It’s no secret that music is a great language-learning tool. This is particularly true when it comes to Spanish, as so much great music has emerged from throughout the Spanish-speaking world.
However, when students ask around for Spanish-speaking artists to check out, many of the same recommendations get trotted out again and again. And though there’s nothing wrong with a Shakira, a Marc Anthony or even Spanish-language reggae music, they’re just not what every Spanish learner is looking for.
So… that’s where we come in! This short article comprises a laundry list of landmark alternative albums from across the Spanish-speaking world. If you’re just getting your feet wet, a lot of this Spanish alternative music will be new to you. However, even if you’ve spent some time exploring the world of Spanish alternative music already, you should still find a few treats here that you haven’t heard before!
Finally, before we begin, have you considered reading to improve your Spanish as well? If not, maybe it would be a good idea to start with some Spanish short stories?
Now, without further ado, here’s our carefully curated compilation of Spanish alternative music albums:
Spanish Alternative Music Albums
Soda Stereo–Dynamo (1992)
Though perhaps including Soda Stereo–the first Latin American rock band to become bona fide international superstars–pushes the “alternative” label a bit far, the fact of the matter is that this album wears its surprisingly out-of-left-field influences on its sleeve. For as much as bandleader Gustavo Cerati grew up with mainstream rock bands such as the Beatles and the Police, he was also a vocal fan of international alternative acts such as Stereolab and an integral supporter of the Buenos Aires alternative music scene.
Especially coming off the mainstream hit (and decidedly classic rock-flavored) Canción animal, 1992’s Dynamo was a shock. Most of its songs demonstrate a clear shoegaze influence, while others such as “Sweet sahumerio” feature a distinct trance flair. Name-droppers often call it “Latin America’s Loveless,” but such shorthand descriptors dismiss how unique this Spanish alternative music landmark truly is.
A commercial flop–at least compared to the massive success of its harder-rocking and frankly more generic predecessor–Dynamo is the kind of record that tends to get ignored by more casual fans and obsessed over by the most passionate. If you’re the kind of music listener that prefers In Utero to Nevermind or Darkness on the Edge of Town to Born to Run, this is the Soda Stereo album that you need to check out. Simply put, this is Spanish alternative music at its finest.