“La Camisa Negra” is one of the most hilarious songs recorded in modern history. “Uno por pobre y feo, home’ Pero antojao’/this happened to me not because I’m poor and ugly/ but because I was craving” is the way Juanes starts off his love revenge romp. The singer/songwriter then proceeds to spew off a bunch of double entendres that would please your champion freestyle MC. Its pop rock cumbia rhythm gives you a joyous feel even though Juanes is essentially saying a woman broke his will to love, he might not trust anyone again, and his soul, like his shirt, is darkness incarnate.
“La Camisa Negra,” perhaps one of Juanes’ biggest hits, charted in over 15 countries. The megahit took a good ol’ boy raised in Medellín and placed him firmly in the epicenter of popular music. In fact, his third album, Mi Sangre (My Blood), which celebrates its 15th anniversary today, was his most complete work to date and created the international, philanthropic artist we see today. Full of songs of love lost and love gained, Mi Sangre was a triumph in Latinx music and an apex of hope in Colombia.
Years removed from the death and gloom brought on by the narco-terrorists of the day, Colombia was experiencing a new time on the global stage and it was due to its musicians—Shakira, Carlos Vives and Juanes. With his inspiring, at times sociopolitical, music, Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez transformed the image of his beautiful country, Colombia, which had dealt with a dark history of death and drug lords in the ’80s and ‘90s. Mi Sangre healed his country and created a legend in the process.
Case in point: “Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor,” is another gem off of Mi Sangre. It’s a beautiful love poem—word for word a triumph in love songs. Juanes acknowledges that his errors weigh heavier than age on his love, and proceeds to detail the power his partner has on his life. As he exclaims, “I’m nothing without your love,” we’d be remiss to think the same—the world would be darker without Juanes’ Mi Sangre.