My Little Spanish Playlist

Nick Sheppard
March 19, 2019

Playlists. Algorithms. The capital-p Power of Musak-ing.

Hola, noodles! Did you like my haiku? There’s a lot to digest, so if you need to pause the screen right now, I totally understand. As I’ve made it clear in my bio, I love me some music. Give me all the hits, bops, bangers, slappers, thwappers, pop-it-drop-it-lowers, and Careless Whisper saxophone riffs you’ve got. From my bedroom Zumba in the wee hours of the morning to the mid-afternoon catwalk to the Moncloa metro stop, I’ve heard so much fun music in Madrid that I will take back home with me.

If there’s one thing that people who write blog posts love to do, it’s making lists for your reading pleasure. So guess what I’m going to do…(pausing to pretend to stare at you with a patient and expectant face like I’m Dora the Exploradora)…you got it! I’m going to make ya’ll a little list of some of the music I’ve discovered in Madrid, what’s simply on heavy rotation, and, a short list I’m sure all you world travelers also keep tucked away in some corner of your streaming service, some of the songs that take me home when I feel far away.

¿Cuál es tu plan? (feat. DJ Nelson)

- Bad Bunny, PJ Sin Suela, Ñejo

The first time I heard this song I was walking through Parque del Retiro in Madrid with a few friends. Someone about my age passed us playing it on his Bluetooth speaker and I had to Shazam it. Laid back, groovy, perfect for walking to or just hanging out. Though Bad Bunny is not from Spain, this song sonically captures its national pastime of straight chilling in the exact way its citizens do it.

Vivir Mi Vida

- Mark Anthony

While this is certainly not a new song, she’s new to me. I had heard this song around the city, but it wasn’t until one of my IES Abroad professors played it during class that I realized what it was: a Latin dance anthem that makes me deeply appreciate my living breathing body for every one of its four minutes and twelve seconds. 10 out of 10.


- Lizzo

Vroom Vroom

- Charli XCX

Here’s the explanation for this pairing: before I came back for my second semester, I spent a weekend in Austin with a few of my dearest friends from UT Austin (hook’em). We drove around singing “It Ain’t My fault” as loud as we could and broke silences with the most needlessly intense “LET’S RIDE”. Every time I’m jamming to either one of those in the shower, I think of them and smile.

Tennessee Whiskey



- Chris Stapleton

Now I may be from Texas, but a die-hard-guns-a-blazing fan of country music I am not. That being said, Chris Stapleton is one of the few exceptions. This man is the real deal and his songwriting and soothingly simple instrumentation just feel like home to me. I remember one moment in the fall where I was feeling homesick and I put on Traveler and just cried a little bit. Even if country music doesn’t remind you of home or has never even entered your Spotify search history, give him a listen. You might be surprised.


La Vie en Rose

Look What I Found

- A Star is Born Soundtrack

One of the things that had me a little nervous about going to Spain wasn’t whether or not I was going to successfully order lunch, but whether I was going to be able to see Lady Gaga in A Star is Born in Spain. Thank god, “Ha nacido una estrella” was being released in original language. While it’s definitely not Spanish music, I’ve listened to this soundtrack and loved this soundtrack almost exclusively in Madrid, so it will always bring back memories of the city to me—especially the one of me sitting in the theater during the credits and having to face my friend with tears and snot running down my throat (teehee).

I Want to Break Free

Don’t Stop Me Now

- Queen

In addition to A Star is Born, I also saw Bohemian Rhapsody, which I’m pretty sure Spain is absolutely in love with since it is still showing in some movie theaters in Madrid as I’m writing this nearly three months after it was released here. Listening to Queen walking around the city makes me feel lucky to be gay and studying abroad in such a queer-friendly destination.


- Rosalía

Hands down the best discovery of my time here in Madrid.  Rosalía (who graces the thumbnail of this here post) is a Spanish artist who masterfully fuses traditional Flamenco and pop elements to create a truly inspiring and interesting sound. Malamente was the big hit from her latest album EL MAL QUERER (roughly “bad love”) and the music video is so. freaking. goooood. Whether you can pick up on the lyrics or not, please check her out and as soon as you’re done reading this sentence, watch the music video. Go!

Nick Sheppard

<p>Hiya, beautiful people! I'm Nick Sheppard: a guy who dances in public like it was his bedroom and sings as loud on the street as he does in the shower. I like my steaks medium rare, my go-carts fast, my mornings early, and my nails done. If you're looking for a hug and a smile, I'm your girl. But, <em>cuidado</em>, if you make me laugh, I am a cackler. I'm a firm believer in positivity and never, ever, never ever ever<br>saying "I'm tired". So listen up, children! You might just have a good time.</p>

2019 Spring
Home University:
University of Texas - Austin
Houston, TX
Explore Blogs