The Best Songs to Learn Spanish With

So, you want to learn Spanish, do you? You could sit down with a dull-as-ditchwater text book or trudge to night college classes once a week, I guess.

Hey, I’ve got a better idea for you. Why not play these fantastic Spanish songs? You could learn while you tap your feet and move those hips? Yeah, that ought to be fun.

Gipsy Kings – Hotel California

The Best Songs to Learn Spanish With

If you have never listened to the Gipsy Kings’ music then there is a massive gaping hole in your life right there. These guys were actually born in France but they are from Spanish gypsy families and sing in Spanish. This is one of their most famous songs. Maybe you heard it in a film about a dude once. Parts are in English and parts are in Spanish with the lyrics translated pretty much directly from the original song by The Eagles.

Jose Luis Perales – ¿Y Como Es El?

Learn Spanish through Songs

I am sure that you had heard of the Gipsy Kings before. But, who in the heck is Jose Luis Perales? He is a singer from Spain who has just about the clearest singing voice you could imagine. You’ll pick up every single word as he tells you all about the bad luck he always seems to suffer in his love life.

Eros Ramazzotti – Cosas de la Vida

Songs and Learning Spanish

Here’s a great tip for you if you want to find the best songs to learn Spanish with: find singers who don’t speak Spanish as a first language. Now, you might want to give Nat King Cole’s slightly tortured version of Quizás, Quizás, Quizás a try. Personally, I would go with this Italian top song. The hard rocking guitar is fantastic in this one and there is even a version with Tina Turner crooning along in English too, if you like that kind of thing.

Joaquín Sabina – Y Sin Embargo

Spanish Songs to Learn From

If you want clever lyrics and memorable turns of phrase then Joaquín is your man. This guy writes brilliant lyrics and has some songs that are completely unmissable for anyone learning the language. His use of complex wordplay means that this isn’t for beginners. Once you feel confident, he’ll have you singing along happily.

Marcelo Morelo – La Fuerza del Engaño

Learn Spanish through Songs

There are a lot of brilliant Argentine songs to learn Spanish with. Fito Paez bashes his piano like a maniac, Leo Dan sings amazingly clear, and Andrés Calamaro is so cool you could chill a beer on his head on a balmy day in Buenos Aires. However, if you want some classy native instrumentation then this lady has some great songs with panpipes, charangos and other instruments you may have never heard before. Best of all, her songs sounds like modern, top class pop and rock efforts.

Gloria Estefan – Hoy

Songs and Spanish

Gloria has a wonderful voice when she sings in English. She sounds even better in Spanish. Hoy was actually written about the beauty about Peru, by a Peruvian writer (which is why the video is filmed in Machu Picchu). However, Gloria gives it a new breathe of life and her version of it will have you looking up some new words in order to better understand this glorious song. There’s an English version of this song called Wrapped. The Spanish version is much more interesting in my opinion.

The 5 Most Depressing Songs Ever

Are you happy? Do you smile all the time? Optimism and generosity are your middle names? Well maybe you should listen to some depressing music for a change. It’s summer, it’s hot, and it’s way too sunny. Here are the 5 most depressing songs ever. Take a look at these people and consider yourself lucky for a change. Or, you could even join in all of “the fun.”

# 5. Gloomy Sunday – Billie Holiday

The 5 Most Depressing Songs Ever

This song is also known as the ‘Hungarian Suicide Song’. Gloomy Sunday was written by a Hungarian composer called Rezso Seress while he was living in Paris in 1932. It has reportedly led to a suicide phenomenon, especially in Hungary. People would jump into the Danube carrying the sheet music. Afterwards it was banned from public performances.

