Someone pointed out to me that Austria’s lyrics aren’t very sophisticated when translated into English. I told her that is why the songs were written in Spanish; it sounds and reads a whole lot better in the native tongue. This individual, who was trying to poke holes in Austria’s artistic reputation, then came back with, “but if you don’t speak Spanish, you won’t like the song because you don’t know what they’re saying!”
I took my time formulating my answer, trying really hard not to make this person sound like a fool. “What about La Bamba?” I asked slowly.
“Isn’t that song in English?” The individual asked.
I told her it was in Spanish, but not to take my word for it and check out the recordings herself. (I don’t know if she ever did, but she never brought up the subject again.)
The exchange does bring up a good question: Do non-Spanish speaking music fans listen to music in Spanish? The answer is yes. I believe The Latin Alternative is geared for people who like music in Spanish, but don’t necessarily speak it. NPR’s Alt.Latino might reach out to non-Spanish speakers, as well.
So how does this affect Austria? It doesn’t, really. Many people focus on the melody and the beat when listening to a song (La Bamba), and the lyrics can almost be secondary; but here’s a secret: I spoke to two people whose native language is Spanish and are both in the music business and they both say the same thing – the lyrics are really, really good.
Should you be a non-Spanish speaker and then learn the language and then read Austria’s lyrics, rest assured, you will be impressed by not only what they say, but how they say it.
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