Opinion: Don’t discount music abroad


Contact Madeleine at [email protected].

Madeleine Winer

Tired of hearing the same songs on the radio? I know within the last week, I’ve heard Taylor Swift’s catchy pop tune “Shake it Off” one too many times. While I do like T-Swift, too much of Taylor can be a bad thing. For those of you who feel the same way about many of the cookie-cutter songs streaming now on American radio, I have a solution for you — go international. 

Expand your music library beyond the American iTunes Top 10 list. If you go toward the bottom left-hand corner of your iTunes store homepage, you’ll most likely see an American flag. Click on it, and it allows you to click on the country whose music you want to explore. It’s always interesting to compare the chart toppers in Ireland to those in China, for example. A strong presence of American artists usually exist alongside each country’s own musicians. 

Studying abroad in Spain my sophomore year sparked my interest in international music. In one of my Spanish classes there, the class had three American students and four French students being taught by a Spanish professor. While the class always struggled to create an understanding of Spanish terms across the three cultures, the music our teacher introduced us to brought our class together and was an enjoyable element of the arduous class. The French students also shared the music and French artists they listen to, which helped me grow my international playlist.

I now use my collection of canciones españolas (Spanish music) to broaden my vocabulary in the language. I have explored other countries’ music as well and enjoy picking up words from other languages, too. For example, I landed on Qatar’s iTunes top 10 list yesterday and have been listening to the R&B stylings of Remy Gamal, an Egyptian composer and singer.

With the world becoming increasingly more global, your taste in music should, too. Click play on the song titles you don’t understand and find out what they mean. But more importantly, enjoy the sounds of another country and transport yourself around the globe through your earbuds.