Release Date: Mar 25, 2014
Record label: RCA
Genre(s): Pop, Latin, Adult Contemporary, Pop/Rock, Dance-Pop, Latin Pop
Review Summary: Shakira: calm, collected, reflective.Love her or hate her, you have to give Shakira credit for displaying quite a vast range of styles and influences within a commercial pop format. One of the very reasons she gained so much worldwide crossover appeal to begin with is that she could blend numerous (usually quite different) sounds and meld them into one experience. Basically, her style is usually very unmistakable with each album; however, since She Wolf came out back in 2009, things seem to have changed.
Shakira on paper shouldn’t work. To call her voice unusual would be an understatement. Her songs are just plain weird. Her musical style and influences vary wildly, and not just from album to album, but within albums as well. That’s not even mentioning her lyrics and half the time you don’t ….
Like many eponymous albums, Shakira's self-titled 2014 set marks a new beginning: a new album for a new label after she got a new job. The new job was as a co-host on the hit American televised musical contest The Voice, the new label was RCA, and the new album was her first full-fledged pop album since She Wolf, the rather brilliant, hard electronic dance record that stiffed in 2009. She bounced back in 2010 with Sale el Sol, but that album wasn't made with the U.S.
If you're Shakira's ex-boyfriend – specifically, the one who sued her for $100 million in 2012 – you really don't want to hear this record. On Shakira., the Colombian-born singer and hip-shaker rejoices in dissing men who lie and "just want your money," while salivating over a new love's "legs that never end." She pins huge choruses and a mercurial vocal tone to music that's so effortlessly eccentric and omnivorous you'll hardly notice when a banjo (and Blake Shelton) enter on "Medicine." Shakira's lyrics have turned more commonplace in the past 10 years, but still, what other pop star would use the word "agnosticism" in a love ballad? .
March suddenly turned into Latin pop blockbuster season. By some coincidence, arena-filling stars who tend to take years between releases emerged almost simultaneously with new albums: Shakira and Juanes, who are both from Colombia, Enrique Iglesias from Spain and the reggaeton rapper Wisin from Puerto Rico. Romeo Santos, the Dominican bachata singer who was born in the Bronx and was Aventura’s lead singer for 17 years, beat the rush by releasing his second solo studio album in February.
‘Shakira. ,” the namesake new album from the Colombian singer-songwriter and humanitarian, comes with a number of distinctions. It’s her first album since becoming a mother and a coach on the television singing competition “The Voice” last year, and it’s her return to performing in English after 2010’s excellent “Sale el Sol.
There's only one place where a duet between Shakira and Blake Shelton makes sense, and that's inside an executive suite at NBC, the network that brings the two stars together every week as celebrity coaches on "The Voice." You certainly don't hear anything beyond corporate synergy at work in "Medicine," a deeply unconvincing collaboration that somehow made the cut for Shakira's new, self-titled album. Trading lines over a chipper pop-country arrangement embroidered with ready-made banjo licks, the singers feebly declare that each is the cure for what ails the other. "If I want the pain to go away, in a second make it fade," they insist, "You're the only thing that will." Well, maybe on TV.