Shakira is back with her first full length English album in almost 5 years and she’s recruited some of the industry’s biggest names to help bring it to life. Signing to Roc Nation this album sees Shakira returning to her guitar roots as well as experimenting with reggae, dance and even country. The first single ‘Can’t Remember To Forget You’ (Feat Rihanna) was a strong release which did well on radio followed by promotional single ‘Empire’ which is a beautiful power ballad that focused on her insane vocal range. These particular two songs were the right decisions to release to introduce the record to listeners as they are the strongest tracks in the collection. When listening to the album in its entirety I honestly can’t see any other songs being a successful single except possibly ‘Medicine’ (Feat Blake Shelton) in the U.S because of the heavy country influences. What this album is lacking is a couple of strong tracks that leave you thinking “this will be a hit” but this isn’t the case with the majority of the album classed as “album filler”. ‘Dare (La La La)’ is being released as the official Brazilian anthem for the 2014 FIFA World Cup but this song is a confusing electro pop song with Brazilian roots. It is a catchy song but you can’t help but just question what you just listened to.
Highlights on the self titled album include ‘23’, ‘The One Thing’ and the reggae influenced ‘Cut Me Deep’ which features Canadian group MAGIC. ‘Chasing Shadows’ is featured on the deluxe edition of the album and is a personal favourite of mine. From the gripping lyrics to the feel good pop synths this song will be stuck in your head for hours. This album see’s Shakira returning to her guitar roots with a lot more acoustic guitar present compared to her last album ‘She Wolf’. Her vocals are as strong as ever with her vocal range being showcased well and surprisingly suits Country well.
If you’re a fan of the singer then you will love this album but if you just like the radio singles then you probably won’t rate it as much. There are a couple of standout favourites with a few songs which will grow on you but the other majority of the album is average. But welcome back Shakira and let’s hope she finally comes down under to Australia!