Shakira’s “Whenever, Wherever” reaches No. 1 on iTunes – – 18 years later

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Shakira. One name says it all – – and love her or hate her, nearly everyone knew that her hips don’t lie. The Colombian singer burst onto the US music scene and added a new voice to the growing contingent of Latinx performers. Still, she was different. Maybe it was her moves, or her voice. Regardless of the element that set her apart, Shakira was as singular as her name. Then, she seemingly disappeared. Until this year’s Super Bowl half-time show. While audiences knew she was scheduled to appear, not all viewers knew exactly what to expect. Once she performed at the Super Bowl on Feb. 2, 2020, interest in the singer seemed renewed, as her hit from 2002,”Whenever, Wherever” soared to No. 1 on iTunes.

Shakira, Super Bowl and after-the-fact success

It is worth noting that when it was first released, “Whenever, Wherever” did not reach No. 1 on Billboard. At No. 6, the song was still a hit, however. The news of the song reaching No.1 on iTunes has been reported by People.com and Yahoo.com.

The phenomenon makes it seem as if people had forgotten who she was until she performed at the sports event that practically marks an unofficial holiday for some Americans. Her still-stunning looks, as well as those of her co-performer, Jennifer Lopez, have kept the Internet buzzing for days afterward. But looks are one thing; an 18-year-old song is another.

So what is the staying power of “Whenever, Wherever”? For people who like dance music (whether strictly defined or simply music that can be danced to, regardless of genre) the beat is catchy, and verges on the hypnotic. The beat, plus the challenge of attempting to dance like Shakira can be powerful elements for some audiences. In a larger sense, maybe it made sense to re-embrace Shakira because of the year of the woman ideology that is growing in popularity, and the continued inclusion of Latinx voices in popular culture, politics, and elsewhere. Or, audiences simply thought the singer and her song were cool and embraced them. That is completely possible.

At any rate, Shakira proved that just because a song seemed to have lived its lifespan and faded away, does not mean that it cannot be revived with the help of shaking hips.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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