Shakira is one of the best-known singers in the world and one of the best-selling musical artists of all time. Labeled as the Queen of Latin Music, she has found a home in English and Spanish-speaking markets around the globe, pioneering the way for Latin singers and consistently releasing albums of incredible music. Known for her dancing skills and philanthropic work, she is much more than just a singer and songwriter. In this article, we’ll take a look at the 25 best Shakira songs and rank them based on their success, catchiness, and lyrical prowess.
1. Whenever, Wherever
Whenever, Wherever was the breakthrough single that brought Shakira to the English-speaking world. Coming from her English debut album, she mostly sings about how lucky she is to have found her lover. It served as the lead single and quickly rose on the charts, peaking at number six in the US and topping charts in 29 countries worldwide. A signature song for her, it earned a platinum or higher certification in 17 countries. The Spanish version of the track was titled Suerte, meaning “Luck” in English.
2. Hips Don’t Lie
Even if other songs charted better internationally, Shakira’s most famous track is likely Hips Don’t Lie. A reworking of Wyclef Jean’s song Dance Like This, the track eventually became one of the greatest singles of the 21st century. It became her first and only number-one single in the US and topped the charts in 17 countries internationally.
It broke the record for radio plays in a single week at the time in 2006 and followed that up with sales records that made it one of the best-selling singles of all time. Even if you’ve never heard another song she put out, you’ve likely still heard this one, and it’s one of the catchiest tracks of all time.
3. Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)
The theme song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Waka Waka (This Time For Africa) is still one of the catchiest tracks out there. It immediately became a massive hit, becoming the most successful song of the year in seven different countries and earning diamond certifications in four of those.
It generates new reserves of popularity every now and then, eventually turning it into one of the best-selling singles of all time with over 15 million worldwide downloads and sales. Its music video was just as incredible, featuring cameos from some of the biggest stars of the football world and earning nearly four billion YouTube views in the process.
4. Underneath Your Clothes
Underneath Your Clothes was another great song from Shakira’s debut English album Laundry Service in 2001. A power ballad telling the story of a woman’s unconditional love, many called it one of the highlights of the album. Her then-boyfriend appearing in the music video interestingly got her albums banned throughout Argentina, but I guess that comes with the territory of dating a politician’s child.
5. She Wolf
She Wolf was the title track of Shakira’s eighth album and served as the lead single for the album in 2009. It mostly depicts her relationship doldrums thanks to an uncaring partner and how she looks for others to keep her satisfied. A fiery and fierce single, it made it to number 11 on both the Hot 100 and the Dance charts, with the Spanish-language version reaching the top of both the Latin and Tropical Song charts.
6. Can’t Remember to Forget You
Can’t Remember To Forget You was released on Shakira’s eponymous fourth English album in 2014. Featuring Rihanna, the song was an uptempo genre infusion that blended rock, reggae, and pop together. It may not be one of her most memorable hits among casual listeners, but it should definitely rank among her best offerings. The track earned a double-diamond certification in Brazil and peaked at number 15 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Gypsy became one of Shakira’s most successful singles in both English and Spanish markets. It mostly details the traveling lifestyle of a touring performer, focusing on the loneliness associated with being on the move constantly. It was also another international hit for the singer, breaking into the top 10 of numerous charts worldwide.
8. Beautiful Liar
Beautiful Liar was originally produced for Beyoncé’s album B’Day and was released in 2007. The track was a blend of Shakira’s Latin and Arabic influences with Beyoncé’s R&B style, featuring two female protagonists agreeing the man who charmed them both wasn’t worth fighting over. It was nominated for a Grammy Award and two Latin Grammys, eventually taking home an Ivor Novello Award for Best-Selling British Song.
Empire portrayed Shakira as being part of a power couple so influential that it could unite the world behind them. While she is very much known for her dancing skills, it was her vocal talents on display in this song, drawing comparisons to incredible vocalists like Joni Mitchell and Jewel. In the US, it was a moderate hit, peaking at number 58 on the Hot 100.
Loca was originally a single released by Colombian singer El Cata, but it achieved mainstream success when Shakira released a cover version of it as the lead single from her album Sale El Sol in 2010. It interestingly was found to be in copyright violation in a US court, but the judgment was thrown out after evidence was proven to have been fabricated. The English version of the song became an international hit, rising to the top 10 in numerous countries. The Spanish version topped Latin charts and in Spain.
11. Don’t Bother
Don’t Bother was a song with a simple message of going to any length to please your lover, but the lyricism in the track was able to cover so many topics that it’s a boon to Shakira on its own. Internationally, the track broke into the top 10 in 12 different countries, and it served as the headlining song of her Oral Fixation Tour.
