Shakira’s “La Tortura” Lyrics Meaning

The noun in the title of this song (“La Tortura”) translates from Spanish into English as “torture”. And it is symbolic of the emotional pain the female vocalist, Shakira, has gone through due to losing the man she loves. And that man would be the male vocalist, portrayed by Alejandro Sanz. The overall implication is that he is the one who messed the relationship between the two of them up.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Alejandro Sanz's La Tortura at

But he has apparently come to realize the mistake he has made and as such is entreating Shakira to take him back. So for the most part what we have in “La Tortura” is a scenario in which he is asserting that he has ‘learned from his mistakes’, and she is basically telling him that his words are falling on deaf ears. In other words, even though it was difficult for her at first, now she has made peace with the fact that they are no more. By virtue of this, she is not interested in entertaining him romantically.


So thematically this is your standard song of a lover who has messed up and come to realize the error of his ways. However, the sentiments being relayed are from both partners in this situation. But what really makes this song unique from a lyrical standpoint is that whereas Alejandro is once again a “repentant man”, he still implies that he may see other woman even if Shakira takes him back. Or rather let’s say that he perceives his aforementioned mistakes as, to some degree, being natural.

But at the end of the day, Shakira is relaying two fundamental sentiments.  One is that it was indeed painful, even a “torture”, to lose Alejandro. But second is that in the here and now, she is not going to take him back.

Lyrics of "La Tortura"

Facts about “Lat Tortura”

This track was released by Epic Records as the lead single from Shakira’s bestselling album “Fijación Oral, Vol. 1”. It’s date of release was the 12th of April, 2005.

Michael Haussman was the director of the music video for “La Tortura”. It earned three nominations at the 2005 MTV VMAs. Furthermore, it also holds the distinction of being the first music video aired by MTV to be exclusively in Spanish.

The song itself was likewise a smash hit. For example, it topped three Billboard charts (Hot Latin SongsLatin Pop Songs and Tropical Songs) in the United States. In fact it set a record for maintaining the number one spot on the Hot Latin Songs chart for 25 weeks.

It also topped music charts in Hungary, Romania, Spain and Venezuela. And altogether it charted in over 15 nations and has been certified multi-Platinum in the US and Gold in a number of other countries. Indeed having sold in the area of six million copies worldwide, “La Tortura” is recognized as one of the top-selling songs of all-time.

Accordingly this track was nominated for a number of awards and took home quite a few, including three 2005 Latin Billboard Music Awards. They are as follows:

  • Ringtone of the Year
  • Song of the Year 
  • Song of the Year, Vocal Duet

Furthermore, it won two 2006 Latin Grammy Awards (Record of the Year and Song of the Year).

Did Shakira write “La Tortura”?

Yes. This song was actually written and produced by Shakira, with Luis F. Ochoa also receiving songwriting credit.

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