Shakira needs no introduction, but humor me here. She’s a 12-time Latin Grammy Award winner, the recipient of this year’s MTV Vanguard Music Video Award, and she’s been a signed music artist since she was 13.
I worship at her feet (and share the same birthday) the way others do for Taylor Swift. And because of her long-standing career, we the people — nay, the devoted fans — have had *so many* music videos to watch over the years (77, per her official YouTube page).
And that’s what brings us here today. The woman is hypnotizing onscreen (a hyperbole or the truth?). And her dance moves have inspired and captured the best of us. In fact, my sophomore chemistry teacher caught me practicing Shakira’s “La Tortura” dance (you know the one) when I should have been memorizing a formula.
She has so many videos to choose from, and while narrowing them down was hard, I decided to make a top 20 list.
Before we get into it, I do have some Honorable Mentions because there were so many videos that I couldn’t cover them all:
“Beautiful Liar” by Beyoncé ft. Shakira — This is technically a Beyoncé song (on her B’Day album) so I couldn’t add it to the list, but this video… Who is who?! Truly, that dance break toward the end will have you wondering.
“TQG” by Karol G ft. Shakira — I really wanted to feature this song, but alas, it’s technically a Karol G song. It’s got a Truman Show reference, and it's a collaboration sprouted from the two being scorned by their ex-partners — and yes, I learned the dance to this as well.
“Las de la Instuicion” The 2007 video is very dated. Shakira wears a short purple wig and dances behind a large sheet of what seems to be saran wrap. It’s fun and quirky, even if you don’t recognize Shakira as the pop star that she is now.
OK — let's get into this list.
20.“Trap” Ft. Maluma
Starting things off, we have this minimalist video directed by Jaume de Laiguana (who we’ll see again). Shakira collaborates with Maluma quite a bit, and while they’re always great together, this isn’t their best video. But there’s still just a tiny bit of dancing — and Shakira lying in a pool of…milk?...somehow, someway, works. The video is mostly a bunch of closeups, but these are very hot people so who cares?
19.“Perro Fiel” Ft. Nicky Jam
The opening shot of this video alone is what establishes this one on the list. Three (shirtless) women, with their backs to the camera, act as cellos as the instrument starts off the song. But what starts as a classical moment ends with dirt bikes racing at night? IDK how all these things correlate, but Shakira gives us ultimate cool girl. Plus, we’ve got Nicky-Nicky-Nicky Jam (La Industria Inc., IYKYK).
18.“Hips Don’t Lie” ft. Wyclef Jean
From 2006, we’ve got arguably her most popular song (for the US, at least). This video was directed by Sophie Muller, and we see another music video reinvention — the dancing between hung-up sheets. Here, multiple canopies are hung from the ceiling, resembling jellyfish, through which Shakira playfully dances and flirts with the camera. It’s iconic, her hips really are mesmerizing, and everyone wanted to dance like her when this came out.
Since things don’t kick off until halfway through this video, I had to place it toward the bottom of this list, but once you get past that first half, it gets really fun! She spends the better part of the video singing into a man’s ear as he lies unconscious on the floor, and then things escalate. We get a hot and steamy moment of them taking a (clothed) shower together before panning to a junkyard where Shakira plays the guitar before driving a forklift. I love Rockstar Shakira — it’s how she started, and when we get a glimpse into that, it’s always great. I also love that she's smashing this dude’s car in the junkyard.
A love letter to her two kids, Milan and Sasha, I avoided watching this when it was first released because I knew it was going to make me cry. After watching, I can confirm that I teared up. Her two boys play piano and sing with her as images of their house flash across the screen and their childhood is packed up in boxes. This alludes to her family’s move from Spain to Florida, and it’s emotional; the lighting and focus are dark but tender.
15.“Lo Hecho Está Hecho”
This video has a lot going on, but the main reason I have it on this list is because of the choreography on the bed. When So You Think You Can Dance first aired, my mom and I were avid watchers, and this video choreography could have easily been a contemporary dance for the competitors on the show. She did release an English version of this song and video, but I really think you need to watch/listen in Spanish (and Google the translation after!).
Directed by Jaume de Laiguana (who we’ll see again), this somber video is a drastic shift from her usual upbeat, dance-laden videos. And just as the song title suggests, she dramatically has nothing in her small lighthouse home. No water to fill her cup, no words inside the sole book to read, and nothing in her fridge. I especially love the part where she crawls underneath her bed, because who hasn’t laid on the floor, for dramatic effect, after a crushing breakup? She’s heartbroken, alone by the sea, and yet, she still looks like a goddess.
This is another quintessential Shakira song. I know not one soul unfamiliar with this song; it’s one of her most popular ones (especially here in America). It’s been a while since I last saw the video, and rewatching did not disappoint. It’s just as iconic and over the top as I remember. I had forgotten about the herd of CGI horses that run by her side and the sunset background that looks like a computer screen saver — or like one of those videos you could get made at the mall.
12.“Pies Descalzos, Sueños Blancos”
Shakira was for the artists and the eccentrics when she first released music videos. Stripped of the belly-dancing, and the bleached blonde hair, we get a 20-year-old Shakira playing guitar with her band in a dry field where people’s legs are sticking up from the ground. There is also an image of a woman on top of a hill, sitting underneath an apple tree and eating from a bucket of apples (Eve, is that you?). The video also opens up with a masquerade ball, and the masks are…creepy. Give it a watch, you won’t be disappointed.
