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Wednesday, April 12, 2021

slips of the lipsI’ve been listening to Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” for the past couple of days (partly for research purposes). And I’ve decided that I really don’t care for it.

And it’s not because of Wyclef Jean’s participation, although I could have done without him on this track (Wyclef is very hit-or-miss for me — some of his stuff I love, but a lot of it makes me cringe). I think it comes down to linguistics — to wit, I don’t like Shakira’s English-language songs, yet I can’t get enough of her Spanish-language (and Portuguese-language) stuff.

It’s true. I can listen to “Ojos Asi” and “La Tortura” over and over and over again. Plus remixes! But “Whenever, Wherever”? “Underneath Your Clothes”? Both leave me cold.

What’s the difference? After all, it’s the same voice. But I think there’s a noticable distinction between Spanish-Shakira and English-Shakira, and it may come down to how multi-lingualism tends to foster different personalities within the same person. In short, I perceive a different set of vocal expressions from this singer between languages, and something about the English tunes tune me out.

Adding to this, I don’t speak Spanish (the fluency I had developed in high school has long since faded away) or Portuguese. So, essentially, I’m digging on songs that are mostly incomprehensible to me. I think the appeal lies precisely in not being able to follow the lyrics. In a way, Shakira’s voice becomes more like an accompanying instrumental. For me, that only enhances the pleasure I get from a song; nothing against song lyrics generally, but sometimes they get in the way of the music.

So, I guess I ought to delete all the Shakira English-language songs I own, and load up on her other stuff. As big an American star as she’s becoming, it’ll get harder and harder to avoid her English singing.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/12/2021 01:36:34 PM
Category: Pop Culture, Celebrity, Society | Permalink |

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