From the time I began learning the Spanish language in the 6th grade, I loved it. I found that it engaged parts of my brain that I had rarely used before then, and the real thrill of learning was being able to communicate with Spanish speakers. Fairly early on in my Spanish education, I fell in love with Spanish-language music, and it became another way to learn, both in the classroom and out. These are the songs I keep in heavy rotation no matter where I am.
1. Bailando (Spanish Version) by Enrique Iglesias feat. Gente de Zona y Descemer Bueno
This is a great dance song in either language, but I prefer the Spanish because the lyrics are more meaningful. And what girl doesn't enjoy hearing a song about how much Enrique Iglesias loves dancing with them?
2. Vivir Mi Vida by Marc Anthony
I first heard this song one day in Spanish class, and it was promptly lodged in my head for 48 hours. I also immediately bought this song on Itunes, and it remains a favorite almost 3 years later. Why? The message: No matter what happens to you, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and remember to enjoy life. No matter my mood, this song is always a pick-me-up, a counterargument to everyday pessimism. It won him a Latin Grammy, and deservedly so.
3. Penelope by Diego Torres
While this is only one of the many, many covers of the iconic ballad which gave Penelope Cruz her name, it is my favorite by far. Torres' voice has all the emotional range necessary for this wistful and melancholy-filled tune about a woman trapped in the past.
4. La La La (Brasil 2014) (Spanish Version) ft. Carlinhos Brown by Shakira
What would this list be without at least one song from the queen of Latin pop? I know that her song "Waka Waka" for the 2010 World Cup was and is vastly more popular, for me, this song works so much better, both as a pump-up anthem for the World Cup and as a song. Once again, while there is an English version, much is lost in translation. In Spanish though, it is a warm welcome to Brasil for the world's biggest sporting event, where the players play fearlessly and the entire world is watching.
5. Dimelo by Marc Anthony
Okay, so I'm putting two of his songs on here, but can you blame me? This is the Spanish version of his classic hit "I Need to Know", aka the catchiest ode to (possibly?) being friend zoned ever. If anything, it only gets catchier and more desperate in Spanish.
6. Fotografia by Juanes ft. Nelly Furtado
This is for all of you who are wishing there was more communication in your relationship, romantic or otherwise.
7. Quedate con Ella by Natalia Jimenez
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. In this fiery breakup track, Jimenez tells her man not to come back, or she will kill him and burn his possessions for good measure.
8. La Gozadera by Gente de Zona ft. Marc Anthony
A reggaton club jam calling for a celebration of Latino culture, language, and unity. The world needs more songs like these.