Song of the Day #185: ‘Ojos Asi’ – Shakira

shakiraSeeing Shakira at the inaugural celebration the other day (on TV, that is) reminded me that it’s been awhile since I featured her on the blog. Having picked a ballad last time, I’ve decided to go with a more fast-paced tune today.

‘Ojos Asi’ is the closing track on Shakira’s excellent Donde Estan los Ladrones? album. It mixes Latin beats with Indian and Arabic influences into a heady, sultry dance track. The titles means “Eyes Like Yours” in Spanish, and having not looked into the translation, I’m assuming this is another love song.

My musical collection has been solidly grounded in the United States and Great Britain, almost exclusively. But the exotic texture of this song, as well as the wonderful music in Slumdog Millionaire and on M.I.A.’s Kala, has me wondering if I should start to expand my horizons.

I’m often teased about my love of (some) foreign films, to which I usually reply that simple rules of probability suggest that great movies are being made in places other than the United States. It’s just a question of knowing where to look. And the same argument is certainly true for music, though the language barrier is harder to overcome without the aid of subtitles.

Perhaps I should make a point this year to break through that barrier more often.

20 thoughts on “Song of the Day #185: ‘Ojos Asi’ – Shakira

  1. Amy says:

    This sound makes me a bit anxious, to be honest πŸ™‚ Easy listening this ain’t.
    Would make a great soundtrack for a battle scene. I agree that we too often are in our limited bubble, but we should be able to count on great artists to reach out of their bubble to bring us world influences in their realm of talent. Quentin Tarantino goes to the great Asian filmmakers for inspiration, Paul Simon to the African ones, and so on.

    Then we know where to look πŸ™‚ I’m only half kidding. Sure it’s ambitious to seek out great works from foreign cultures, but I already have a couple of full-time jobs (teaching and parenting being particularly demanding ones). Can’t I wait for the Americans to co-opt The Office and then enjoy that witty show (and its British counterpart)? Do I have to actually go in search of the originals?

  2. Dana says:

    Well, first of all it’s amazing how many times we have had the foreign film discussion, yet you still don’t get my argument. Of course, other countries make great films and, of course, the better ones make their way onto our radar. My “accusation” is simply that, you tend to rank those films higher on your list because of their “foreigness” than other US films that, in my humble view, our better. Y Tu Mama was, for me, one of the best examples of that, but there are others.

    Anyway, back to music, I agree with Amy that I simply do not have the time or ambition to research and seek out much foreign music. Hell, I can’t even keep up with new American music. I leave that job to you, and you do it quite well!.

    And, while this song is certainly intense, I like its energy, I like Shakira’s voice and her sound. So, thanks for finding and featuring this one.

  3. Clay says:

    I make the assumption (knowing it’s probably a bad one a lot of the time) that the really good stuff, whether American or foreign, somehow rises to the top and captures the attention of the entertainment media, blogs, etc.

    Certainly that’s not true in many cases, and plenty of struggling bands out there are every bit as good as if not better than the stuff I read about. But I don’t have the time or the resources to seek things out on that level.

  4. Kerrie says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again here, Shakira is just great. This is my favorite album of hers and this is one of the songs that got more than its fair share of “repeat” hits on the cd player a few years back. Thanks for featuring it.

    And for the record, Y Tu Mama Tambien remains one of my favorite films (not that I watch it repeatedly, but because I thought it was just great!). πŸ™‚

  5. Dana says:

    Well, for the (blog) record, I thought Y Tu Mama was a very good film as well. I just didn’t think it was the number one best film of the year (as Clay did), and I thought that other AMerican films of that year were better, including Adaptation (my number 1),, Road to Pertition, Chicago, Catch Me if You Can, the first Spiderman, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and the Bourne Identity. My argument with Clay has been that Y Tu Mam would not have been number 1 on his list if it had been an American film.,

  6. Clay says:

    And my argument is that if it had been an American film, it wouldn’t have been Y Tu Mama Tambien!

  7. Kerrie Rueda says:

    I’ve seen your debates on this topic in the past I and I get what you’re trying to say, Dana, but I have to side with Clay in putting Y Tu Mama above some of the movies in your list. I happened to really like most of them (the Bourne Identity, Big Fat Greek Wedding, Chicago, etc.), but I, too, would rate Y Tu Mama above them. I would actually put it in a pretty dead heat with Adaptation, which was something special.

  8. Dana says:

    Yes, Clay, it would have been the Sure Thing.

    And, by the way, Kerrie, Clay HATED Greek Wedding, but when it was done in India as Monsoon Wedding, he loved it:)

  9. Clay says:

    Now, either you’re just being silly (quite possible!) or you don’t remember Y Tu Mama Tambien very well. I don’t recall any characters in The Sure Thing facing their early demise, or any exploration of societal class and socioeconomic clashes. What makes Y Tu Mama so special is that it’s a bawdy sex comedy while also being something far more emotional and insightful.

    And The Sure Thing is a great movie in its own right!

    I did hate Greek Wedding but all it has in common with Monsoon Wedding is a wedding. I loved Rachel Getting Married as well (for a lot of the same reasons) and that was set right here in the good old US of A.

  10. Dana says:

    I’m being half silly about Y Tu Mama.

    You, I assume, must be being even more silly to compare Greek Wedding to Rachel Getting Married. The tone and central themes of those movies couldn’t be more different.

    On the other hand, I found many similar themes in Monsoon and Greek Wedding.

  11. Dana says:

    Oh, and, as much you liked Rachel, I still say that it would be sitting higher on your list if it were Rachel Se Casa.:)

  12. Amy says:

    Look, I enjoyed Greek Wedding, but are we really comparing it to Rachel Getting Married? Come on, people. Come on!!

  13. Clay says:

    My point was that if you’re going to compare films because they feature weddings, you might as well throw that one in there.

  14. Dana says:

    I was just saying that Y Tu Mama is a road movie set in Mexico. I get that the Mexican element made it more interesting for an American audience, but it’s still a road movie, albeit a good one.

  15. Clay says:

    I don’t see why “road movie” is a negative, any more than “family comedy” or “relationship drama” is a negative.

  16. Dana says:

    Who said road movie was a negative”?

  17. Clay says:

    When you said “it’s still a road movie” I took that as some sort of limiting factor, as if a road movie shouldn’t be in the running for the year’s best film, regardless of language.

  18. Dana says:

    I didn’t say “still.”

  19. Clay says:

    See comment #14 above.

  20. dana says:

    Okay, I stand corrected, but I didn’t mean to demean road movies–I generally like them.

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