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The Epic Ballads That the World's Listening to, From Chile to Thailand

the epic ballads

From left: Emel Mathlouthi, Jon Germain, Wanting Qu, Rodrigo Costa Félix (publicity photos)

Fall is a serious season. It's when movie studios roll out their fanciest, most self-important movies, when publishers hard-sell their weighty novels from weighty novelists, and when the commercials for new TV dramas fall over one another assuring the viewer of the meaningfulness and addictiveness of their shows. It's also the perfect season for the musical equivalent of Oscar bait: big, emotional ballads that sweep the listener up in their particular world. Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" and Céline Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" were creatures of the Oscar season, as were, more recently, OneRepublic's "Apologize," Bruno Mars's "Just the Way You Are," and Adele's "Someone Like You."

This year, no consensus English-language song has so far emerged as the year's big ballad. Gotye's trickily rhythmic "Somebody That I Used to Know" and Katy Perry's self-helpy "Wide Awake" may be potential nominees, while Miguel's "Adorn" has emerged as dark horse from the artsy R&B world. Then again, the season's only just begun, and if American listeners can't find an appropriately sweeping heartstring-tugger at home, there's always the rest of the world. Ballad production is cranking up globally for the many different markets served by pop internationally, and even though half the world is entering spring, not fall, songs of love and its complications are an infinitely renewable resource.

Here are 12 low-tempo songs from around the world that can strike a chord regardless of language. If you're the susceptible sort, you may wish to grab a box of Kleenex before you get very far into the videos.

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