11.“Clandestino” Ft. Maluma
Shakira and Maluma team up again for this moody, beachside visual. To me, this is one of those “can’t look away” videos, but not because there’s an abundance of things happening. Shakira looks stunning in her beach dress, the pair are shown *once again* looking great together, and there’s an element of Shakira playing around with the “caged” theme that we often see in her videos. This one is also directed by Jaume de Laiguana.
10.“Copa Vacia” Ft. Manuel Turizo
We’re halfway there! Starting the top 10, we’ve got one of Shakira’s newest videos. She’s a mermaid fresh out of water who is put in a tank (hello again, cage theme), with one beautiful shot showing her singing underneath a waterfall with Manuel Turizo. It seems she’s bringing back her original propensity to tell a story and include major symbolism in her new round of videos, and while I love her choreography, there is so much more to gain from a Shakira who can be more creative with her work.
The earliest video in the top 10, “No Creo” was released in 1999, from her fourth studio album, Donde Están los Ladrones? *Cue Stefan’s voice* This video has everything: dark-haired Shakira, a tiny Shakira surrounded by giants, eccentric people on a lawn, a crowd seemingly against (or maybe for?) Karl Marx (his poster is on the wall, IDK), and an underwater scene. As she walks through these different scenes, she sings about not believing in anyone but her lover. It’s a colorful and vibrant video, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you’re missing out.
8.“Te Aviso, Te Anuncio (Tango)”
Dave Meyers (who would later direct Ariana Grande’s “Positions” and Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” videos) was the man behind the camera on this one. I rewatched it for the first time in years, and I forgot how fun this video is. Shakira is fighting her cheating boyfriend and his mistress in a bar, which is turned into comic book graphics, and we also get Rockstar Shakira again! When she’s not doing the tango and shaking her hips, she’s playing guitar with her band and head banging. For coming out in 2002, it still holds up.
7.“Chantaje” Ft. Maluma
Only Shakira can make dancing in a grimy bathroom look hot. Directed by Jaume de Laiguana, a frequent collaborator, this video also has lion fountains pouring out onto Shakira lying on a couch, Maluma and Shakira dancing and taking shots at a bar, and moody red lighting.
6.“Te Felicito” Ft. Rauw Alejandro
Shakira sings about a two-face liar and congratulates them on being a good actor while building her perfect robot boyfriend, Rauw Alejandro. While the song is a verbal slap to her ex, the futuristic vibe of the video is very fun, the visuals are stunning, and we get to see Rauw and Shakira dance together.
5.“Monotonía” Ft. Ozuna
When news of Shakira’s separation from Piqué became public, this song followed, painting a painful picture of their ending. (“Te Felicito” dropped before the news came out, which should have alerted us.) The video dramatically depicts getting your heart completely battered by love, and Shakira does a great job of telling that story. Unlike “Nada,” she gives us a playful video with CGI (I mean, her heart gets bazooka’d out of her chest). The whole “music video in a grocery store” has been done so many times, but Shakira gives us something new here, and I think we can all appreciate that.
4.“El Jefe” Ft. Fuerza Regida
No notes. This song and the accompanying video are brilliant. If you zoom out, it’s a song about the inequality between workers and bosses, but if you zoom in, it’s a song about Shakira’s nanny, who was fired with no compensation by Shakira’s cheating, futbol-playing ex (Shakira rehired her, and she’ll allegedly get royalties from the video). We love a dual message. You can spot her nanny, Lili Melgar, featured at the end of the video.
3.“Can’t Remember to Forget You” Ft. Rihanna
Remember when Britney Spears and Madonna danced with a wall between them in “Me Against the Music”? Well, I’m going to be brave and say that Rihanna and Shakira do it better here. I usually have an “eat the rich” mentality, but these two rich women gallivanting, dancing, and lounging around a mansion while smoking cigars and stacking their expensive jewelry is OK with me. OH, and you have Shakira playing drums and the guitar in the middle of the pool. ICONIC.
If you watched Shakira’s performance at this year’s VMAs, you’ll remember that she kicked things off with this song, including the body-bending visuals she used in the video. It’s iconic. It was hard to choose first and second place here, and I had to watch them both a lot to finally come to a decision, but I think I stand firmly on this hill. We see the symbolism of being caged again, and we see her truly embracing a weirdness again. She’s dancing in a pink glitter cave with an amazing cutout jumpsuit, dancing to the moon on a rooftop, showing her innate need for a wild side, and then, in the end, she wakes up in her closet and climbs into bed with her unsuspecting partner.
1.“La Tortura” Ft. Alejandro Sanz
I guess y'all should have known from the intro that I would be picking this as number one. This video never gets old. The thing that Shakira does best is commit to the weird and unserious — she’s literally doused in oil (or mud? IDK) for choreography that only she can execute beautifully. Plus, the chemistry and tension between Shakira and Alejandro’s characters, the dancing on the countertop... Argue with someone else, this is her best video.
Let me know what you think in the comments, and if I missed your fave, air it all out (respectfully) below!
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