Shakira & Rihanna
Can’t Remember To Forget You
Shakira and Rihanna still have feelings for a mutual ex-boyfriend in the exuberant “Can’t Remember To Forget You.”
Coltish synths open the single, setting a waltzing tone. Shakira zips up her jeans and looks at the sign she pasted above her bed. In bold, capital letters it reads: Be strong. She looks down on the floor and checks her phone. She received a text from her ex-boyfriend, asking her how she’s doing. She starts typing a response and then stops. She’s doing it again. She’s fallling for his lines. But on the other hand, she believes, he’s a lonely guy who needs a good friend in his life. He stands out with his quiet demeanor and feistiness. (“I left a note on my bedpost/Said not to repeat/Yesterday's mistakes/What I tend to do/When it comes to you/I see only the good/Selective memory/The way he makes me feel, yeah/Gotta hold on me/I've never met someone so different.”)
In the pre-chorus, he has become a permenant part of her life. He has place in her heart. Whatever he tells her to do, she’ll listen. Her blind faith in him hasn’t gone away. (“Oh here we go/He a part of me now/He a part of me/So where you go I follow, follow, follow.”)
In the chorus, Shakira thinks of him everyday. When she hangs out with him, he gives her a look and she can’t focus. She is reliving their kisses on her doorstep. (“I can't remember to forget you/I keep forgetting I should let you go/But when you look at me/
The only memory is us kissing in the moonlight/I can't remember to forget you.”)
Rihanna pulls off his shirt and he leads her to his bed. She promised herself that she would ignore his calls and wouldn’t talk to him at all. However, he joked with her and she couldn’t stop laughing. The next thing she knew, she was driving over to his apartment. For the entire half hour, she was asking herself why she was going over there. (“I go back again/Fall off the train/Land in his bed/Repeat yesterday's mistakes/What I'm trying to say is not to forget/You see only the good, selective memory/The way he makes me feel like/The way he makes me feel/I never seemed to act so stupid.”)
In the pre-chorus, Rihanna would get back together with him and drop everything to be his girlfriend again. Shakira concurs, joining in for the (“Oh here we go/He a part of me now/He a part of me/So where he goes I follow, follow, follow.”)
In the second chorus, Shakira “oh ohs” as Rihanna says she’s still in love with him. (“I can't remember to forget you/I keep forgetting I should let you go/But when you look at me/The only memory is us kissing in the moonlight/I can't remember to forget you.”)
In the bridge, first Shakira says she’ll willing to commit a crime for him. She’ll give away her savings if it means he’s hers alone. Next, Rihanna expresses the same. (“I rob and I kill to keep him with me/I do anything for that boy/I'd give my last dime to hold him tonight/I do anything for that boy/I rob and I kill to keep him with me/I do anything for that boy/I'd give my last dime to hold him tonight/I do anything for that boy.”)
In the third chorus, Shakira and Rihanna trade the verses.
In the final section, Rihanna says she thinks of kissing him goodbye. But it’s Shakira who gets the last word. (“But when you look at me/The only memory is us kissing in the moonligh/ I can't remember to forget you.”)
Shakira’s mighty vocals are prepared to scratch his current girl’s eyes out. She reasons that he’s heartbroken and is need of someone. That little chickadee he’s with now isn’t any true competition. It’s fitting she gets she final lyric. She’s going to win him back no matter what.
Rihanna’s small vocals resign herself to whatever she can get. Sure, he may not love her. But for a few hours, he does care for her. She thinks she can’t do any better.
The arrangement allows for both performers to be spotlighted. With some elements of Latin dance and R&B, it’s works to both of their strengths. Aside from the song beginning with Shakira and with her getting the last line, the song keeps favoritism to a minimum.
The fair “Can’t Remember To Forget You” should delight both fanbases.