I love listening to music in other languages, and I have a bit of an obsession with foreign language covers of English pop songs. I’m always intrigued by how the lyrics are translated, if I can understand them, and even if I can’t, it’s still cool to see people put their own twists on the songs – there are quite a few I like a lot more than the originals.
Here, in no particular order, are my Top 10, limiting myself to one per language. I couldn’t embed more than one video, for some reason, so click on the titles to watch and listen.
Zombie – Bakht Arif
An awesome Urdu and English cover of Zombie by The Cranberries. Bakht Arif only seems to have this one song on YouTube, which is a really shame as her voice is awesome.
Alel·luia – Andrea Motis & Joan Chamorro Quintet
There are probably 8,103,139 covers Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah out there but this Catalan version is my favourite. Andrea Motis’ voice is amazing, and it’s got a nice jazzy vibe to it.
Let It Go – Nat Sakdatorn
Like most of the planet, I’m a bit sick of Let It Go after hearing it seventy billion times, but this cover is really cool – it’s in Thai, Japanese, English and Mandarin! Kind of jealous of this guy’s language skills. And his singing skills.
Fallin’ – Renata Flores Riviera
Renata Flores Riviera is a teenage girl from Peru who does amazing pop covers in Quechua – check out her version of The Way You Make Me Feel as well as this Alicia Keys cover.
Aime-moi comme tu es – SARA’H
SARA’H has lots of beautiful French version of pop songs, and in my opinion this one – a cover of Ellie Goulding’s Love Me Like You Do – is about a thousand times nicer than the original.
The A Team – Dani Ride
This is a difficult song to translate, and this Spanish version does sound a bit odd at times, but I think it gets the feeling across and I love Dani Ride’s voice. Nice video, too! His Let Her Go and Summertime Sadness covers are also beautiful.
Hello – Dela
There are almost as many covers of Adele’s Hello as there are of Hallelujah, and tons in other languages – this Swahili version is one of my favourites.
Sorry – Badal
There are so many foreign languages of Justin Bieber’s Sorry on YouTube that I’d heard it in French and Portuguese before I heard the original… My favourite is probably Leroy Sanchez’s Spanish cover, but this Hindi and English version is also pretty cool.
Lon-dubh – Julie Fowlis
Fun fact: I once tripped on my heel and almost fell down some steps at the Scottish Trad Music Awards, but Julie Fowlis caught me. Pretty much saved my life. Her Scottish Gaelic cover of Blackbird by The Beatles is also lovely.
Chandelier – Alexander Eklund
This Swedish Sia cover is a wee bit rough around the edges and not as powerful as the original, but for some reason it really grew on me. I like the harmonica, too. Nice touch.
SPECIAL MENTION: Best Foreign Language Effort
Si demain… – Kareen Antonn & Bonnie Tyler
This is a cover of Total Eclipse of the Heart from 2003, where Bonnie herself sings in French! She sounds like she’s coughing up a fur ball at one point but it’s still awesome.
SPECIAL MENTION: Best Video
Wildest Dreams – Artie
This Thai version of Taylor Swift’s Wildest Dreams has pretty much a scene-by-scene remake of the original video. I’m fairly sure it’s a parody, but I still found it weirldy emotional. The “lion” is my favourite bit.
If you have any other covers to recommend, let me know so I can add them to my collection!