The Time Shakira Made Us Dance and Fall in Love with ‘Laundry Service’
I’ve heard of Shakira even before she decided to take a risk in entering the global market with her first English album Laundry Service. Her name pops up every now and then in MTV and music sites when the focus is in the Latin market. During that time, Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez successfully reached international stardom and Shakira was next in line. I remember being confused with the scenario: Shakira is a singer from Colombia with long blonde hair oozing with sex appeal who obviously has Arabian music influences in her first single and she can really sing! In fact, her voice is quite unique that time and it wasn’t hard to spot if the song played on the radio is hers or not. Back in high school, I was very much into performing. In fact, I prioritize it more over my academic standing. One time, I was asked to perform “Whenever, Wherever” on a dance music medley. It was then that I decided to borrow my friend’s CD of Shakira’s Laundry Service.
Whenever, Wherever: The Best Introduction of Shakira to the World
No doubt, “Whenever, Wherever” was the perfect song to introduce Shakira to the world. The song is not only catchy and danceable. What caught my attention the most is the lyrics especially the part ‘lucky that my breast are small and humble so you won’t confuse them with mountains’ and ‘lucky I have strong legs just like my mother to run for cover when I need it’. The fact that Shakira wrote the lyrics of her songs makes her more relatable. It was one of the instances where my friends and I stopped worrying about our breasts not growing. Hey, we can still be as hot as Shakira when we grow older! Ha-ha-ha! It’s just now that I learned that making Laundry Service is a challenge set by Shakira to herself. She was not fluent in the English language, but her dreams are big enough in order for her to take a risk and gladly, she succeeded with flying colors!
Underneath Your Clothes: The Ultimate Karaoke Song
When Shakira released the rock-ballad “Underneath Your Clothes”, more Filipinos fell in love with her. It became a Top 5 regular and in just a few months, the song is highly requested in karaoke brs/machine stands. I even witnessed two girls fighting over who must sing the song – the one who requested it or the one who paid PHP 5 for it? It was often covered in singing contests and some local celebrities made their own renditions in variety shows and mall tours. Up to this day, Underneath Your Clothes is still widely sung in lazy Sunday afternoon radio. Though the title might be too.. uhm, ‘revealing’, I find it relatable at that time because it captures a hopeless romantic woman’s idealistic views on how the man she loves, despite showing his tough exterior, is sensitive and vulnerable deep inside. It’s like the clothes is a metaphor for a mask someone wears in public and that is only unveiled when he is in a private moment with this woman. He can be naked emotionally, mentally, spiritually and ermm… physically.
The Head-Banging, Body Shaking Objection (Tango)
This is one of the songs in the album that Shakira wrote first. I love its pop-rock treatment with a bit of tango. For a time, a lot of wannabe dancers and singers (like me) got interested in taking their basic tango lessons in Physical Education class seriously. Some even enrolled for a much more advanced class with a legit tango dancer. The song automatically uplifts one mood especially when you’re in a party. One memory that sticks to me up to this day is when this song was played in the reception of a relative’s wedding: everyone went mad crazy especially in the bridge a.k.a. rock ‘n roll part – grandparents of the Bride and Groom included!
WHY ‘THE ONE’ IS NOT ‘THE ONE’
You’re the one I need. The way back home is always long and if you’re close to me I’m holding on.. Shakira is truly poetic, right? Listening to this song made me try shaving my legs – which I regret up to this day and I never did it again! She’s that influential! LOL! I love this ballad and I am not sure why it wasn’t as successful as some of her previously released tracks. Maybe she went overboard for being too idealistic in love. I find it sweet and cute that time, but now that I am in my early 30’s, that was too much, girl! Love yourself first!
MY FAVE TRACK: READY FOR THE GOOD TIMES
“Ready for the Good Times” was not released as a single officially, but this is one of my go-to songs if I want to uplift my mood after finishing a daunting task when I was in high school and even up to college. This is the only Shakira song that lasted in my Mp3 player!
Even if Laundry Service is targets the international market, our girl Shakira never forgot where she came from. She also included songs like “Te Dejo Madrid”, “Que Me Quedes Tu” and “Eyes Like Yours (Ojos Asi)”. She also included the original Spanish versions of “Whenever, Wherever (Suerte)” and “Te Aviso, Te Anuncio (Tango)”. The first two songs mentioned did well in the Latin market. I am not sure if “Eyes Like Yours (Ojos Asi)” was released as an official single, but when I was a freshmen student and got accepted in the University Dance Troupe, this is one of the songs included in the line-up of songs we had to perform for a city event. In all honesty, I haven’t listened to the whole album of Laundry Service for almost ten years. Now that I am older, I just realized that in a way, Shakira had a positive influence on me. During those days, some girls wanted to copy her belly dancing moves. The lyrical content of her songs is relatable to girls who are idealistic about their crushes and dream boys. And yes, it even influenced me to shave my legs for the first time! Since that successful international debut, Shakira still continues to top the charts but she is much more focused on Spanish songs. In the past years, some of my favorite songs from her are collaborations with other artists like “Hips Don’t Lie” (with Wyclef Jean), “Beautiful Liar” (with Beyonce) and “Chantaje” with Maluma. Maybe this is a call to action for me to take time and listen to Shakira’s albums!