Shakira strikes me as the kind of person who likes to pee on people. It doesn't feel like a sexual hypothetical pee -- just a matter-of-fact one. Maybe she doesn't even enjoy it; it is just something she does the way other people crack their knuckles or chew on their own hair. I have a few reasons for believing this: the way that she moves suggests someone so invested in the art of public urination that she has many different techniques. Her gestures in the "She-Wolf" video alone make me believe that this is a skill honed through lots of practice. Here are three of them:
I just imagine the urine streaming out in all of these shots, particularly in the gif, as she lifts her leg (so wolf-like!) and pivots a la a sprinkler. All of this makes me want to start referring to her as "Shapeera." Perhaps I will from now on.
I remember when I first decided that Shakira was a dedicated pisser. It was many years ago...
I loved "Whenever, Wherever," because it reminded me of an ABBA song in ways that I still can't fully articulate. It just feels like one to me. Some people feel like people-peers, some songs feel like ABBA. I really loved its follow-up single, "Underneath Your Clothes," mostly for the line, "There's the man I chose, there's my territory." She's calling him her territory, thus marking him. She's pissing with her words. All the bladder-based movements and canid comparisons just fell into place after that.
Among the many hilarious lines on her charming new album She-Wolf is, "The grass is much greener with us on it." This is funny because it is not true: I'm quite sure that Shakira leaves brown grass in her wake. Play with your cliches all you want, Shapeera, we know you're just going to end up pissing on them in the end.
She-Wolf doesn't come out in the States until late next month, but I'm sick of fucking waiting to write about it because it's been so good to me. It speaks to me very fundamentally, as the particularly disco tracks have an Italo vibe -- they're sleazy, highly synthesized and sung by a lunatic who you often suspect doesn't fully understand what she's singing. I don't know if Shakira is a slow language learner or just extremely fanciful, but the stuff she does with English on this album is extremely special. It's so special that I will share my Top 5 She-Wolf lines with you now:
TIE 5. "Nocturnal creatures are not so prudent." / "I’m starting to feel just a little abused like a coffee machine in an office." ("She-Wolf")
4. "Why wait for later? I’m not a waiter." ("Why Wait")
3. "I’m so happy I should get sued." ("Long Time")
2. "Hope the French fleas both eat you alive." ("Mon Amour")
1. "I wish I had longer legs that I could fasten to your body so you’d take me with you everywhere." ("Long Time")
I think that the real reason she wants longer legs is to perfect her arc.
Elsewhere, she sings of a man's "eloquent hands," surveys the Hollywood scene and laments ("Damon’s not meant for me!" as in Matt) and hopes that in addition to those French fleas, her ex-lover's trip is plagued by a smelly hotel room with a toilet that doesn't flush. The lesson is that you must smell of pee whether or not you are still involved with Shakira. Fuck with her and you are marked.
I'm sure you already know what this woman sounds like, but it is important to note that she sings many of these lines as though she is gargling a fish. There is something floppy in her throat. Perhaps her uvula is enlarged. I would not put anything past her biologically. Her vocals are peppered with a series of yelps and grunts that I have assembled into a single MP3. The scat singing is my favorite wordless vocalizing she does. But then, of course it is: it's scatting. This woman is always voiding somehow.
The music is an odd mishmash of electro-world sounds; if M.I.A. is a designer label, Shakira shops at H&M. "Why Wait" collides "Gimme More" into the Middle East. I think I hear stringed flutes in there. "Good Stuff" is traditional reggae, and by that I mean it sounds like late-era No Doubt. A steel drum melody is played on what sounds like a Fisher Price xylophone. "Gypsy" is about as cultural as your typical RenFair ("I'm a gypsy, are you coming with me? / I might steal your clothes and wear them if they fit me"). I believe I detect a banjo. My favorite track, "Men in This Town," features Shakira rapping and then immediately launching into a Kate Bush-style caterwaul.
It's all impossibly fun, and a lot giddier than I'm used to hearing on commercial albums. I'd say that Shakira shits all over her pop competition, but then, that wouldn't really be accurate, now would it?