Being bilingual has many advantages and one of them is being able to listen to love songs in Spanish, sometimes called “corta venas” (literally means “to cut your veins”) because they are so heartfelt and talk about soul-crushing or anguished or unrequited love that well, makes you want to cut your veins.

I know if you don’t speak Spanish, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy, but the truth is, there are things you can say in Spanish that would just sound weird in English — remember when Buzzfeed translated “Burbujas de Amor” by Juan Luis Guerra? So yes, just like there are words that have no translation, there are songs that while we can translate the words, we probably shouldn’t. The Spanish language is a language that allows us to be more, shall we say, dramatic?

A perfect example is Quiero Morir en Tu Veneno by possibly the most romantic Spanish-language singer (in my humble opinion) Alejandro Sanz, the king of romance in Spanish. Quiero Morir en tu Veneno means literally “I want to die in your venom.” Imagine saying that to someone in English, you can’t, really. Or you can, but you shouldn’t because you will probably be seen as a lunatic. But when you say it in Spanish, it just works.

QUIERO MORIR EN TU VENENO (I WANT TO DIE IN YOUR VENOM) – ALEJANDRO SANZ

“El fuego en que me quemo, quiero morir en tu veneno, beberlo de tu piel, y mi piel.”
The fire that I’m burning in, I want to die in your venom, drink it from your skin, and my skin.

The Spanish language has been giving us heart-wrenching songs for generations, many that our parents surely listened to, equally heart-wrenching and poetic. Take boleros, for example. Written by song kings like Armando Manzanero, but made popular for younger generations by Luis Miguel with his Romances (3 volumes!)  their sentiments are simply impossible to translate properly into English. Example:

LA GLORIA ERES TU (YOU ARE THE GLORY) – LUIS MIGUEL

“Eres mi bien lo que me tiene extasiado, por que negar que estoy de tí enamorado de tu dulce alma que es toda sentimiento.”

You are my love what has me in ecstasy, why should I deny that I’m in love with you, of your sweet soul that is all feelings (emotions?… see can’t exactly capture it).

Are you convinced yet?

There are thousands of love songs in Spanish. Here are some songs that are oh-my-God, heart-wrenching, pour-your-heart-out amazing in Spanish… because it’s not a romance language for nothing.

TE LLORÉ UN RÍO (I CRIED YOU A RIVER) – MANÁ

“Te lloré todo un río, te lloré a reventar, no tienes corazón, no te vuelvo a amar, te lloré todo un río, ahora llórame un mar. “

I cried you a river, I cried you until I exploded, You don’t have a heart, I won’t love you again, I cried you a river, now cry me an ocean.

and because Mana is the Sh*t… here’s another one….

VIVIR SIN AIRE (TO LIVE WITHOUT AIR) – MANÁ

“Como quisiera poder vivir sin aire, como quisiera poder vivir sin agua, me encantaría quererte un poco menos, como quisiera poder vivir sin tí… pero no puedo siento que muero me estoy ahogando sin tu amor.”

How I would like to live without water, live without air, how I would love to love you a little less, How i would love to be able to live without you, but I can’t I feel like I’m suffocating without your love.

SI NO TE TENGO A TÍ (IF I DON’T HAVE YOU) – LOS HOMBRES G 

“Si yo no te tengo a ti, si no estás cerca de mi, si no me besas me abrazas que será de mí sin ti, si no te tengo a tí, para qué quiero vivir?”

If I don’t have you, if you’re not close to me, if you don’t kiss or hug me, what will be of me without you? If I don’t have you, why do I want to live?

EL AMOR DE MI VIDA (THE LOVE OF MY LIFE) – RICKY MARTIN 

“No podía ver la luz hasta que cerré mis ojos y desperté pensando en tí, a veces me parece que es toda una locura, como un sueno si sentido…”

I couldn’t see the light until I closed my eyes and I woke up thinking of you. Sometimes I feel like this is all a crazy dream, like a dream with no meaning…

INOLVIDABLE (UNFORGETTABLE) – LAURA PAUSINI

“A veces me pregunto si yo viviría igual sin ti, no sé si yo sabré olvidarte. Y en un instante puedo ver que tú eres cuanto yo soñé, inolvidable para mí.”

Sometimes I ask myself if I would live the same way without you, I don’t know if I will know how to forget you. And in an instant I can see that you are what I dreamed, unforgettable to me.

DE QUÉ ME SIRVE LA VIDA (WHAT IS LIFE WORTH) – CAMILA

“¿De qué me sirve la vida si no la vivo contigo?”

What is life worth if I don’t live it with you?

 LO DEJARÍA TODO (I’D LEAVE EVERYTHING) – CHAYANNE

“Porque sin tí me queda la consciencia helada y vacía, porque sin ti me he dado cuenta amor que no renaceré, porque sin ti he ido mas allá de la desolación, mi cuerpo mi mente y mi alma ya no tienen conexión, yo te juro que… lo dejaría todo por que te quedaras mi credo, mi pasado mi religion…” 

Because without you my conscience is cold and empty, because without you I realized that I will not be born again, because without you I have gone beyond desolation, my body my mind and my soul are no longer connected, I swear that I would leave everything for you to stay with me, my creed, my past, my religion…

 A PURO DOLOR (PURE PAIN) – SON BY FOUR

“Estoy muriendo, muriendo por verte, agonizando muy lento y muy fuerte. Vida, devuélveme mis fantasias, mis ganas de vivir la vidaDevuélveme el aire…Cariño mío  sin ti yo me siento vacío, las tardes son un laberinto  y las noches me saben, a puro dolor…”

I’m dying, dying to see you, agonizing slowly and intensely, [My] life, give me back my fantasies, my will to live, give me back the air, my love, without you I feel empty, the afternoons are a labyrinth and the nights feel like pure pain.

