Tuesday, October 13, 2009

She Wolf or How Shakira is a world-class pop-star

It's no secret that I'm a rabid Shakira fan. I have followed her career since Piez Descalzos (that was in 1995 for those of you keeping track). Needless to say I have been following with some hesitation her cross-over into the North American music industry, first with Laundry Service (which to me is still her least accomplished album - I blame her broken english, which is saying a lot when it has great songs and a distinct sound) and later with Oral Fixation Vol 2 (the twin-album to her Fijacion Oral Vol 1 in Spanish, both much more subdued than Service but showing a great range, from latin ballads to hip-swivelling dance mixes). It wasn't until 'Hips Don't Lie' took off that Shakira could call herself a bona fide world-class pop star akin to the likes of Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan. Now with She Wolf she seems to be experimenting with different sounds and as most of her albums she hits, she misses, but she never disappoints. The album dropped in the UK and in Latin America. Here's a rundown of the tracks (English/Spanish versions are lumped together) in the international version (we're hoping to get some bonus tracks here in the US when it's released next month):

She Wolf/Loba
S.O.S. she's in disguise.
This synth-pop single grew on me and now every time I hear it at the club I wanna dance like a She Wolf coming out of the closet.

Did It Again/Lo Hecho Está Hecho
But I said, “hey what the hell? for once in my life i’ll take a ride on the wild side"
Probably my favorite track from the album. I love the heavy percussion and the beat.

Long Time
I wish I had longer legs that I could fasten to your body so you'd take me with you everywhere
Not as great a line as the 'breasts' one from 'Whenever Wherever', but then, 'Long Time' isn't as good of a track either. A bit repetitive and grating.

Why Wait/Años Luz
There's nothing in the world you can think of that I won't do to you.
Mixing Middle-Eastern harmonies and a strong dance-beat, this seems like a good dancing song but something about it doesn't click for me. But then 'Ojos Asi' never did it for me either.

Good Stuff
You don't have to rub a lamp 'Cause I'll take care of you
Shakira's attempt at mixing Colombian, Caribbean, Middle-Eastern sounds with the overall electro-feel of the album would be a total mess, but somehow this sensual song makes it work.

Men In This Town
The good ones are gone or not able... and Matt Damon's not meant for me
For me it's always been about Shakira's lyrics, and well, when you're name-dropping Mr Damon, you're headed for a good song. It's got a great chorus and an electro-feel about it without losing its edge (and that "Fresh! I'm so fresh!" part kills me every time!)

I might steal your clothes and wear them if they fit me
I tend to not care much about Shaki's slow songs. She's better at rocking a beat or swerving her hips, I think. Thus, this track doesn't quite grab me - maybe it's the weak lyrics or the repetitive harmony in the background.

Spy Feat. Wyclef Jean
Colombian with a swagger? Yes I am
That line tells you everything you need to know about Shakira. While this collaboration isn't as danceable as their 'Hips Don't Lie' it's a great lounge-y number.

Mon Amour
And every night I pray that you don't knock her up 'Cause I still want to be the mother of your child
No one does "scorned woman" lyrics better than Shakira (See 'Si Te Vas'). This is no exception. I love the buildup, the rock-beat and the lyrics about how the ex is taking his new gf to Paris.

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