang words such as joseo (theft to buy drugs) and blones (blunts).

For more Spanish rap recommendations, check out this post:

Rock and Alternative

19. “Eres” (You Are) by Café Tacuba

Lyrics

“Eres” has a steady, slow rhythm with simple, clearly articulated words that are easy to follow.

This is a love song demonstrating the incredible joy of being in love, waking up next to someone and not having to miss their presence anymore.

Pair this song with a lesson about when to use ser and estar, the two forms of “to be” in Spanish. Figure out why the singer uses ser for “eres” (you are) but estar for “estoy” (I am)?

20. “Bonito” (Beautiful) by Jarabe de Palo

Lyrics

You’ll tap your feet and bob your head to this song! It has a very catchy beat and a repeating chorus line that you’ll be able to learn easily. Plus, the lyrics are beautiful (much like the title!).

This song talks about the beauty that can be found everywhere in life and how the bad things that inevitably happen can’t take away from the overall glory of life. It’s a great song for a rainy day when you might feel down.

Keep an eye on that last letter in the titular word bonito: it changes depending on the gender of the noun it is modifying. Learn more about how adjectives work in Spanish to confidently use adjective gender rules when you sing along.

21. “Nunca estoy” (I Never Am) by C. Tangana

Lyrics

“Música triste en español” (Sad music in Spanish).

With these four words, C. Tangana described one of the most gut-wrenching songs I’ve heard in the past few years.

Sung in first person from the perspective of a woman (you can see that in sentences like “soy una imbécil”—I am a [female] idiot, for example), Tangana portrays what seems to be fragments of audio messages from a woman to her boyfriend, telling him that he doesn’t take care of her, he’s never there for her and he’s neglecting her.

The sad lyrics seem to clash with the lively Brazilian beat, which could be a metaphor for the fight between the two lovers.

The song is interesting not only because of the story, but also because of some linguistic features such as the use of the ending -ao instead of -ado for the past participle and because of the reference to the super famous song “Corazón Partío” (Broken Heart), a clear wink to co-author Alejandro Sanz.

Children’s Songs

22. “La cucaracha” (The Cockroach)

Lyrics

This classic Spanish song is one most heritage learners learn at a really early age. I learned it almost as soon as I could speak!

There are plenty of variations of the song, so you might have noticed the lyric link and the video don’t match. The video is a much more kid-friendly version than the linked lyrics, in which the roach is missing his hind legs.

Whichever version you listen to, this song is perfect for beginners, with simple words and phrases. Plus, the poor penniless cockroach in the video above is just too charming!

23. “Qué hay más allá” (What More Is Out There) by María Parrado

Lyrics

In any language, “How Far I’ll Go” is a fantastic song! If you’re a Disney fan, you’re already familiar with this one. And, really, who doesn’t love “Moana”? If you’re not familiar with it yet, this song is about knowing that you have a place in your community, but yearning to see what more can be found beyond the horizon.

There’s a lot of repetition in this sweet, uplifting song. The lyrics are intended for a young audience, so they’re concise and clear.

Plus, the song mostly uses the present and future tenses, which are beginner-friendly tenses in Spanish!

24. “Libre soy” (I’m Free) by Carmen Sarahí

Lyrics

The Disney film “Frozen” is a timeless story. The kingdom is threatened so an unlikely pair sets off to break a spell. Along the way, they have adventures, encounter trolls and, ultimately, save the day.

Bonus for viewers? The soundtrack—especially the hit song, “Let It Go.”

The movie’s music is just as enchanting in Spanish as it is in English. And for anyone who’s seen the film, the lyrics to this empowering song will be wonderfully familiar.

It’s always interesting to see how famous songs are translated to keep the rhythm, rhyme and meaning intact. A fun exercise you can do with this song is to take a look at the Spanish lyrics and the English lyrics side-by-side to see what’s different.

Like in the previous song, there’s a strong use of the future tense here. Perfect for practice!

You can also listen to this song with interactive dual-language subtitles on FluentU.

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.

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25. “La rana Rosita” (Rosita the Frog) by Canticuénticos

Lyrics

If I had to choose the most common struggle that Spanish learners have to deal with when starting their language journey, I would pick pronouncing the letter r as the winner.

