With midterms on midterms on midterms upon us, choosing the right study music is crucial. Sometimes the best music for takin’ care of business, believe it or not, is in a language you might not understand. This way, you can jam to the beats without allowing the lyrics to take you on five-minute daydreams to musings of your yesteryear. Here are some awesome songs in languages you may not understand!
Afrikaans: Die Antwoord means “the answer” in Afrikaans and is a rave-rap group hailing from South Africa. Apparently, Lady Gaga was interested in collaborating with them, and they responded with a song entitled, “Fatty Boom Boom.” Using basic deductive reasoning skills and this line from the fourth verse which says, “Suddenly you’re interested cause we’re blowing up over seas, making money, money, money yes, yes, yes zef side represent you’re f**ckin’ with the best,” you can guess that they’re weren’t so down to collaborate. The lyrics aren’t so nice, but hey, it’s catchy. This song is mostly in English, with some Afrikaans scattered here and there.
French: “Elle me dit,” by Mika, which translates to “She tells me,” may be better for a mini study (dance) break, but it’s still 100 percent worth jamming to. Basically Mika talks about this girl who asks him questions like, “Why are you wasting your life doing things you don’t want to do?” and then tells him to, “DANSE DANSE DANSE.” The music video is also great (watch it, watch it, watch it). Definitely a great source of stress relief.
Haitian: “Biyografi Mwen” by Wanito The song made a huge splash in Haiti because of Wanito’s extremely honest approach to songwriting. He talks about growing up as a child out of wedlock, as what Haitians call a “petit deyo,” and what it was like growing up in immense poverty in Haiti, two things that musicians in Haiti had seldom discussed prior. My favorite part is definitely at 2:38 when he says, “M’ krase sa a,” which loosely translates in English to, “I’m killin’ it left and right.” Wanito’s music is great for helping you get into the zone.
Hebrew: “Mi’Ma’Amakim” by the Idan Raichel project, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful songs ever, with or without the lyrics. The song, meaning, “Out of the Depths,” talks about this other-worldly connection that the singer can feel from the “deepest depths” of his soul. I feel borderline ridiculous for having typed that, but trust me, this song is truly a gem. The Idan Raichel Project takes hints of traditional Hebrew, Moroccan and Middle Eastern music and combines them effortlessly with electronic beats.
Spanish: If you’re in the mood some Spanish music, Los Claxons is absolutely perfect for studying … or for really doing anything. I dare you to listen to, “Ahi Estare,” which means, “There I will be,” without cracking a least one smile. Heck, I don’t even know what they’re saying. Take that, Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Vonlenska?!: If organized languages are too mainstream for you, give Signur Rós a try. This Icelandic band dabbles in its own language, called, Hopelandic (or Vonlenska in Icelandic, which has no real semantic meaning) in some of its music. Check out this calming, ethereal piece called, “Untitled I,” which I’m guessing translates loosely into, “Untitled I.”