Objection (Tango)

A lot of pop artists like to sample a little tango riff every now and then, for a touch of class, a whiff of the exotic. And I pretty much always love it when they do. Shakira does it with more conviction than most, though. Obviously having the cultural familiarity helps, and she’s just generally a badass who dives without fear of embarrassment into whatever genre she feels like taking on. I also love the video, which is both sexy and silly. That pretty much sums up the singer’s personality too; she’s a sexy sex kitten who actually acts like she’s having fun and doesn’t mind being ridiculous sometimes. I’ve always found her very likable and genuine. Which is saying something because most pop stars on her level pretty much have to be fembots. Writing, performing and producing a string of globally popular genre hopping hits for over a decade is no small achievement, either, of course, and there should not be any reason why being a hit machine is incompatible with being a likable human being, but somehow there it is; most hit machines are just that. The fact that Shakira appears to enjoy doing what she does still makes her a bit of an anomaly in the world of pop vixens. Especially in light of the revelation that Kesha – purveyor of shamelessly naughty party-girl anthems – had been molded into her pop star persona under extreme duress and possible threat of violence, we have to think deeply about what it means for women to take on the role of big sexy pop star, and how many of them are actually comfortable inhabiting that role, and how much real freedom of expression a pop star at that level of success actually has. A big sexy pop star who writes and produces her own material, who has the training and experience to create her own choreography, who has studied music and dance and is equipped to make her own creative decisions – most definitely an anomaly.


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