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Album review: ‘Shakira’ by Shakira

For fans of Enrique Iglesias, Britney Spears, Nelly Furtado
Singles to download: ‘You Don’t Care About Me,’ ‘Empire’ and ‘Dare (La La La)’
Shakira’s 10th studio album, “Shakira,” was released last week. This is her first English album since “She Wolf” in 2009, although she also released “Sale el Sol” in 2010 in Spanish. The eponymous album features many different sounds, as Shakira experiments with different styles including reggae, rock and folk, as well as styles she’s more used to, like pop, dance and acoustic. The songs included in the album show off the range in Shakira’s talent and abilities as a musician.

“Dare (La La La),” the final name of a track initially reported to be “Truth or Dare,” leads the album with a worldly sound. It begins reminiscent of “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa),” yet quickly transitions to the kind of club beat that pop listeners are more used to in Shakira’s music.
“Empire” has a dreamy and powerful feeling and showcases Shakira’s unique vocal qualities. The song was also recently released in promotion for the album’s preorder. “Empire” is a standout track on the album, taking Shakira’s typical style back towards rock, like some of her early music.
“Shakira” also features some cool collaborations. Shakira worked with Blake Shelton, a co-coach on NBC’s “The Voice,” to make “Medicine,” a cool country/pop/ballad crossover piece. In commentary released with the album online, Shakira says that the track had eight other versions before the album was finished. The song sounds familiar but the lyrics are a nice surprise.
The album’s lead single, “Can’t Remember to Forget You,” a collaboration with Rihanna, entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 28, Shakira’s highest-debuting track in the U.S. to date. The song is sensual and pop-based, which helped to broaden its appeal. The album also includes a Spanish version of the song, titled “Nunca Me Acuerdo de Olvidarte,” which sounds just as great as the original, a la “She Wolf” and “Loba” of her last English release.
Though “Shakira” isn’t a concept album, many of the songs are about love. “Broken Record” and “23” are very clearly personal songs for Shakira; they have more narrative than other tracks on the album and feature a more prominent acoustic sound.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the album, however, is “You Don’t Care About Me.” Almost an anti-love song, Shakira experiments with a more metallic and self-described “alternative” sound. As a nice contrast to the rest of the album, “You Don’t Care About Me” is a refreshing choice as the weather warms up outside and you’re looking for a cool new tune.
“Shakira” has plenty to offer, and, given the artist’s popularity on “The Voice,” the album is almost guaranteed to be a hit.

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