Getting in Touch with My Emotions through the Music of 90s Shakira

As a child in Puerto Rico, I always looked up to Shakira as the older sister I never had. Even before her rise to mainstream fame with hits like “Whenever, Wherever” and “Waka Waka,” she embodied a rebellious attitude with black locks and vibrant highlights. Her albums “Pies Descalzos” and “Dónde Están Los Ladrones” were frequent fixtures in my family’s car, blasting out their catchy tunes endlessly.

The lyrics of Shakira’s albums “Pies Descalzos” and “Donde Estan Los Ladrones” continue to captivate me. The former references Adam and Eve while also offering criticism on marriage, pantyhose, and quinceañeras. The latter is a pop-rock ballad filled with political references and a memorable sound. Although both albums were released before my time, I found myself relating to them as a young woman coming of age in a society that doesn’t encourage free expression. What struck me most was Shakira’s honesty about her flaws and her pure expressions of love. Her admission of crying once a month allowed me to connect with my own emotions. Even today, these songs help me navigate a range of feelings such as rage over breakups, wonder about past relationships, and a deeper understanding of what it means to love.

Shakira’s unique blend of Colombian and Lebanese heritage served as the foundation for Latina rockers. Over 20 years ago, she revolutionized the male-dominated genre with her personal and deeply emotional music, providing a guide on how to navigate machismo in different aspects of life. For me, Shakira’s music has been a source of comfort during heartbreak and a means of empowerment, like an older sister guiding me through life’s challenges. Although songs like “Hips Don’t Lie” and collaborations with Beyonce and Rihanna are iconic, 90s Shakira remains my personal favorite. Her youthful style, evocative lyrics, and powerful voice continue to resonate with fans across generations and languages. As a new generation of artists emerges, such as Olivia Rodrigo and Willow, I’m reminded of the timeless appeal of 90s Shakira, which transcends time, relationships, and cultural backgrounds.

Last Friday, the talented 44-year-old vocalist dropped her latest single titled “Don’t Wait Up.” As a fan, I was secretly hoping for a rock-infused sound reminiscent of her earlier works after spotting her Instagram post where she was sporting bright red hair again. However, the track leans towards being a dance anthem, perfect for warm summer nights. It’s a pleasing song that still manages to convey a feminist viewpoint of going out and having a good time without feeling obligated to answer to any partner.

However, it’s not fair to compare Shakira’s latest single to her previous work. Her music has always been evolving, setting her apart in an industry that often expects Latina musicians to stick to one genre. From rock to mainstream pop, she has explored a variety of sounds, some as effortless as her amazing dance skills, and others more intimate and moody. “Don’t Wait Up” is a classic pop song, and if this is a preview of her next album, I’m excited for the new sound. But I haven’t lost my appreciation for ’90s Shakira either. Her early albums still offer advice and help me imagine falling in love with my significant other all over again. The feeling of finally understanding the meaning behind her songs will always hold a special place in my heart, and I’ll cherish reliving it forever. That’s the power of ’90s Shakira.

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