Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Inspiration: Revealing Passion, and Shaking With Ease
Last week, the NY Times published an article about Shakira's appeal as a pop star who acts "as though she doesn't need us [fans]." Reviewing a recent concert at Madison Square Garden, Kalefa Sanneh highlights Shakira's wry attitude towards her role as a performer by quoting Shakira's show-opening remark, “Here’s the deal. You know I’m gonna be dancing and playing and doing all the required stuff.” Shakira then proceeded to do the 'required stuff' and she do it better than anyone else. Like Sanneh and millions of other Shakira fans, I too have marvelled at the way Shakira breezes through hours of singing and superhuman hip thrusting (I swear she must be double jointed down there) without seeming to break a sweat. It is awe-inspiring. It makes me want to quit my job and take belly dancing classes all day.
Not only does Shakira seem more naturally suited to dancing and singing all night than other pop stars, she also does not attract the same gossip as they do. Sanneh mentions this briefly in the article, but I want to elaborate on this important point. Shakira is never caught in embarassing lip synch flubs. She doesn't get involved with trashy backup dancers. She doesn't gain and lose massive amounts of weight at the drop of a hat. There are no lesbian rumors about her (to the chagrin of all the lesbians out there, I'm sure). No drug rumors and no unsightly pictures of 'sweat' stains on her crotch. The two biggest Shakira 'controversies' are over her hair color - natural vs. peroxide blonde vs. dirty blonde - and album quality - her English albums being worse than her Spanish ones, but still better than everyone else's. I'm sure Britney Spears sees Shakira on TV and eats another bag of Cheetos in her depression.
Going back to the NY Times article, Shakira closes the Madison Square Garden show saying, “Thank you so much for a wonderful night," which Sanneh aptly interprets as sounding, "like exactly the sort of thing you say to a smitten admirer who can’t live without you, right after you decide that the feeling isn’t quite mutual." Is this the true key to Shakira's appeal? The hip shaking and catchy songs are certainly part of it. But do we crush on Shakira the way we crush on TAs and friends who don't think of us 'in that way'? The lack of information on Shakira's personal life (at least in American media) and her avoidance of unnecessary interviews/publicity stunts leaves us longing for more. Shakira is - for all intents and purposes, despite being shorter than Kylie Minogue - perfect. We would never be able to dance or sing or write songs like her. We would never be able to be remain so cool in front of thousands of people. And even if we were famous, we would surely find a way to screw it up (hi, britney).