The She Wolf is back. It’s been five years since her last English language album ‘She Wolf’ and now Shakira Shakira (Wyclef klaxon) returns with a new album entitled…’Shakira’. By Shakira. See what she did there.
Yet ‘Shakira’ is basically Shakira by numbers, which is disappointing seeing as that five year hiatus has resulted in no development in her music. Yes, the self-title may be to re-establish Shakira’s career beyond her role as coach on the US series of the Voice, but there’s no surprises here.
‘Shakira’ has all the guitar licks, reggae beats and Latin spirit you would expect from Shakira. There’s even a Spanish version of Can’t Remember To Forget You (Nunca Me Acuerdo de Olvidarte), but it’s still a bit rubbish. Shakira has always been best at up-tempo tracks and that remains true on this album – from the stomping and bitter You Don’t Care About Me, to the seductive rock-reggae of Cut Me Deep, the soaring Spotlight (“been busy for a while laying golden eggs”?!), and later the Avril Lavigne-esque The One Thing. Just ignore the opening track, Dare (La La La), that combines Brazilian rhythms with a generic EDM beat – all that’s missing is a Pitbull rap.
Yet these tracks somewhat frontload ‘Shakira’, its second half relying too heavily on ballads. Empire begins proceedings early on with its overblown grandeur, contrasting with the mostly acoustic Broken Record that’s about as interesting as Ed Sheeran (even with the lyric “I can get lost climbing on your legs that never end”). That track starts a string of slow songs including the typically soppy country power ballad Medicine (a duet with Blake Shelton) and the trumpet-tinged 23. The deluxe edition also includes Loca por Ti, but having Shakira sing in Spanish doesn’t make this boring ballad any more interesting.
Most of all, there’s a distinct lack of a big single to really drive ‘Shakira’. ‘Shakira’ might be a back to basics album, but nothing on here can rival her debut single Whenever Wherever and its breasts/mountains lyric, nor the hip shaking of Hips Don’t Lie or the howling She Wolf. There’s not even a Waka Waka (This Time For Africa). That one of the best songs on ‘Shakira’, the electro-fuelled Chasing Shadows, is resigned to a bonus on the deluxe version only is sheer stupidity (it was also written by, who else, Sia).
At the end of the day, Shakira Shakira’s hips don’t lie and neither do mine. And they’re not moving half animal, half man like they should be.
* You Don’t Care About Me
* The One Thing
* Chasing Shadows
Listen: ‘Shakira’ by Shakira is available now.