Saturday, October 17, 2009
Album Review: Shakira - She Wolf (3.5 / 5)
After school yesterday I picked up the new Shakira album, She Wolf, her third English album. Being a fan of her first two albums, especially her breakthrough masterpiece, Laundry Service, I have to say I'm not disappointed with this one, but I'm not that impressed either. It's definitely her least cohesive album yet, the misstep is probably down to the overwhelming shake up in her music, it seems to want to acquire the coolness of Gwen Stefani's Love.Angel.Music.Baby. and the retro of Fergie's The Dutchess, whilst disregarding all the seriousness of her last album, Oral Fixation, Vol. 2. and indulging a more electro-pop, urban feel.
The results are somewhat lacking in comparison to those albums but that goes without saying there are a handful of pretty decent songs on here, such as lead single, opening track and title track, "She Wolf" a fun, clubby number--probably more lighthearted than her smash hit "Hips Don't Lie," with Wyclef Jon. Follow up, "Did It Again," isn't bad either, it has a nice down-tempo feel, fixed with rapid instruments, I especially like the live sounding drums that soar behind Shakira's awkward alibiing. Urban and slighly spanish sounding "Long Time," is good too, pounding with a Sean Paul-esque composition--it kind of sounds like a heavily subdued and slower version of her single "Objection (Tango)" from Laundry Service.
Unfortunately after "Long Time," the albums begins to dabble in a brief trail of filler--it could be possible down to her heavy reliance on hip-hop producers, Pharrell Williams from The Neptunes. "Why Wait," rocks a slick urban-ashed rhythm, but for the most part sounds pretty wasteful and apart from the chorus instantly changing into a fresh, synth soaked construction and the appealing slight Indian ambiance, the song doesn't really go anywhere. Perhaps it's a grower, I probably seem more on the fence rather having distaste for it. It would be nice to see her belly dancing to this if should become a single.
The spicy, "Good Stuff," isn't terrible, but isn't great either--I like the chorus, which seems to be the only bit of the song that wants to have a sence of melody, I also like the Spanish vibe and the incorporation of the Xylophone on some parts but that's about it. I really like the acoustic ballad, "Gypsy," the albums quietest moment, incorporating a soothing folkish atmosphere. Wyclef Jon appears once again the retro pondering, "Spy," supporting a skittering, almost Michael Jackson "Billie Jean" styled bassline, with a bit more synth and an old school feel. It sounds more R&B than I'm use to hearing from Shakira but it's all good.
The acoustic guitar in "Man in This House," is nice and when the synth and bass kick in it's fantastic. Possibly the best song on the album. She Wolf, is a decent album but far less impressive than Oral Fixation and no where near as good as Laundry Service, but the one thing they do have in common--is what I detested about both albums--the re-recording of the songs in Spanish, if this is an English album and you have recorded them in English, why would you want to record it again in another language and include it in the original track listing? Cutting the album off very short.
Best: She Wolf, Man in This House, Long Time, Spy