Spain is a country rich in culture, and its music is loved and adored by people all across the globe. What makes Spanish music especially unique is its use of the flamenco style usually played by the classical guitar.
Accordions and Cajons are often used, and Spanish music commonly makes use of open chords in the E minor key played in the Andalusian cadence. However, it is not limited to just that, as Spanish music has a wide range of wonderful styles.
Let’s take a look at 10 of the saddest Spanish songs!
1. Amor Eterno – Juan Gabriel
“Amor Eterno” translates to “Love, Eternal” and this is a typical Spanish song about love. It has a minor progression to set the sad tone of the song. It is a powerful love song where Juan sings about his love who had passed away. He sings about how he wishes her eyes never closed and how he wishes he had a few moments extra with her.
Heartbreakingly, he details how he’s filled with melancholy now that he’s all alone. She was his only love and he will love no one else but her for eternity and wait for his death to reunite with her. It is a touching and powerful song that is sealed in with his voice that conveys genuine sadness.
2. Té Para Tres – Soda Stereo
The song starts with a beautiful acoustic fingerstyle followed by a nice violin segment along with drums. The intro sounds absolutely beautiful. Written by Gustavo Cerati, this song is about a very dark moment in his life
He, his mother, and her husband found out about his stepdad suffering from cancer. It is a blues-styled song more so than classical Spanish, which I personally think suits the theme of the song better. It deserves its spot as one of the saddest Spanish songs.
3. Ojalá – Silvio Rodríguez
A beautiful fingerstyle in the harmonic minor starts off this somber song. It’s a track all about heartbreak. Here, Silvio laments about a girl that can’t be his. He is hurt by the girl, he wants to forget her but he can’t, he hates her but he loves her at the same time, it’s a frustrating feeling.
He wishes for death so that he doesn’t see her, he wishes for her to be erased from existence and his memories so he can’t be hurt anymore. It’s a very dark song but hauntingly beautiful in its way.
4. El Triste – José José
This one is a rather more upbeat and more rhythmic song. It is a song about parting ways with your significant other. He doesn’t know what to do in his life anymore, everything seems so empty, he explains how he had to say goodbye when they were the closest.
After that, everything seems to be hollow and bland. He says that people call him the sad one because he’d always lament about her. With lyrics like that, it’s a must for my list of saddest Spanish songs.
5. Alfonsina y el Mar – Mercedes Sosa
A somber classical guitar echoes in the background of a sad and powerful song. You don’t even need to understand the lyrics to be touched by this song. This song was written as a tribute to a poet named Alfonsina who killed herself at sea. A very dark theme.
The song delves into how much she must’ve suffered to kill herself. She had gone under chemotherapy and was fighting for women’s rights, unable to handle all the physical and mental pain, she went to the sea to end it all.
6. El reloj cucú – Maná
A lightly played cajón and a ukulele set the tone of this soft song. The male and female voices compliment each other very well. This song is about the artist’s dead father, making it easily one of the saddest Spanish songs.
They reminisce about how their father kissed them goodnight as the cuckoo-clock ringed. Now, the cuckoo-clock rings but there is no papa. Their mother cries at night in silence in his memory.
7. Mi viejo – Vicente Fernandez
This has the typical tango rhythm to it. This song is an endearment to his father. He says how he loves his father, and that he’s a good guy but he just watches him from afar as he’s not close to him because they’re so different.
Now he just watches as he witnesses all his pain, as his father grows older, weaker, and all alone. His voice is really strong here and conveys melancholy. He says that he’s his blood and will carry him on.
8. No te apartes de mí – Vicentico
It starts off with a rather upbeat rhythmic ukulele intro with some minor undertones. It is sung as a duet and their voices blend together very well. The title translates to “don’t go away from me”.
This song is about mutual love, it explains how they thought they could live without each other but in reality, they can’t. They sing about how sad it would be for one of them without the other completing them. It’s a very sweet song.
9. Corre – Jesse y Joy
A light somber piano plays in the background with the guitar joining in as the artist sings about love. She sings about how his hugs don’t give the same warmth anymore, she feels distanced from her partner and feels like he looks at her differently, their relationship just isn’t the same anymore.
She says “run, run heart, you were always the faster one” implying how she feels the relationship isn’t balanced and she’s left behind and can’t catch up to him, which can be interpreted as him not caring enough about her. However, even after all this, she says she won’t ever shed tears for him.
10. Joan Manuel Serrat – Mediterráneo
This song is a more typical Spanish song, more upbeat and rhythmic. He composed this song after extended visits to the coastal towns of Catalonia. It was written in the time when Spain was in a dictatorship under the dictator Franco and here he sings about freedom using metaphors of the ocean.
It paints alluring images, the bright blue ocean, the red dusk, the salt that touches your skin, your first love, and things like that. The overall message of this song was to preach freedom but it still ranks as one of the Saddest Spanish songs.
Alexandra loves playing the piano and guitar. She has always been a music lover, but it wasn’t until she was in high school that she realized how much she loved to play. It allowed her to express herself without having to be verbally expressive, which is something she found very empowering.