Photo Courtesy of RCA Records
It’s been four years since the release of her last album and five years since her last English album. Now Shakira is back with an explosive new self-titled record released on March 25. Not only has she experienced different emotions in her personal life with the birth of her son, Milan, but she also has experimented with different musical elements in the new release, including reggae, country and rock.
The Colombian superstar has been working on the album for more than two years, while at the same time starring as one of the coaches of “The Voice” alongside Adam Levine, Usher and Blake Shelton. Shelton is just one of the many collaborators in the album, which also features Rihanna, Max Martin, Benny Blanco, Sia, Skrillex and more.
The lead single “Can’t Remember To Forget You,” featuring Rihanna, was released in January, bringing an unexpected reggae influence on the verses and a remarkable rock chorus. It was an obvious yet brilliant idea to invite Rihanna to sing on the track, since she naturally incorporates these genres in her own music. The single was the perfect choice to get people excited for the album because similar sounds are reproduced and explored in other tracks throughout it.
“Cut Me Deep,” for example, is a straight reggae song with powerful lyrics: “You cut me deep/ Your words are like steel.” Meanwhile, her current single, “Empire,” is a rock masterpiece — once again Shakira manages to transform relatively simple verses into a massive, complex chorus. Even though there are many other good tracks on the record, it’s an amazing arrangement and catchy melodies make this ballad the best one.
Fellow “The Voice” coach and friend, Shelton, clearly played a major role on the album, not only with his featured song, “Medicine,” but also with the country influence in general. “23,” for instance, is a Taylor Swift sound-alike that narrates the time when she met her boyfriend who was 23 years old and how she believes in destiny.
Widely known for her dance moves, Shakira is now making her fans dance along with heavy club songs. One of them, “Chasing Shadows,” is an energetic bonus track written by Sia. The other dance track called “Dare (La La La),” has the potential to be a global hit — there is a version of the tune that will serve as the official song of the Brazilian World Cup, and it certainly “sounds like Brazil,” as the singer describes. It is being promoted as the second international single.
As a pop singer, Shakira provides undeniably catchy pop songs too. “The One Thing” is an up-tempo track written for her son that instantly recalls teen pop productions of the early 2000s. Following the same style, “Spotlight” is a pop-rock song about living under a microscope that is reminiscent of Avril Lavigne’s early sound, in a positive way.
The biggest standout of the record has to be “You Don’t Care About Me.” Even those who don’t like Shakira’s music should consider listening to this killer song, since they will probably hear it on the radio in the future. Its alternative sound combined with relatable words and an addictive melody gives it the quality needed to become a commercial and critical smash worthy of a Grammy nomination.
Not surprisingly, “Shakira” is already a commercial success, reaching the top of the iTunes charts in more than 60 different countries within one day after its release. Shakira topped all the expectations for this album as a singer, songwriter and producer. She proved to the world why she deserves to be one of the most popular artists on the planet and the most popular on Facebook, with more than 87 million likes.
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