SI TU SUPIERAS (IF YOU KNEW) – ALEJANDRO FERNANDEZ

“Si tu supieras que tu recuerdo me acaricia como el viento, que el corazón se me ha quedado sin palabras para decirte lo grande que te quiero.  Si tu supieras como te ansía cada espacio de mi cuerpo, como palpitan tus recuerdos en el alma cuando se queda tu presencia aqui en mi pecho.” 

If you knew how your memory caresses me like the wind, that my heart doesn’t have any words left to tell you how much I love you.  If you knew how every part of my body desires you, how your memories beat in my heart when your presence is in my chest.

NO ME QUEDA MÁS (ALL THAT IS LEFT FOR ME TO DO) – SELENA

“No me queda más, que perderme en un abismo de tristeza y lagrimas.”

All that is left for me to do, is to lose myself in an abyss of sadness and tears.

Oldies but goodies… songs your parents probably love (and you should too… I mean, these lyrics – GOODNESS).

 

EL TRISTE (THE SAD ONE) – JOSÉ JOSÉ

For many (older generations), José José is considered the king of corta venas and it’s easy yo see why, check out these lyrics:

“Hoy quiero saborear mi dolor, No pido compasión ni piedad, la historia de este amor se escribió, para la eternidad.”

Today I want to taste my pain, I don’t ask for compassion or mercy, this love story was written for eternity.

 SI NO TE HUBIERAS IDO (IF YOU HADN’T LEFT) – MARCO ANTONIO SOLIS

“Te quiero más que nunca y no sé qué hacer; despierto y te recuerdo al amanecer, espero otro día por sin vivir sin tí…”

I love you more than ever and I don’t know what to do , I wake up and I remember you, I wait for another day to live without you.

HASTA QUE TE CONOCÍ (UNTIL I MET YOU) – JUAN GABRIEL 

“Yo jamás sufrí, yo jamás lloré, yo era muy feliz… pero te encontré.”

I never suffered, I never cried, I was very happy… but I found you. (OUCH)

ÓDIAME (HATE ME) – JULIO JARAMILLO*

“Ódiame por piedad yo te lo pido ódiame sin medida ni clemencia odio quiero más que indiferencia, por que le rencor hiere menos que el olvido.”

Have mercy, hate me I ask you, hate me without measure nor clemency, I want hate more than indifference, because anger hurts more than if you forget me.

*Performed by other artists as well

APIÁDATE DE MÍ (HAVE MERCY ON ME) – VICTOR MANUELLE

“Apiádate de mi no seas asi, cualquiera puede cometer, algún error algún desliz alguna vez.”

Have mercy on me, don’t be like this, anyone can can make a mistake sometime.

TU ME HACES FALTA (I MISS YOU)  EDDIE SANTIAGO

“Tú me haces falta  sin ti las noches son un fantasma son un castigo. Tú me haces falta  si tengo amores que sean contigo.”

I miss you without you the nights are ghostly, are a punishment I miss you, If I have love let it be with you.

MEDICINA DE AMOR (LOVE MEDICINE) – RAULIN RODRIGUEZ

“Medicina de amor quiero de tí, porque tu eres la mujer que me puede curar mi cáncer de amor.”

Love medicine is what I want from you, because you’re the woman who can cure my love cancer.

INTÉNTALO TU (YOU TRY IT) – JOE VERAS

“Inténtalo tu a ver si puedes sacarme de tu vida, a ver si logras olvidar todo mi amor, por que yo no puedo. Inténtalo tú porque yo sé que jamas podré olvidarte será difícil para mí acostumbrarme a vivir sin ti, ¿cómo te olvido?”

Try it, see if you can get me out of your life, if you’re successful at forgetting all my love, because I can’t. You try it, because I know I will never be able to forget you, it will be hard for me to get used to living without you, how do I forget you?

Bonus it’s not only Spanish-speaking singers who sing in Spanish… Jon Bon Jovi decided he wanted to sing in Spanish too, and so a long time ago, he did a few songs in Spanish. Check out  this song to the tune of “This Ain’t A Long Song.”

COMO YO NADIE TE HE AMADO (NO ONE HAS LOVED YOU LIKE I HAVE LOVED YOU)  JON BON JOVI

“Si mis lagrimas fueron en vano, si al final yo te ame demasiado, como yo como yo nadie te ha amado.”
If my tears were in vain, if in the end I loved you too much, No one has ever loved you like I have.

Talk to me! What is your ultimate corta vena song? Has anyone ever dedicated a love song to you?

Share in the comments or tweet us, @dlgmedianyc or @dianalimongi

CREDIT GIF HEADER: GIPHY