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Lost in Translation: Latin Pop’s Biggest Bilingual Bombs

Latinx music esta en fuego! This week the BBMA‘s solidified the fact that musica latina is the official mainstream. Everyone, namely the industry’s top artists, are angling to bite at our Spanish-speaking tongues.

Divas, such as Madonna and Katy Perry (yes, you’ll find I included Justin Bieber in my list of divas) are at the top of their game without trying to roll their r’s and “cha-cha-cha,” so para que? Further, do the titans of the genre, like Daddy Yankee and Maluma, actually benefit from collabs with native English-speakers (porque no suena bien) or can this exciting new wave stand alone in its own power?

You tell us. Check out our picks for biggest bilingual bombs and sound off in the comments.


Madonna has been about the Latinx life forever. From Isla Bonita to Evita, her efforts to master the Spanish accent have not gone unnoticed. But time does not buy excellence, and I couldn’t help but cringe at the sound of Madge’s moaning, “Ben CONE-migo,” not to mention the gratuitous “ay yai yai‘s” as Maluma tapped her bottom at the BBMA’s.

Dios mio!


I was in an Uber returning home from an Alex Ferreira concert when I first heard this Daddy Yankee x Katy Perry remix and I’m not going to lie, I was horrified. It must have been the shocking juxtaposition of spending an evening with the Dominican maestro to suddenly hearing the “Fireworks” singer (read: auto-tune) cooing, “Hola me llamo Katy, a little mezcal got me feelin’ spicy…” that made me want to vomit. Not only was the Spanish all wrong, but trope much?

More importantly, if you are interested in Spanish-language music de calidad, please check out Alex Ferreira.


Por qué, Bey?

I love Beyonce. She can do no wrong in my eyes. But this song is sacred and her voiceover would have been more bomb in English. Das it.


First of all, this song was a hit WAY before Bieber. Punto claro.

Originally co-written by Panamanian singer, Erika Ender with Luis Rodríguez, and Ramón Ayala, Luis Fonsi released it on his album featuring Daddy Yankee to over 6 billion views on Youtube, PB: Pre-Bieber.

Post-Beiber: Justin got drunk and infamously butchered the lyrics singing, “Despacito, I don’t know the words so I say pocito, I don’t know the words so I say Dorito.”

Now I know this song went on to become the most streamed of all time, but it doesn’t make Bieber’s Spanish any good or his disrespectful antics OK.

With that I will hand the mic to Luis. Eso!

Jessica Hoppe

Jessica Hoppe is a New York-based writer and social media strategist who founded her blog, Nueva Yorka, in 2015. She has been featured in Vogue, Yahoo, HuffPost, PopSugar, Who What Wear, Ravishly and worked as Lifestyle Editor for StyleCaster. Jessica has been passionate about writing, diversity and Latin American culture from an early age. Having grown up in a Spanish speaking home, her father is Ecuadorian and her mother is from Honduras.

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1 Comment

  1. Osman González July 2, 2019

    Hola bella anda buscando novia


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