The most popular version of the song belongs to Billie Holiday, and it dates back to 1941: “Angels have no thought of ever returning you. Would they be angry if I thought of joining you?”  It was translated into Russian, French and Japanese. I bet the latter version sounds interesting…

# 4. Vincent/ Starry Starry Night – Don McLean

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Don McLean wrote this song as well as its lyrics as a tribute to the famous Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh. Its title is a reference to Van Gogh’s famous painting The Starry Night. McLean pays tribute to Van Gogh throughout the whole song by mentioning his best known creations. He also reflects upon his lack of recognition: “They would not listen / they did not know how / perhaps they’ll listen now.” In the final chorus, McLean says “They would not listen / they’re not listening still / perhaps they never will.” This is the true story of Van Gogh’s life: unrecognized as an artist and treated like a weirdo until after his death.

# 3. Everybody knows – Leonard Cohen

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Everybody Knows was first released on Cohen’s album I’m Your Man, February 1988. Featuring phrases such as “Everybody knows that the dice are loaded” and “Everybody knows that the good guys lost,” the song absolutely bursts with pessimism delivered in Cohen’s cynical manner. According to critics, it’s a “bleak prophecy about the end of the world as we know it.” Here’s a small sample: And everybody knows that you’re in trouble / Everybody knows what you’ve been through / From the bloody cross on top of Calvary / To the beach of Malibu  / Everybody knows it’s coming apart / Take one last look at this Sacred Heart / Before it blows / And everybody knows.”

# 2. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley Version

 

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This song actually belongs to Leonard Cohen as well. But, I find this particular version more depressing than the original. Well the guy who sings it passed away in 1997. When I hear him sing this particular song, I really just want to cry. The lyrics are incredible. Cohen’s writing skills again! Maybe there’s a God above / But all I’ve ever learned from love / Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you / It’s not a cry you can hear at night / It’s not somebody who has seen the light / It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.”

# 1. She’s Lost Control – Joy Division

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This one has a different story. The title of the song was referred to in the film biopic of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, which was entitled Control. This song is actually about a young woman having an epileptic fit. It refers to how desperate and powerless she feels during her seizure. Curtis himself suffered from this terrible illness and lived with the fear of the attacks. She’s Lost Control is a dark and trance-like song. It certainly reflects the way Curtis himself felt about epilepsy. Well I had to phone her friend to state my case, / And say she’s lost control again. / And she showed up all the errors and mistakes, / And said I’ve lost control again. / But she expressed herself in many different ways, / Until she lost control again. / And walked upon the edge of no escape, / And laughed I’ve lost control. / She’s lost control again. / She’s lost control. / She’s lost control again. / She’s lost control.

Feeling better? No? Now that the list is complete, it’s time to go out and enjoy that beautiful sunlight. Smile once in awhile!

5 Excellent Examples of Intellectual Hip-Hop

The closest I’ve come to hip-hop was two-years ago when I heard some tasteless beats about having your way with women and winning as much money as possible. Little did I know that hip hop can be an excellent form of artistic expression. I changed my mind about it when I first heard Macklemore sing. Since then I started listening to Grieves, Atmosphere and many more.

Once you go beyond what the masses listen to, you will discover some subtle variations of the hip hop genre that will definitely move you and send out  a powerful message. There are a select few artists that have managed to create absolutely brilliant intellectual hip-hop. Let’s take a look at their best songs and videos.

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1. Atmosphere – Guarantees

But I don’t wan’t to go home yet, so I’m gonna talk to my cigarette and that television set / It doesn’t matter what brand or station, anything to take away from the current situation.”

People don’t require tragedies to be broken down. Sometimes, the struggles of every day life are more than enough to make them feel overwhelmed. In “Guarantees”, and through these lyrics, Atmosphere directly expresses the state of his life. He concludes with the only guarantee in life / is a life worth dying for. These two lyrics have been interpreted time and time again. Some said that they refer to his son, while other believe that it is only a depiction of his state of mind.

Video: Atmosphere – Guarantees

2. Grieves – Lightspeed

“Mom was a religion and happiness was a fact / It’s a shame how the time goes past / Movin’ so fast / It’s like I’m movin’ at light speed / Slow down.” 

