Guest Post: 4 Artists Successful Language Learners Listen To

Today's guest post comes from Alice Morell, all the way from the Big Apple. She writes all about the world of music over at, and you can also find her on Twitter. Alice has been investigating the best bands for learning another language and today she'll help out with her tips on

  • the most romantic French band
  • a hot and famous Colombian artist for Spanish learning
  • Germany's liveliest pop group
  • learning English with classic rock passion

Over to Alice!

img © contactmusic, idol, puremusic

img © contactmusic, idol, puremusic

Communication with Bon Jovi: Because we can!

We all know that music is a wonderful way of absorbing life’s lessons, and since elementary school we’ve used it to learn the very foundations of foreign languages.  Long before we could read or write, we were singing, often incorporating words into our language that we didn’t know the meaning of, but we could belt them out with ease! 

Alphabet songs are nearly universal, existing in almost every language, and there’s no coincidence there, music is simply an excellent way to learn language!  Music’s rhythm and harmony allows the sounds and cadence of a language to sink in to our long-term memory, and singing along helps our lips and tongue adjust to forming the sounds that are the foundation of that language.  The fact that singing has recently been shown to be excellent for our health is just a bonus!


In this article we’re going to introduce a few songs that we can use to build on your command of foreign languages, and we’ll start with the phenomenal Indochine. French bands don’t get as much play on the global arena as they probably deserve, and Indochine is one of those bands that really jumps out when you first hear them.  They’re somewhat reminiscent of the rock bands from the 80’s and 90’s, without the driving force of the heavy guitar.  They perhaps more in common with Bob Seger than they do Metallica, but with their catchy songs and easy to understand lyrics, they’re a great tool in learning how to speak French.

The French have always been known as being the masters of the language of Romance, and Indochine is no different.  Such is the case in this next song, where a lover calls out to the man in the moon, wanting to know why he suffers so, and why his love has left him alone in the end.   Sometimes we know the nature of a given thing, and he certainly did—they both agreed it was an adventure, just a torrid affair, but in the end it became much more… To him at least.   The song “J'ai demandé à la lune” speaks of the pain of lost love, and the descent into a sort of lunatic madness.   All we can do is demand of the world, of anyone who listens, to know why our pain is such as it is, why there seems to be no respite.  Perhaps, if there is someone you desire to win back more than anything, you can try winning them back with this song in the language of Romance!


But French is not the only beautiful Latin language. Of the Spanish speaking performers in the world, there are few who so embody the heart of their language as does Shakira.

This Columbian born beauty entered the world on February 2, 1977 as an only child.  Her desire to perform came early in life, starting with an encounter with a doumbek in a Middle Eastern restaurant.  At that moment she took to the table and started dancing, and the dream of performing professionally was born in her.  She followed it faithfully through her life, though not without some stumbles, and it took her until nearly 1995 to successfully enter the Latin market professionally. Then, in 2001, she exploded onto the world scene.

Shakira is the mistress of more than one language, and she is known for her vibrant and energetic body movements as well as the sheer fire she puts behind her lyrics. The song La Tortura shows that the right woman can get into your head and never leave, even if you failed to keep her by your side.  From that moment, you’ll forever be on the outside, remembering the past with a hunger that overrides every thought of the present with a deep longing for the past. Singing along with this will help bring out the passion in you, and kindle a smoking fire of memory about the hungers of times gone by.

Wir Sind Helden

What if Latin is not your thing? How about Deutsch? There’s a little known fact about the German language, and that’s how close America was to speaking it as the primary language.  When the vote went down to determine what the ‘official language’ of America was going to be, we were one vote away from greeting people with “Guten Tag!” instead of hello. 

The members of Wir sind Helden are incredibly passionate about life, and more importantly living it.  It’s almost as if this next song was a call out to all of the who keep vacillating between action and inaction, tormented by their emotions and unrequited love.  “Alles” is a song that talks about embracing your life, and truly living it.  Stop whining and complaining about the situations you live bound by, and do something about it.  Get up and live your life, because in this uncertain world everything is allowed, and everything is believed, and everything’s forgiven, and everything’s in vain.

 Wir sind Helden is an amazing band that speaks of some of the fundamental absurdities of being human.   We want so much, we strive for so much, but we stand in the corner not telling people we love them.  We wait for others to fall in love with us rather than reaching out and loving others, and we hide in our corners afraid of what will happen.   So what’s stopping you from reaching your dream of learning German?  With Wir sind Helden to guide you through learning the language with its beautiful upbeat songs, not a thing!  

Bon Jovi

And what about those of you who might be wanting to take your English to the next level? We’re going to end our little trip with a ramble through through the wild west of 80’s rock and the only peace a wandering a vagabond may ever know.  In this ballad, none other than the legendary Bon Jovi belts out his love for a woman who is the only reason he ever decided to set his boots by the door. During this one quiet moment, he takes the opportunity to tell her he’d stop his wandering ways, and lay her down on a Bed of Roses, if only just to stay right where he is forever.

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