Help me listen to miserable music in Spanish.
September 24, 2012 12:37 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to revive my rather rusty Spanish. One of the green's favourite tips for language learning seems to be to immerse yourself in TV programmes/films/music in the target language. So I want to start listening to Spanish-language music, and I need some recommendations.

I'm afraid I'm woefully ignorant about the music scene in Spain/Latin America, so I don't really know where to start. I'd ideally like to begin with music reasonably similar to what I already listen to. (I promise I'll branch out later.)

My music taste has historically been of the mopey indie/alternative variety. Think Radiohead, The National, Bon Iver, Arcade Fire, and Counting Crows. I dearly love much of R.E.M.'s older stuff. Oh, and artists like Pulp and Elvis Costello.

Basically, music that's melodic, quirky, and not too upbeat or dancey. Oh, and I like songs with interesting lyrics. This is particularly important if I'm going to spend lots of time translating/memorising them for language-learning purposes. And it would be useful if the singers aren't too screamy/mumbly/otherwise incoherent.

I'm in the UK, so stuff that's available to buy on the UK iTunes or Amazon would be great if possible, but I'll hang out on Youtube if I have to.

Tl;dr version: I'd like recommendations for Spanish-language music, preferably of the indie/alternative persuasion, with intelligible lyrics.

Thank you!
posted by badmoonrising to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Shakira's spanish stuff before Laundry Service is exactly what you're talking about. The two albums are called donde estan los ladrones and Pies Descalzos
posted by nickhb at 12:42 PM on September 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Manu Chao, although some of the lyrics are also sometimes in French/Italian/Gallega.
posted by elizardbits at 12:52 PM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

For interesting lyrics, Silvio Rodriguez. This is a good start.

Cafe Tacuba, especially Re.
posted by ambrosia at 1:26 PM on September 24, 2012

Try listening to the KXCI webcast on Wednesday nights. 6:00pm is Sabor del Barrio, 8:00pm is Onada Suave, and at 10:00pm is Chicano Connection. They have playlists from previous shows on their web site. They play such a wide range of music that you should be able to find plenty of music that you will like.
posted by calumet43 at 1:55 PM on September 24, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! Some really interesting suggestions so far.
posted by badmoonrising at 2:10 PM on September 24, 2012

I recommend watching Sabado Gigante! Or a novella.

I also like Luis Miguel. Take that any way you want.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:33 PM on September 24, 2012

Bebe is pretty fantastic. So is Cordero.
posted by spunweb at 3:21 PM on September 24, 2012

Prince Royce
posted by empath at 3:55 PM on September 24, 2012

Fernando Milagros's album San Sebastian from last year. The entire record is awesome and very much in the indie vein. Linked is the lead single.
posted by the foreground at 4:31 AM on September 25, 2012

Following on nickhb's rec, Shakira did a live, unplugged album of the songs on Donde estan los ladrones for MTV. It's my favorite album of hers.
posted by crankylex at 8:59 AM on September 25, 2012

Hello! I was you just a few years ago, and I now live in Barcelona, Spain. Here's an alphabetical list of some artists you may like as I dig through iTunes.

Christina Rosenvinge
Hello Seahorse!
Love of Lesbian
Maldita Nerea
Los Piratas
Vetusta Morla
posted by Nerro at 11:58 AM on September 25, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks again, everyone. The recommendations are great and the links really helpful. (Special props to nickhb for even linking specifically to the UK iTunes store!)

I've been on an iTunes spree, and will very probably go on another one when I have the spare cash.

Nerro - Barcelona is a fantastic city, I'm jealous. Here's hoping I'm at successful at learning Spanish as you presumably were!

I won't mark anyone as best answer as you've all been very helpful.
posted by badmoonrising at 4:46 PM on September 25, 2012

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