When I was young, happiness was a fact for me. As I grew older, the struggles of life made my childhood feel like a distant and blissful past. This is probably also the reason why the song from Grieves, Lightspeed, touched me. The song is a recollection of memories, and an encouragement to see the beauty in all things. 

Video:Grieves – Lightspeed

3. Astronautalis – Contrails

‘ Lionel Terray said it the truest, I set it to music / We’re all Conquistadores of the Useless.”

Austronautalis is one of the deepest intellectual hip-hop bands out there. In this song they talk about the tale of a deceiving duo who pretend to be disabled in order to take advantage of generous souls of one city, before moving to another. The idea of the lyrics may sound improbable, but the way that the story is woven is brilliant.

Video: Austronautalis – Contrails

4. Sage Francis – The Best Times

‘ Don’t listen when they tell you that these are your best years / Don’t let anyone protect your tears / It’s best that you hear what they don’t want you to hear / It’s better to have pressure from peers than not have peers.”

Is there any need to comment on this superb song? The lyrics above already speak for themselves. “The Best Times” from Sage Francis is basically a lyrical memoir, and a home-run for the artist. He managed to deal with his childhood and re-tell his experiences while also reflecting on them. The message is also optimistic, because he tells future generations that it can only get better as you grow older, and they should never give up.

Video: Sage Francis – The Best of Times

5. Eyedea & Abilities – Smile

” I can only build if I tear the walls down / even if it breaks me I won’t let it make me frown / I’m falling but no matter how hard I hit the ground / I’ll still smile.’

Eyedea has passed on, but this music will live on forever. “Smile” is a superb example of compassion and optimism. The artists show that no matter how thick the walls are, or how much it will hurt to take them down, it is all worth it in the end. Whatever you do, you have to smile.

Video: Eyedea & Abilities – Smile

Eight Iconic Guitars we all Dream of Having

Clearly looks aren’t everything when it comes to a guitar and sound is surely more important than how a guitar is varnished and designed, there is merit to a guitar that both sounds heavenly and looks like a million bucks. This is because a guitar has an impact that will surely go beyond the fine tuning of your ears- when you look at a rock artist performing on stage and he is holding a stunning Fender in his hand, you’ll clearly be impressed. On this note, we decided to bring you 8 of the most beautiful guitars to have ever been played on stage. Decide which is your favorite or let us know if we left something out!

1. EET FUK ESP Explorer- James Hetfield

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Metallica’s own James Hetfield has indeed used several guitars throughout his career and many of them have been Explorers, but this model stands out precisely because of the nonsensical writing that have remained without an explanation-EET FUK.

2. Cloud- Prince

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Featured in Prince’s hit song “Purple Rain”, this guitar is a symbol of sheer beauty and grace: it was originally custom built by David Rusan in 1983 and while some may say that his signature guitar may have been better, there is nothing more beautiful than the Cloud.

3. “Axe” Bass- Gene Simmons

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A bass guitar is still technically a guitar and there was no way that this symbol wouldn’t have made the top of our list. Kiss have always been a band that should be seen and not necessarily heard at home. And in accordance with this image, Gene Simmons had a bass guitar made to look like an axe.

4. Red Special- Brian May

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Great bands deserve recognition and where would Queen have been (or better said, where would we have been without Queen?) had Brian May not had his one-of-a-kind guitars? Well the Red Special was designed and built by Brian May together with his father and its particularity is that it’s actually a semi-acoustic guitar (pieces are kept together in a weird fashion and the hardware is also wired oddly).

5. FrankenStrat- Eddie Van Halen

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This wouldn’t have been a serious top ten without a Van Halen guitar and the Frankenstrat is simply the best option- a Gibson with the body of a Fender Strat, his Fenderstrat was built by Van Halen himself (and also given the unique finish we know today). Replicas have of course been released over the years but there is only one original out there.

6. Monterey Fender Stratocaster- Jimmy Hendrix

iconic guitars

Another world-class guitarist that has shown us all how music is supposed to sound like, Jimmy decided to give us yet another unique moment when he decided to set his Fender Strat on fire at the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967. And it gave us one of the most memorable moments in rock history.

