Saturday, October 12, 2013

W.W.C.I.I.T.M.I. Post 12: Shakira

This is a series dedicated to women who despite success in the U.S. Music Industry, have est. a very complicated image for themselves.

Round 12 of this series goes to legal Colombian import/Hip shaking mastermind and S4 coach of The Voice U.S., Shakira. By all technical accounts, she has the most albums [of any of the women I've reviewed thus far] under her belt with 9 to date. However, it wasn't until her 5th album that she first tasted proper U.S. glory.
I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge her first 4 albums...

First was Magia, which was released in 1991. Peligro was released 2 years later in 1993. Commercially and to Shakira, these were considered disappointments so much to the point that "Shaki" has refused these albums see the light of day in the States.
In a way her third album, the 1996 released Piez Descalzos, saw some taste of the U.S. mainstream albeit through Latin charts [#5 on the Billboard Latin Albums and #3 on the Billboard Latin Pop Albums is nothing to sneer at.] The recognizable song from the effort, "Estoy Aquí", even went to #1 on the Latin Pop Song chart.
Her fourth album, the 1998 released Dónde Están los Ladrones? was her first album to make a bigger impact on U.S. charts; even though it went to #131 on the Hot 200. However, the album went to #1 on both the Latin and Latin Pop album charts. The recognizable single from the album, "Ojos Así" while more artistically edgy than "Estoy Aquí", didn't go to #1 but did give "Shaki" another Top 10 hit on the Latin Pop chart.

Cut to her 2001 crossover debut and fifth collective album, Laundry Service. "Shaki" was seen as a gamble by her new stateside label, Epic [she had mainly worked with Sony Music Colombia until then]. Thanks to some assistance from Gloria Estefan in fighting for her proper stateside debut, Laundry Service would see the rise of the her star power. The lead single from the album, "Whenever, Wherever" landed her a Top 10 hit on the Hot 100, peaking at #6. The video for the song has aged rather well, constantly making Fuse network countdown shows and for unleashing some sex monster laden choreography. O_O The album's next single, "Underneath Your Clothes" showed off her vulnerable side and gave "Shaki" her second consecutive Top 10 hit on the Hot 100 peaking at #9.
Her third single and my personal favorite next to "Underneath Your Clothes" was the song "Objection (Tango)". Yet for whatever reason, the song peaked at #55 on the Hot 100 [the Spanish version of the song did peak at #16 on the Latin Songs chart]. The music video on the other hand fared very well on the music video circuit; even going to #1 on TRL (I wonder what the host of TRL is doing now...I wonder if he's hosting a certain competition show on NBC where she served as a coach on its 4th season. Oh the mysteries of life. -_-)
Though 3 more singles were released and "Objection (Tango)" was read to filth on the Hot 100 for God knows what reason, Laundry Service peaked at #3 on the Hot 200.

Cut past live albums to her 2005 releases, Fijación Oral, Vol. 1 and Oral Fixation, Vol. 2. Remarkably, the all Spanish album went to #4 on the Hot 200. It's recognizable single, "La Tortura" ft. Alejandro Sanz even went to #23 on the Hot 100 whilst being #1 on the Latin, Latin Pop and Tropical Songs charts. The music video for the single was Shakira's most tantalizing to date. Focusing on upper body choreography, the video went to #4 on TRL and circulated very well on MTV, VH1 and Yahoo!
The all English album actually peaked at #5 on the Hot 200. The lead single, "Don't Bother" although a return of sorts to her rocker/bohemian vibes from earlier releases, peaked at #42 on the Hot 100.
Then, her first #1 hit on the Hot 100 emerged [regardless of how damn long it took to get there]. "Hips Don't Lie" ft. Wyclef Jean was a song and video that touched in on a shitload of cultural references. Everything from traditional Carnaval de Barranquilla attire to Shakira shaking those hips and everything else at Mach 5 (More or less; remember...I base any statistic like that on absolutely nothing.) the song and video solidified Gloria Estefan's fighting for her years ago.

Moving past her double disc version of the "Oral Fixation" albums, another set of live albums and general low-key...ness to her 2009 released She Wolf. This is probably "Shaki's" most edgy and sexual sounding release to date. However, disaster of missing the Top 10 of the Hot 200 albums was spelled out in her 1st and 3rd songs released from the album.
The album's lead single is also the titular track, "She Wolf". For all of its scintillating intent, this is Shakira's doofiest sounding song yet. If you need words to prove it, this is how the song starts...

"A domesticated girl, that's all you ask of me.
Darling it is no joke, this is lycanthropy."

O_O Oh it serves more FreeTranslation realness from there...[Oh *FUN Fact: Lycathropy is the delusion of someone thinking that they're a werewolf. O_O*]

"I've been devoting myself to you
Monday to Monday
And Friday to Friday"

"Starting to feel just a little abused
Like a coffee machine in an office"

Put 2+2 together and it'll make sense as to why this song peaked at #11 on the Hot 100. *shaaaaaaaaaaaade* (Oh and do not get me started on that video; once I saw the cage made from stripper poles, I was done. Bye, gurl, bye!)

The last recognizable single from the album [the deluxe edition in this case] was "Give It Up to Me" ft. Lil' Wayne. The song did gain favor from critics mainly because of Shaki's collaborating with a rapper and Timbaland's production value. The video, whilst showcasing vibrant color schemes and drawing comparisons to Beyoncé's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" in terms of choreography...yikes. This video is all style, no substance. At one point, she proceeds to look like a Hindu goddess in a prom dress whilst performing a mix of Thai dance hand gestures and voguing. O_O Despite moderate success on the video circuit, the song peaked at #29 on the Hot 100.
She Wolf would peak at #15 on the Hot 200.

Cut to her most recent effort, the 2010 released Sale el Sol. Apart from the album's lead single, "Loca" ft. Dizzee Rascal and "Antes de las Seis" being used in The Voice S4 when Mary Miranda and Cáthia faced off in the Battle Rounds, none of the other songs ring a bell.
The lead single peaked at #32 on the Hot 100 but did go to #1 on the Dance/Mix Show Airplay, Hot Latin and Tropical Songs charts.
Sale el Sol would peak at #7 on the Hot 200.

Apart from music, Shakira is renowned for her genius IQ, multilingual abilities speaking Spanish, English, Portuguese, Italian, French, Catalan [that being a dialect of Spanish common in Barcelona, Spain] and Arabic, humanitarian efforts and the FIFA 2010 Cup theme song "Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)"; the music video being the seventh most watched music video of all time on YouTube with more than 550 million views, as of September 2013.
So what makes her one of many W.W.C.I.I.T.M.I.? Well, for all her international flair she's really had only 1 song go to #1 on the Hot 100. Any lesser person would've resorted to the long standing "Shakira sounds like a goddamn goat" comment but logistically..."Hips Don't Lie" is her biggest single in the States. That and give or take some commercial missteps *COUGH She Wolf COUGH* she hasn't released a critical dud. It isn't often that a critical darling has some success in the U.S. Music Industry.
That and The Voice U.S. shows how goddamn adorable she is in general. In summation, she's in this series because not everything adds up commercially when critical success has been her game in any language.

Next up, the Lord and Savior to BuzzFeed contributor Matt Stopera.

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