Song of the Day #2,719: ‘Timor’ – Shakira

oral_fixationI am not a fan of political songs. Nothing turns me off more than a pop star name-dropping world leaders and drumming up sympathy for the down-trodden or hungry.

I once had a rule that any song containing the name “Margaret Thatcher” must suck, until Aimee Mann earned an exception with ‘You’re With Stupid Now.’

Given that aversion to social activism through pop songs, I should dislike Shakira’s ‘Timor,’ the final track on her 2006 album, Oral Fixation, Vol. 2. The song is about how we rationalize and ignore global problems like those in East Timor. And here’s where I admit that I know nothing about East Timor, including where it is on a map or what exactly is so bad about living there.

But I really dig this song, perhaps because I’m oblivious to the details of its subject matter. Or perhaps it’s because Shakira has the balls to deliver a message like this through a kick-ass beat and a catchy chorus. Maybe that’s the secret to a successful protest song — make ’em dance.

[Intro]
Timor, Timor
Yale, Yale
East Timor, Timor
Timor, Timor
Timor, Timor

[Break]
Going on and on and on and on
This is going on and on and on and on now
Said it once and say it twice
I want to save your time
Safety, safety

[Verse 1]
It’s alright, it’s alright
Cause the system never fails
The good guys are in power
And the bad guys are in jail
It’s alright, it’s alright
Just as long as we can vote
We live in democracy
And that’s what we promote

[Break]
Isn’t it? Isn’t it?
Isn’t it? Isn’t it?

[Verse 2]
It’s alright, it’s alright
If the news says half the truth
Hearing what we want’s
The secret of eternal youth
It’s alright, it’s alright
If the planet splits in three
Cause I’ll keep on selling records
And you’ve got your MTV

[Chorus]
If we forget about them
Don’t worry
If they forget about us
Then hurry
How about the people who don’t matter anymore?

[Post-Chorus]
East Timor
Timor, Timor

[Verse 6]
It’s alright, it’s alright
They don’t show it all on TV
So we won’t really know it
Just by watching *BC
It’s alright, it’s alright
For our flag we die or kill
As long as we don’t know it
We’d do it just to pay the bills

[Chorus] x2

[Post-Chorus]
East Timor
Timor, Timor

[Bridge]
Let’s keep tanning while it’s sunny
They’ll risk our hides to make their money
Now don’t you find that funny?

[Chorus] x2

[Outro]
East Timor
Timor, Timor
East Timor
Timor, Timor
East Timor

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,719: ‘Timor’ – Shakira

  1. Dana says:

    You count Bob Dylan among your favorite artists and you don’t like political/social songs? I guess Dylan falls into the kick ass pop song exception that makes you dance!😄

  2. Clay says:

    Well, to be fair, Dylan wrote protest songs for only a couple of years over two albums. But yes, I would call him a major exception even though those songs aren’t my favorite of his.

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