What do Madonna, Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, and Shakira have in common, apart from their ability to do that back-of-throat ululation with their voices? They are the four richest women in the music industry.How did Shakira get to the top with such legendary female artists?Shakira said she is always looking for new routes to take with her music and told interviewers that she makes sure that everything she does is fresh and unlike anything she’s ever done before.In her new album, She Wolf, Shakira explores the world of dance and electro music but still keeps one foot firmly planted in her Colombian roots. Her music is becoming more worldly: an interesting fusion of Middle Eastern, Indian, Spanish, and American pop. The album is a combination of Arabian belly dancing music and modern dance music, with fast beats and synthesized backing tracks. As usual, she has multiple singing voices which she puts on throughout the album, ranging from her highly feminine falsetto to her deep wailing. These vocals, along with her unusual choice of lyrics (we will never forget “lucky that my breasts are small and humble, so you don’t confuse them with mountains”), are defining characteristics of Shakira’s music. John Hill and Pharrell worked with Shakira on the new album, forcing her to step outside of her box and find new ways of approaching music.I’m sure you have all heard the first hit single and title track from the album, “She Wolf,” a confused, infectious track, which has man-eating lyrics, strange howling noises, panting, and yet another saucy video to go along with it. Of course Shakira’s videos are famous: from the day she started moving her belly to “Whenever, Wherever” on our television screens to the extremely sexy grease-covered dancing and table grinding in “La Tortura,” Shakira is one of those artists who prove that video killed the radio star. In the video that accompanies “She Wolf,” she dances in a flesh-colored leotard in a cage and moves her body in such flexible, animalistic ways that she really does look like a she wolf. Even apart from extraordinary moves and poses, Shakira personifies a wild animal perfectly and seems to get into the role.
Rating: *** (out of 5)
Shakira does yet another collaboration with Wyclef Jean on her new track, “Spy.” Shakira has said that she and Jean have a close bond and they are able to work well together due to the fact that they have both been close to extreme poverty and are from the developing world. The song is jazzy and old fashioned and can easily be compared with something from a Bee Gee’s album. Unfortunately, the two failed to recreate their magic with this honky tonk-like track.The next single that will be released is “Give It Up To Me,” which is produced by Timbaland and features Lil Wayne, so be sure to look out for that. All in all, the album is a more modern mesh of melodies that Shakira combines with different cultures and flavors, a progression from her 2005 platinum album Oral Fixation.On the track, “Men In This Town,” Shakira sings the hook line, “Matt Damon was not meant for me,” and goes on to sing a threatening suicide in falsetto. As usual, I am not sure what to make of her lyrics or her music and don’t know if the album is something I would sit and listen to in my dorm room, but it’s definitely a booty-shaking and danceable album, something to have fun with, which, at the end of the day, is what Shakira wanted.