Colombia’s most truthful hips returns with a sonically diverse album of mature pop tunes.
It has been four long years since Shakira‘s last album and I don’t think she’s under any illusion that she can just dance her way back into the Top 10.
You get a sense that she’s trying to take her music to different audiences with Shakira. (yes, annoyingly stylised with a period that ain’t nobody got time for) and a result, we’re faced with a mixed platter that serves a taste of folk country, reggae and Latin rave pop.
Album opener ‘Dare (La La La)’ is a crowd-pleasing dance track hemmed by Shakira and the producers behind Ke$ha‘s records, Dr Luke and Cirkut. She leads the way with bossy, spoken-word verses and a sing-along chorus simple enough for toddlers to follow. It’s such an odd inclusion because there is literally nothing else on the album that even comes close to the same stroblit region as it.
The headlining single ‘Can’t Remember to Forget You’ (featuring Rihanna) is the strongest track on Shakira. Its potent combination of rhythmic, reggae pop and a head-banging chorus is precisely what the doctor ordered.
Watch the stunning video for ‘Can’t Remember to Forget You’:
The pace and energy changes drastically after those two songs when the Latin pop megastar starts pitching tracks to different markets.
‘Broken Record’ – written by Shakira and Busbee (the guy who gave us Pink‘s ‘Try’) – is a gorgeous, acoustic ballad about loving someone with trust issues. “I need you to believe in my word. I feel like a broken record. And I told you 700 times, I don’t need to keep looking. You are the one.”
Elsewhere, the Colombian singer ropes in fellow The Voice USA coach Blake Shelton for her first foray into making Nashville pop. ‘Medicine’, written by Shakira and Carrie Underwood‘s hit makers Hillary Lindsey and Mark Bright, sounds like a future radio hit in waiting.
I don’t understand how those two were overlooked when they were looking for a second single. Maybe they thought ‘Empire’ – a dramatic rock ballad written by Steve Mac and Ina Wroldsen (writers for The Saturdays) – was better suited to the international market?
Watch Shakira‘s new video ‘Empire’:
This is the first Shakira album where the gifted singer/songwriter hasn’t had a hand in writing every single track, which is a shame because there are definitely moments where you miss her quirky lyricisms.
Who could forget these timeless lines?
- “Lucky that my breasts are small and humble, so you don’t confuse them with mountains!” – ‘Whenever, Wherever’
- “I’m starting to feel just a little abused like a coffee machine in an office.” – ‘She Wolf’
- “She’s almost six feet tall. She must think I’m a flea. I’m really a cat, you see? And it’s not my last life at all!” – ‘Don’t Bother’.
Overall, Shakira. leaves you wanting more and not in a good way. She can do any genre of music she wants, I see nothing wrong with that. The problem is, a lot of the songs on this album just aren’t that strong.
I think of all the past Shakira albums I enjoyed and I look at this one. The lyrics here lack the bite of those on Oral Fixation Vol. 2 and more so than ever, I miss the vibrant musical textures of records like ‘Objection (Tango)’, ‘She Wolf’ and ‘Loca’.
Stand out tracks: ‘Can’t Remember to Forget You’, ‘Broken Record’ and ‘Dare (La La La)’.
Shakira. is out in the UK on 24 March and in the US on 25 March.