7. Jaydee SG- Angus Young

iconic guitars

This guitar custom made by Jaydee Custom Guitars was played by AC/DC’s guitarist after it had received an important add-on: the lightning bolt inlays on the neck of the guitar. Granted, Angus could play the hell out of any guitar he would hold, but this is an absolutely breathtaking guitar.

8. Gibson Les-Paul Standard- Jimmy Page

iconic guitars

We’ve already talked about custom Gibson guitars but Led Zeppelin’s guitarist Jimmy Page did have an astonishing collection of guitars. Out of the many items he did have, his standard Gibson with the sunburst finish and the simple yet tasteful feel makes it on our list of exceptional guitars not just because of the music that was played on it, but because we simply can’t picture Page without it.

This was our countdown for the most iconic guitars. We hope you enjoyed it!

5 Awesome Dancing Songs for Kids

Since we’re all on vacation more or less, and definitely fun is the main thing on our minds during the summer, let’s take a moment to get enthusiastic about dancing. Having a mini disco in your back yard or your living room is – and I’m firmly convinced of it – one of the greatest and most fun ways to spend your time with friends, which the world has wrongly forgotten about. Besides making a case for the return of the disco or dancing session as a casual source of fun, this post will also bring to your attention 5 great dancing songs for kids, which can be totally used for grown-ups as well.

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Since dancing in such a relaxed and casual manner as inviting a few friends over is obviously more about goofing around than about actually dancing with expert moves and skills, why not also employ some children’s songs in the process? It might be much more fun than you expect, even if you don’t have any young guests around. Sure, hosting a Game of Thrones drinking game is an equally legit source of fun, but maybe giving a chance to a few dancing songs for kids will spark up a refreshing change.

Therefore, without further ado – here goes.

1. Veo veo – Spanish kids’ song

We didn’t plan this article as a top and all the dancing songs for kids presented here are mentioned in a random order, but still, if I had to choose an all-time favorite, this would have to be it. It’s in Spanish and thus makes a nice variation to all the English songs out there, it’s very cheerful and light and you can’t help but giggle each time you listen to it. You can listen to it here.

2. The Hamster Song

If you already feel like bursting into laughter, you have every reason to do so. Originally developed by the Wii franchise, the Hamster Song is one of the most awesome dancing songs for kids ever developed. What’s disarmingly fun about it is the fact that it’s not so much a song, as it is a slightly melodious pile of babbling. Once you get over your initial surprise or sense of ridicule, it can become addictive and turn the whole atmosphere into an overwhelmingly fun place to fool around and jump up and down. You can listen to it here.

3. Lambada

Ok, so this one was never really a song specifically designed for children, but it’s one of the songs which I associate the most with my own childhood. When I was 3 or 4, which was about 25 years ago, I used to dance my socks off on this song, to the delight and general laughter of the grown-ups around me at the time. Interacting with small children now, I noticed how much they like the song as well – it’s so melodious and fun and hummable that it definitely deserves a place in the list of awesome dancing songs for kids. You can find it here.

4. Kaczuszki (or the Duckling Song)

This song is major hit with kids all over Eastern Europe: each country has its own cover of it and kids generally seem to go crazy about it whenever it comes up on shuffle at a mini disco. This one here is the Polish version and it’s one of the best, but if the tune gets you dancing, try listening to its other versions as well. You can listen to it here. P.S: The song sounds impossibly fun even without understanding the lyrics, but to have some major laughs try using Google Translate for the lyrics.

5. Ram Zam Zam

Oh, this last one sounds so funny that if you still have a bit of life left in you, you won’t be able to help dancing on it as soon as it starts! It’s in German, but the lyrics are so goofy and silly that there isn’t really anything to understand about it, so don’t worry about not getting it. You can listen to it here.

Hopefully you’re already convinced of the surprisingly fun potential for grown-ups which dancing songs for kids hold. Charge up your batteries and have all the dancing fun and the chocolate shakes you can muster!