Song of the Day #11: ‘Moscas en la Casa’ – Shakira

I’m a lyrics guy.

I’ve never been into instrumental music, apart from the occasional jazz or classical album that slips through the cracks. I hate jam bands. I like verses, choruses and bridges. I like words in my music.

So I never found room for foreign language artists in my collection. I’ve enjoyed a Puccini aria or two, sure, but no international pop or rock stars. I just didn’t see myself getting into songs performed in another language.

And then I found Shakira.

I feel protective of Shakira, the way you might feel about a neighborhood girl who wears suggestive clothing to get the attention of boys who aren’t worthy of her. She has been marketed to death, greased up and flopped on stage to belly-dance her way to pop stardom.

Maybe it’s all her doing. Maybe she’s pulling all the strings, laughing at the knuckle draggers who’ve been tricked by a pretty body into buying her CDs. But I still hate it.

Because Shakira is exceptionally talented, as both a songwriter and performer. So talented she demolished my prejudice against foreign language songs and I now own 3 1/2 whole albums sung in nothing but Español.

Shakira is sort of like Penelope Cruz in that she does her best work in her native tongue. Her English songs are good but there’s a certain something missing from her vocals. I guess it makes sense… it’s hard enough speaking another language, let alone singing or acting emotionally in one. She also has an unfair advantage, I suppose, in that her Spanish-language lyrics could be total crap and I’d be none the wiser. Most of the time I have no idea what she’s singing about (although my Cuban wife tells me it’s usually a boy).

This song, ‘Moscas en la Casa,’ from her best album, Donde Estan Los Ladrones?, is about flies.      I think.       Anyway, it’s great and she’s great.

8 thoughts on “Song of the Day #11: ‘Moscas en la Casa’ – Shakira

  1. Alex says:

    While I can appreciate the music, ALL I’ve heard her sing about is boys – finding boys, losing boys, missing boys, longing for boys, wishing the boy would come back to her. That’s what this song is about: “I miss you so much, these days without you, wishing you’d come back.” Yuck. Half way through every song, you want to shake her and scream: Life is not all about boys. Grow a spine, and some self-respect while you’re at it!

  2. mom says:

    I’m with you Alex! Actually Dad and I started listening to the Buena Vista Social Club again after a long hiatus. Now that we have our stereo up and running (thanks to Clay) and we got new Bose speakers for the porch, we are listening to some of the older CDs again. We enjoy this CD a lot, maybe you’ll find something on it for your song of the day?

  3. Dana says:

    This is probably one of the prettiest songs about flies I have ever heard:) And don’t get to riled about her marketing… I seem to recall the Boss enjoying his greatest commercial success when he got buff and was marketed as a sex symbol for Born in the USA. Anyway, I think I am perhaps too much of a lyrics guy to listen extensively to songs I don’t understand. I am sure I missing out, however, on some very good stuff.

  4. Dana says:

    oh, and yes, Amy, I know that “too” should be used above, but, like you, I am a bit “too” quick to hit the submit button for “your” taste:)

  5. Amy says:

    While I can appreciate Alex’s frustration with the limited subject matter of Shakira’s body of work, I tend to think so much art (music, literature, film, tv) tends to be preoccupied with that very subject. I remember my students having a heated debate years ago regarding Grapes of Wrath vs. Pride and Prejudice. One boy claimed that Grapes was a better book b/c it was about an IMPORTANT subject. Others (mostly girls, but some brave boys) argued that there was nothing more immediately important than who you loved, who you would marry. So… I don’t fault her for singing about boys. Boys are IMPORTANT. Just ask Bella ( 🙂 Bet you’re wishing you hadn’t loaned me that copy of Twilight, Alex) As for the music, I like the sound of the song you picked today very much. I don’t own any Shakira albums, but I do tend to associate her with the great body and the shimmying hips. I’m actually quite surprised to hear this type of song sung by her. It’s lovely. I’ll have to put it on my iPod (or if it’s already there, actually start listening to it).

  6. Dad says:

    Speaking solely for the philistines, I like the great body and shimmying hips more than I like the song, though that’s not so bad either.

  7. Kerrie says:

    I have been a fan of Shakira for many years now having been introduced to her first album, Pies Descalzos, by my good friend Ana in around 1995. I agree that Donde Estan Los Ladrones is her best album by far. I have most of the lyrics committed to memory and have picked up enough Spanish over the years to have a decent understanding of the songs. I LOVE THEM!

    I, personally, don’t care if all she ever sings about is boys from now until doomsday – she has a phenomenal voice (as Clay rightly points out, especially in her native tongue), and the songs are so easy to listen to.
    My favorite songs from that album are, in no particular order (links provided for the curious):
    No Creo
    Inevitable
    Si Te Vas

    Anyway, what is more universal than love (in her case, with boys)? Wanting it, finding it, losing it and wishing it would come back? These are normal things that everyone can relate to and I definitely don’t fault her for it.

    I was disappointed with her inevitable (not to poach one of her titles… ) English language cross-over and have not bought those albums. I just keep listening to this one, over and over and over.

    Gracias por la cancion, Clay. 🙂

  8. Clay says:

    Wow, I didn’t think this song would generate so many comments.

    I pretty much see everybody’s points here.

    On the one hand, if you took away all songs about matters of the heart, that would eliminate about 85% of all music. Ultimately, nothing affects any of us as much as the people we love (whether or not they love us back).

    On the other hand, all of my favorite artists sing a lot about love, but also about a lot of other things. Take Lyle Lovett’s The Road to Ensenada, as great a breakup album as I’ve ever heard… he still managed to fit in a song about his hat, a couple about Texas and one about whatever it is the title song is about. Shakira has a few songs that aren’t about romance (‘Se Quiere Se Mata’ and ‘Timor’ jump to mind) but just about everything else is.

    However, I’m such a fan of her Spanish-language albums that I’m not bothered at all by the singular focus. Kerrie, I’m glad to hear you’re a member of the fan club as well. 🙂 Her English-language stuff is definitely inferior but I still find a lot to like on those albums.

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