Latin superstar Shakira last released an English-language album back in 2009 with She Wolf. It sold over 2 million copies worldwide and since then Shakira has released Spanish-language album Sale el Sol in 2010, had a baby and joined The Voice US as a coach. Now she’s back with her new self-titled album, which is her tenth overall, and ready to take on the global charts once again.
Shakira hasn’t gotten off to the best of starts launching without a big hit single to piggyback on. The album’s first track, Can’t Remember To Forget You featuring Rihanna, didn’t perform as strongly as we’re sure the star and her label hoped stalling in the UK at number 11 despite a big push and a saucy video. Regardless Shakira is an international star with such a big fanbase that this mis-step shouldn’t throw the album campaign off track.
After listening through Shakira several times, it strikes you that the new album suffers from the same problems that much of the star’s back catalogue has. The album is uneven jumping from sound-to-sound leaving the listener confused as to who Shakira is as an artist. Second single Empire is a million miles away from Can’t Remember To Forget You and sees Shakira taking on a more downtempo indie sound that is reminiscent of 90s female singer-songwriters.
Across the album Shakira tries her hand at EDM on Dare (La La La), packs an explosive chorus into highlight Spotlight and teams up with The Voice US colleague Blake Shelton on the rockier sound of Medicine. The autobiographical 23 is one of the highlights on the album taking Shakira back to her folksier roots.
One of the album’s stronger moments comes on the plinky-plonky You Don’t Care About Me which sounds like a cut that could have been on the star’s breakthrough album Laundry Service. The lyrics are cutting as Shakira sings, ‘you don’t care if I die, if you did you would have spared my life’ which are pretty strong words.
Honestly we prefer out Shakira singing in Spanish and there are a couple of Spanish-language tracks on the album. Nunca Me Acuerdo De Olvidarte (Can’t Remember To Forget You) sees Shakira tackle her lead single on her own and it sounds better for it whilst Loca Por Ti (Crazy For You) is an emotive and rather beautiful acoustic-led ballad.
The deluxe edition of the album comes with three bonus tracks; La La La (Brazil 2014), Chasing Shadows and That Way. We can see why the tracks didn’t make the original tracklisting as all three are pretty forgettable. That Way is the best of the bunch as it showcases the power of Shakira’s distinctive vocal.
Shakira’s unevenness means that this album isn’t one of her finest. Whilst it has some strong moments, overall it’s a little bit disappointing. We like Shakira when she’s at her best bonkers pop sound think Whenever Wherever, Objection (Tango) and She Wolf. There’s nothing on here that comes close to those gems but Shakira’s vocal ensures that the album holds your interest. We hope she comes back with a more cohesive and bolder offering on her next effort.