I’ve seen many Spanish students get frustrated because they can’t roll their r’s. This very Spanish sound doesn’t exist in many languages, of course, so it’s not commonly known among foreigners.

Luckily for you (and possibly your kids), this cute song includes a ton of words containing the wicked Spanish r sound. In fact, almost every word in the song has it!

You can use this song to practice the challenging sound while you learn some easy vocabulary related to animals. 

26. “El cumple de Pocoyó” (Pocoyó’s Birthday) by Conecta Kids

Lyrics

Most Spanish learners know the song “Cumpleaños Feliz,” but why stop there when you can celebrate Pocoyó’s birthday with Conecta Kids’ song?

Perfect for learning birthday vocabulary, “El cumple de Pocoyó” will have everyone dancing from beginning to end, especially children! This song is full of birthday traditions, like ear pulling, balloons and piñatas. How many can you spot?

And hey—did you notice the word cumple? It’s the apocopation (shortening) of the word cumpleaños. Spanish-speaking kids love using shortened forms of words. Do you know any others?

27. “Susanita” by Miliki

Lyrics

“Susanita” is one of the first songs every kid used to learn in the ’80s and ’90s when they went to the circus.

Miliki and his friends used to be the most famous clowns in the world, and their TV shows for kids were everything we needed to be happy.

This song is catchy and easy to memorize. It will teach you the names of some hobbies, like ajedrez (chess), fútbol (football) and teatro (theater). It can even be the perfect introduction to Spanish diminutives (Susanita is “little Susana” and chiquitín is “tiny,” literally “little tiny”).

28. “El baile de la fruta” (The Fruit Dance) by Pica-Pica

Lyrics

I have to confess this song has been in my head for three days already and I can’t stop singing it.

With this repetitive song and its memorization game, learners will learn the names of fruits in Spanish while having fun dancing along.

If you’re interested in some cultural references, there’s a fun one at the beginning of the video: The cookie’s name is María, which is not only a very typical Spanish name, but also a type of cookie that is very well known in the Spanish-speaking world.

29. “Hakuna Matata”

Lyrics

Who doesn’t know “The Lion King”? Who hasn’t sung “Hakuna Matata” at least once in their life?

“El Rey León” is a movie everybody enjoys, and “Hakuna Matata” is a song with a positive message we should all put into practice in our lives.

You can even use the song as a basis for a grammar lesson: “Hakuna Matata” is the perfect example of Spanish tú commands in action.

30. “Sueña” (Dream) by Luis Miguel

Lyrics

Luis Miguel is one of the best voices in the Spanish-speaking music world, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Disney chose him to sing this beautiful song.

Included in the movie “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Sueña” tells us to never stop dreaming and always believe that love will conquer all.

The song is slow enough for children and beginners to follow and sing along, and it can also be used to teach Spanish tú commands, both regular and irregular.

Tips for Learning Spanish with Songs

You’re almost set to start learning Spanish through songs! 

Our suggestions covered a variety of Spanish genres, styles, beats and topics, so hopefully you found something you like.

In order to get the most out of these songs, here are a couple of tips for when you listen.

The first time through, just listen to the song and the beat and try to pick out familiar words you already know. The second time, pay attention to repeated words and phrases. Do you understand them all? If not, look them up.

On the third listen, you should be understanding enough of the words to start listening to what they’re saying. What is the message of the song?

It will be incredibly helpful to keep a dictionary nearby, and have the lyrics available to look at. You can find lyric videos which display the words as the song plays so it’s very easy to keep up.

You can also look up lyrics to pretty much any Spanish song on the lyric site, Letras. Or click on the lyric link included in every song’s description.

Become familiar with these songs and soon you’ll find yourself singing along!

