Many may think that the myth of the “Latin Lover” is nothing but that, a myth. But if you’re familiar with the immense legacy of romantic ballads in the Spanish language, you may start to believe that Latinos know a thing or two about what romance is all about. Picking our Top 10 Romantic Songs for this Valentine’s Day proved to be a monumental task, given the enormous body of work of so many artists from every corner of the Spanish music genre. A few months ago we wrote a compilation of the “15 Romantic Spanish Songs for This Wedding Season” and that compilation didn’t even scratch the surface of all the romance Spanish music has to offer. This list, as well, is only a small sample of more current romantic ballads of the last 15 or 20 years– and in this one we’re not even mentioning Spanish ballad legends such as Luis Miguel, Julio Iglesias, José José, Miguel Gallardo, Camilo Sesto, Ricardo Montaner and José Luis Rodríguez. So we leave you here with Alma Latina’s Top 10 Most Romantic Songs in the Spanish Language…a compilation which could’ve easily become the Top 100 or even more, such is the vast sea of choices of our wonderful Spanish-language artists. If you are a Latino, you may agree. If you’re not, you’ll be sure to impress your significant other by playing any (or all) of this songs to him/her. Enjoy your Día de San Valentín!
1) Even though this is an Armando Manzanero original, “Adoro” was just given the special Spanish crooner David Bisbal treatment with that incredible voice of his, performing it here during his “Una Noche En El Teatro Real” acoustic tour in Madrid, Spain in 2011.
2) Not only is Chayanne the ultimate artist (having literally grown up in the music industry, as he started his career as a child with the popular Puerto Rico group “Los Chicos”), but he’s also an incredible dancer, a superb human being with such charisma and a positive outlook that there’s really no one in the music industry who doesn’t love this guy to pieces. But Chayanne has a special place in all of our hearts as his romantic melodies have been some of the greatest throughout his long and prolific (and very successful) music career. These two songs (we couldn’t give you just one) are only a couple of many, many great songs this great artist has blessed us with during his decades-long career: “Me Enamore De Ti” and “Atado a Tu Amor”.
3) With only 3 albums under his belt, Spanish multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter Pablo Alborán is slowly but surely carving a place in the Spanish music industry as one of the best balladeers with some of the most beautiful lyrics in his songs. “Solamente Tú” and a the crowd favourite “Por Fin” are easily becoming two “Greatest Hits” in the Spanish pop music genre.
4) Colombian superstar Shakira, one of the handful crossover success stories, is immensely well-known both in the Spanish and English music industry, with millions of followers of her interesting and original creations– added to her sensual dance moves and unique vocal abilities. But Shakira has been a favourite amongs Spanish-speaking music fans largely due to her beautiful Spanish ballads. “Tú” and “Día de Enero” are just two of many of her Spanish-language classics.
5) Shakira’s fellow Colombian artist (another Colombian superstar, really) Juanes, may be better known for his rock-infused cumbias, but his romantic music is just as powerful and influential. Juanes, who hasn’t fully crossed over into the English market, is little by little becoming widely known within North American music fans. “Nada Valgo sin tu Amor” and “Para Tu Amor” are a couple of Spanish-language classic ballads that any Juanes (or soon-to-be) fan should have in their repertoire. His dashing good looks make watching the videos (as opposed to just listening to the tracks) all that more appealing.
6) Dashing good looks is also something that can be said about Miami-based (of Cuban ancestry) Jencarlos Canela. Add to that his impeccable vocals, acting abilities and piano-playing prowess and you’ve got a winning combo. Canela is most definitely the whole package. And once again watching the video while listening to the beautiful lyrics of “Amor Quédate” is just an added bonus for Valentine’s Day– or for any day of the week, for that matter.
7) Ricky Martin, just like Chayanne, has basically grown up in the spotlight, having been a member of the other mega boy band of the 80s and 90s, Menudo. Unlike Chayanne however, who never quite crossed over into the English market, Ricky literally exploded unto the English scene and became an overnight sensation, Living la Vida Loca for a few years before settling into being one of the better known Spanish language artists all over the world, mostly through his sizzling dance moves and his sensual and danceable tunes. But to us Latinos, Ricky was (and forever will be) first and foremost one of the romantic ballad go-to guys, and Fuego de Noche, Nieve de Día is one of many of his romantic classics. The video for it, by the way, features Kate del Castillo, who’s been all over the news lately as El Chapo’s celebrity obsession.
8) Plain and simple, Gloria Estefan is a music icon, in both Spanish and English markets. Gloria (and husband Emilio) can do it all: all genres, all types of music, both languages– whatever your preference, the woman can do. And when it comes to Spanish romantic tunes, there’s really only a few who can even come close to being like her. Many of her ballads have become classics with their beautiful lyrics, her soft and melodious voice and the beauty of her videos. And “Con los Años que me Quedan” is just one of her most romantic songs of the many, many she has blessed us loyal fans with over the years.
9) This beautiful (and oh, so romantic) duet, “Tan Solo Tú”, features two of the Hispanic music industry’s greats: Venezuelan music legend Franco de Vita and Spanish songstress Natalia Jimenez (formerly of La Quinta Estación). Two powerful voices coming together in such a delightful and alluring song.
10) Draco Rosa’s career should be much, much bigger than it is. By now he should be a music legend, had he not spent the better part of the last few years fighting cancer. But God in his great mercy has allowed him (and us, his faithful and grateful fans) to see him conquer the disease and concentrate on doing what he does so masterfully: writing incredible songs like “Esto es Vida”, which features another giant of the Spanish music industry, Juan Luis Guerra.
11) Bonus Track: Spanish Singer/songwriter Alex Ubago joined forces with Colombian lyricist Jorge Villamizar (Bacilos lead singer) and successful Cuban multi-instrumentalist soloist Lena Burke to release their 2010 album “Alex, Jorge y Lena”, of which “Estar Contigo” was the first single. The album brought the three stars together to sing about love and relationships and it proved a successful formula that led to a Latin Grammy nomination. The song itself has stood the test of time and is still one of the most romantic songs ever written in the Spanish language.