Shakira: El Dorado

A Star Is Reborn

Listening Post 155. Shakira’s eleventh studio album, launched in 2017, showed her in peak form—bearing in mind that with Grammys galore, career record sales over 60 million and YouTube views topping 12 billion, her “peak” has an altitude mere superstars can’t reach. But the El Dorado World Tour scheduled to begin last November was delayed seven months by a vocal cord hemorrhage, and as the Colombian singer-songwriter wondered if she would ever perform again, fans worldwide held their collective breath. Happily, the tour finally opened this month in Hamburg and will close in Bogotá in November. Shakira also had doubts two years ago, not over vocal issues but from writer’s block and the career-motherhood dilemma. Inspiration returned, she said, after a project with Carols Vives made her realize she could avoid album overload by working one song at a time. The collection that ultimately came together (nine tracks in Spanish, three in English, one French-English mix) is an exhilarating blend of styles—vallenato, reggaeton, bachata, Latin pop—and features collaborations with five male artists. La Bicicleta, the duet with Vives that jumpstarted El Dorado, is also a homecoming team-up in which the two banter while cycling across their native turf on Colombia’s Caribbean coast (video 1). Sexual tension abounds in Perro Fiel (Faithful Dog), co-written and performed with Nicky Jam, an American artist now living in Colombia (video 2). Things come to a boil in Déjà Vu, an explosive brew of suspicion and seduction sung with the Dominican-American artist Prince Royce (video 3). Me Enamoré (I Fell in Love) is Shakira’s personal story of falling for her partner, footballer Gerard Piqué, who appears near the video’s end (video 4). Unlike the mythical city of gold that inspired it, Shakira’s El Dorado is real. And while its creator was uncharacteristically quiet, she spun her gold into platinum. (Sony Music US Latin)

 

La Bicicleta/The Bicycle: “Nothing will come of/Rummaging through old wounds
Nothing to lose/I don’t want to be the guy from the wrong side of town
A desperate vallenato
My way, with my messy hair/On a bike that takes me everywhere

Your uncomplicated way/On a bike that takes you everywhere
I can be happy/With someone so relaxed
I love you the way you are
And because you are different

A little letter I keep, in which I wrote
That I dream of you and that I love you so much
For so long my heart is/Beating for you, beating for you 

Hear me Carlos, take me on your bicycle
I want us to travel together, all the way
From Santa Marta to Baranquilla”

 

Perro Fiel/Faithful Dog: “You’re here/Can’t hold back anymore
How was I supposed to know/That I’d see you again? 

Where are you going/When I want you like crazy
You confuse me/Don’t know what to do

I’m afraid I like this/And that I’m going to lose my head

If that happens, I’ll follow you/Like a faithful dog

Can’t resist this anymore/And even though you keep avoiding me
I still want you

They say you’re dangerous/I don’t pay much attention to those things
Tell me what’s up/You make me crazy
I’m crazy in love

I want to know how much you’re going to push this/And how far you’d go for me
I’m sorry about the wait
But it’ll be worth it/When we’re kissing

When you move like that/I swear, I’m going to melt

You know I’m good
And the more I avoid you, the more you want me”

 

Déjà Vu: “You tore open the wounds that I thought were already healed
With lemon, tequila and salt

A recurring story/Just a déjà vu that never ends

I’d rather stay alone/And forget about you, forget your eyes
I’d rather dodge the dust/I don’t want to fall again, into that picture
Of madness, of total hypocrisy

Who can speak of love and defend it/Please raise their hand
Who can speak of pain and pay the bail/To get out of my heart

If anyone is going to talk about love/I can assure you, that person won’t be me
No, it’s not going to be me”

 

Me Enamoré/I Fell in Love: “Life began to change/The night I met you
Had little to lose/And the thing went like this

I was in with my striped bra/And my hair half done
I thought: He’s still a boy/But what am I going to do?

It’s what I was looking for/What the doctor ordered
I thought I was dreaming, oh oh, oh oh/What was I complaining about?
Don’t know what I was thinking/I’m exploding with happiness, oh oh, oh oh

I fell in love
I saw it by myself and I threw myself in
I fell in love/I’m in love

What a beautiful thing/What nice round lips
And I like that beard

And I danced until I got tired
I danced and I fell in love
We fell in love

One mojito, two mojitos
Look at those beautiful eyes
I’ll stay another minute

With you I’d have ten children/Let’s start with two
I only tell you/In case you want to practice”

 


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