Lost in Translation: Shakira // “She Wolf”

Shakira’s “La Loba,” or “She Wolf” in English, is probably the worst remake made by any Hispanic musician since Enrique Iglesias’ “Dímelo” was transubstantiated into “Do You Know? (The Ping Pong Song).”

When I found out she had a new single, and that it was titled “La Loba,” I could tell what it was about right away: a slut. And I was right.

Then, I heard about this other song, “She Wolf,” and the first thing that popped into my head was a mutant extracted directly from DC Comics or Marvel literature — some sort of female super-hero or super-villain. Like Hawkgirl, or Cheetah.

Unfortunately for Shakira Isabel, I wasn’t that far from the truth.

The English version of the song does sound exactly the same, music-wise, as the one in Spanish, but the lyrics are not even close to a quasi-literal translation.

I only came to realize this two days ago. Tired of “Party in the USA,” I took over a friend’s iPod, scrolled down, and found Shakira’s name.

To be totally honest, I was looking for “La Tortura.” But my options were reduced to “Hips Don’t Lie” and “She Wolf.” I hate “Hips Don’t Lie,” and thought there wouldn’t be that much of a difference between the original and the translation, both of which I had heard in the past.

No, I was not drunk enough to just dance to the music of Shakira’s whored-up pop and omit the sacrilege of her lyrics in English. Where is the Colombian Alanis Morissette that I met in 1995 with “¿Dónde Estás Corazón?”

The whole song is a mess, but let’s mention the most remarkable fuck-ups:

En español:

Quién no ha querido a una diosa licántropa

En el ardor de una noche romántica

Mis aullidos son el llamado

Yo quiero un lobo domesticado

My take: Shakira is a wild sexual beast, a moaner into sadomasochism, looking for a submissive male partner.

In English:

A domesticated girl that’s all you ask of me

Darling it is no joke, this is lycanthropy

The moon’s awake now with eyes wide open

My body is craving, so feed the hungry

My take: Shakira is, in fact, a member of the X-Men. Most probably a misunderstood secondary character who wants to join Magneto’s team. The verse “The moon is awake now” implies that she has realized what she really wants — and it’s evil.

En español:

Por fin he encontrado un remedio infalible que borre del todo la culpa

No pienso quedarme a tu lado mirando la tele y oyendo disculpas

La vida me ha dado un hambre voraz y tu apenas me das caramelos

Me voy con mis piernas y mi juventud por ahí aunque te maten los celos

My take: She has a boyfriend, but the sex sucks. She’s young, sexy, and willing to cheat on him.

In English:

I’ve been devoting myself to you Monday to Monday and Friday to Friday

Not getting enough retribution or decent incentives to keep me at it

I’m starting to feel just a little abused like a coffee machine in an office

So I’m gonna go somewhere closer to get me a lover and tell you all about it

My take: She’s been on Professor Xavier’s side for too long, and it feels like she’s been wasting her time. Being an X-Woman is boring, so She Wolf will overcome Mystique and become Magneto’s lover.

En español:

Una loba en el armario

Tiene ganas de salir

Deja que se coma el barrio

Antes de irte a dormir

My take: She’s a slut, but she’s trapped in her relationship with the boring man that’s bad at sex. She plans to fuck the entire town before going to bed.

In English:

There’s a she wolf in the closet

Open up and set her free

There’s a she wolf in your closet

Let it out so it can breathe

My take: This is her good-bye note to Professor Xavier. She Wolf needs to be set free, she can only breathe by being a villain — she belongs with Magneto.

En español:

Tengo tacones de aguja magnética

Para dejar a la manada frenética

La luna llena como una fruta

No da consejos ni los escucha

My take: She has sky-high stilettos that attract men and make them go crazy. Then something about the moon, and fruit salad, and the moon being rude.

In English:

Sitting across a bar staring right at her prey

It’s going well so far, she’s gonna get her way

Nocturnal creatures are not so prudent

The moon’s my teacher, and I’m her student

My take: She’s not in the X-Men anymore. She Wolf is back to being the “nocturnal creature” Professor Xavier failed to domesticate. Then something about the moon, and the school system, and the moon being a teacher.

In short: gag.

My message to Shakira, and all Spanish-speaking singers of the world: please stop doing awful things to your own music. Please. Now.

Gracias.

Comments

  • best thing ever

    This was hilarious, yet so true.

  • Yaaaaaaaawwnn!

    Stop wastin’ your time…
    Try listen somethin’ much deeper,
    like Antoinette San Daniel or Bruce De La Pena.

    PS: your way of writin’ is boring too.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7U-HnAdWB4&translated=1

  • Justin

    It´s a phase that all artists go through, shakira is amplified, and there will NOT BE any pies descalzos again like in 1997, come on, think big. And dont waste your time, ask urself WHY Alanis Morisseste did not make it any bigger! she did NOT REINVENT HERSLEF, and she was left behind. GOOD FOR SHAKIRA!

  • Daniel

    Pfft this is so stupid. You are a musical snob

  • Angel

    interesting read but I don’t agree!! Justin’s comment about Reinvention is correct…if Shakira did not reinvent herself she would been history and would have never broken the European and American music market!! I love her old stuff and love her new music including She Wolf! I think you’re just boring lol

  • Patricia

    I read an interview with her somewhere where she said she wrote the english version first…which is so strange.

  • jakey

    this article is just ridiculous.
    plus…WHO CARES.
    Expecting Shakira to revert back to her “Pies Descalzos” (or DELL) style is getting old. Madonna was allowed to reinvent herself and yet Shakira isn’t. Some Shakira fans are stuck on this singular ideal image of Shakira that is unrealistic. They punish her for not consistently and rigidly being what THEY want her to be.

    She released “Pies Descalzos” when she was 18. 15 YEARS later I think it’s fine to allow her to do whatever she wants.

    Whatever. The fans who don’t like her new material will just have to move along. If she doesn’t fulfill their expectations, then they should find someone else who does.

    Contrary to some fans’ beliefs, Shakira is a human being with her own desires and interests…. and those interests very well may not be the same as they were 15 years ago and she may very well not have any desire to return to that state