What to Look For in Songs to Learn Spanish

Choosing the right song to learn with is also crucial to your success. Here are some things you should look for when picking a song for learning Spanish:

  • Clear pronunciation: You don’t want to use a song where the lyrics blend into one another or are hard to understand because the singer is mumbling. This is especially true if you’re a beginner—songs with clear pronunciation will be a better learning experience.
  • A catchy beat: If the beat and rhythm of a song do not catch your fancy when you listen to it, you probably won’t want it stuck in your head. Songs that make you tap your foot and bob your head are the best!
  • Repeating chorus/verses: The best songs to learn Spanish have repeating phrases in the chorus or verses that contain the same lyrics. If you can recognize and remember the lyrics, you’ll be able to sing the song in your head with more accuracy.
  • A familiar song dubbed in Spanish: Learning completely new songs in another language can be difficult, so sometimes it’s easier to take a familiar song and find a Spanish version of it. You can try this with theme songs, your favorite songs or familiar artists who also sing in Spanish, like Shakira or Enrique Iglesias.
  • Regional Spanish music: Pick songs sung by artists from the Spanish region of the world whose dialect you’re learning. Dialects across the Spanish-speaking world differ and can use different slang, so make it easy on yourself, at least in the beginning!

Why Learning Spanish with Songs Works

Musical Memory

Quick, finish these lyircs:

  • “Upside inside out, she’s…” (“…livin’ la vida loca”)
  • “Des-pa-…” (“…cito”)
  • “Dale a tu cuerpo alegría, Macarena, heeeey…” (“…Macarena!”)

Even if you’re an absolute beginner to Spanish, there’s a good chance you knew all three of those, even if you haven’t heard them in years.

You memorized some Spanish without even realizing it and, years later, you could recall it without hesitation. That’s the power of music!

Learning Spanish through songs is an extremely powerful way to get words and expressions to stay in your mind long-term.

We all get songs stuck in our heads—so you can put that to good use and use it as a learning tool to improve your language skills.

Scratching the Itch

Songs get stuck in our heads because of the way our brains work. Music activates the auditory cortex part of our brains, and when we don’t know the entire song, our brains fill in the missing gaps in the rhythm and repeat them over and over.

Scientists call this phenomenon a cognitive itch or a brain itch, and by repeating a tune in your head, you’re scratching the itch.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), our brains sometimes act like stuck iPods, unable to shuffle past the song they’re stuck on and move onto something else we would rather listen to!

Scientists and researchers all around the world have different names for songs getting stuck in our heads and different theories for why this happens. Marketing agencies and commercials are constantly coming up with new jingles and tunes to make their product memorable to you by creating a sound or piece of music that will get stuck in your head, and this often works very well!

We can use these same ideas to help learn a new language. If your brain can remember the music from a commercial or the theme song from a popular show on television, it can also remember a song or chorus that you heard—even if it’s in a different language.

Context Is Everything

Learning a new language is hard. Often, sitting in a classroom is boring, learning from a textbook feels like work and there’s not much interaction with authentic Spanish language and culture.

By learning Spanish with songs, your brain makes connections between the music you’re listening to and the words and language concepts you’re trying to learn.

A Shot of Culture

Music gives you an insight into Spanish culture that can’t be learned from a Spanish textbook.

People often sing about things they care about, so you get to learn more about the way Spanish-speaking cultures view certain universally important themes like love.

Learn the Local Lingo

Singing along to Spanish music not only increases your vocabulary and knowledge of popular Spanish culture, but it also allows you to become acquainted with regional accents and slang.

It’s Just Fun!

Learning Spanish with music is just plain fun! Who doesn’t love a good tune?

Resources for Finding Songs to Learn Spanish

Here are a few more resources to help you learn Spanish through songs:

  • Lyrics Training: A great site to learn Spanish (and other languages) through music videos. Learn the lyrics to songs through fill-in-the-blank questions.
  • Barcelona Blonde: A blog post that offers a playlist full of music to help you learn Spanish.
  • Rockalingua: A selection of original songs designed to help children with learning Spanish. The songs include color-in worksheets with lyrics.

You can also use Spotify, YouTube or your music player of choice to find and listen to Spanish music!

 

Now you have a good place to start learning Spanish with songs, the tools to find new Spanish artists you like and examples of different genres of Spanish music.

Find songs you enjoy listening to, find others like them and remember to keep a dictionary with you while you listen so you can look up any new words.

Soon, you’ll find these Spanish learning songs playing in your head and, eventually, you’ll be singing along!

And One More Thing…

If you've made it this far that means you probably enjoy learning Spanish with engaging material and will then love FluentU.

Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.

FluentU has a wide variety of videos, as you can see here:

learn-spanish-with-videos

FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.

learn-spanish-with-interactive-subtitled-videos

Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.

learn-spanish-with-songs

Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.

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The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning with the same video.

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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