12. La Tortura ft. Alejandro Sanz
La Tortura tells the harrowing tale of a woman who is emotionally tortured by her lover thanks to him cheating on her and leaving her for someone else. In a twist that only adds to the trauma, he comes back and begs her for forgiveness. It was truly Shakira at her best, and the track spent a total of 25 weeks on top of the Hot Latin Songs chart.
Clandestino was released as a standalone single in 2018. It was initially meant to be the lead single of her 12th album, but it was decided that it wouldn’t be included on the album and therefore stood by itself. It topped several charts across Latin and South America, scoring eight number-ones after its initial release and rising to number 17 on the Hot Latin Songs chart.
Illegal might be a song many forgot, as it was released directly after Hips Don’t Lie. The pop-country ballad was an entirely new version of Shakira that featured mournful guitar riffs from Santana. It was a moderate chart success, mostly finding it as an international hit on dance club charts.
15. Ojos Así
Ojos Así was praised as one of the best tracks on Shakira’s album Dónde Están Los Ladrones? in 1998. With major influences from Arab pop, the song focuses on the singer’s travels around the world and never seeing anyone with eyes like her lovers. The famed Gloria Estefan covered the track, and this English version was later sung by Shakira and found a home on her debut English album.
16. Objection (Tango)
Objection was the very first song Shakira wrote in the English language, and it first appeared on her Laundry Service album. It focuses on the singer wanting to end a love triangle she has apparently become trapped in, drawing on pop, rock, and tango music for its catchy tunes. It was the last track from the album to chart in the US, reaching number 17 on the Latin Pop Airplay and Tropical charts.
17. Perro Fiel
Perro Fiel was released as the sixth single from Shakira’s 2017 album El Dorado. It originated as a song by Nicky Jam for his album Fenix, though his recording was presented as a demo to Shakira, and she wrote new lyrics for the track and made it part of her album. You can still find the original version online, as it was leaked in 2016 after not being included in Nicky Jam’s album.
Another single released from El Dorado, Chantaje served as the album’s lead single and was another great collaboration between Shakira and Maluma. It was most famously performed by her during the 2020 Super Bowl Halftime Show. It made it to the top of several Mexican charts, as well as becoming a number-one single in Chile, Brazil, Spain, and a few other countries.
19. Antes de las Seis
Antes De Las Seis was a huge hit across Latin America and Spain, breaking into the top 20 of every country’s charts in that region. In Columbia, it even made it to number one before it was officially released as a single. Interestingly, the melody of the song has an Oriental touch and is played on a Japanese koto.
20. Sale El Sol
Sale El Sol is the title track of Shakira’s ninth studio album, one which won a Latin Grammy Award and was nominated for Album of the Year. It brought together alternative rock and the folk and Latin musical influences she is best known for, performing incredibly well in Spain and Mexico.
21. Don’t You Worry
Don’t You Worry was an incredible collaboration that saw Shakira, the Black Eyed Peas, and David Guetta all team up to produce an incredible track for the Black Eyed Peas’ ninth studio album Elevation. It found a ton of success across Europe, North America, and Latin America, breaking into the top 10 of numerous dance and Top 40 charts across all regions.
22. Dare (La La La)
Shakira has a way with international communities that can only be summed up by her—earlier—inclusion as the starring artist of the World Cup. We went over one track already, but in 2014, she was also the singer behind the tournament’s theme song Dare (La La La). It was a celebration of everything about the World Cup that is so great, bringing people together and uniting them in sport and track at the same time.
Rabiosa was released as the third single from Sale El Sol and was a mixture of reggaeton, merengue, and Arabic music. Pairing Shakira’s vocal talents with Pitbull’s rap verses turned out to be a win for listeners, giving the song a playful vibe that helped turn it into a top-10 hit internationally.
24. Try Everything
Try Everything was written for the 2016 film Zootopia and was recorded by the Gazelle in the movie—who was also voiced by Shakira. It debuted and peaked at number 63 on the Hot 100 and earned double platinum status in the US.
25. La Bicicleta
La Bicicleta was included on both Shakira’s El Dorado album and Carlos Vives’s album Vives. It was the first time she collaborated with a fellow Colombian artist and was meant to represent both singers’ styles from their homeland. It’s meant to be a nostalgic track, focusing on both singers returning to their childhood homes and exploring their memories throughout the lyrics. It won two Latin Grammy Awards, taking home both Song of the Year and Record of the Year at the 17th Annual Awards show.
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