After a middling slump followed by a critically acclaimed spin on The Voice, Shakira decides that it’s finally time to release a self-titled album. Not that she’s rocking the boat here. This little darling has always had the tendency to do her thing, howling like a foghorn when she feels like it, and it’s actually tad disappointing that this album is less kooky than her previous effort.
Don’t be fooled by Can’t Remember to Forget You – it’s no doubt the most marketable song here, which explains its choice as a lead single. The other songs are more of her usual repertoire. We have kooky ballads like Empire, with lines that have me scratching my head at the incomprehensible profundity of it all. “And the stars make love to the universe, you’re my wildfire every single night”… what does it all mean? She gets all moody in tracks like You Don’t Care About Me – about a boy who takes her for granted – or gets up and dances in upbeat tracks like Dare (La La La).
But it is on Medicine, a collaborate with fellow The Voice judge Mr Miranda Lambert – I think his name is Blake Shelton – that this album approaches a singular moment of pure brilliance. A blend of country and Shakira’s own brand of froghorn fierce pop, this song manages to be both eccentric and conventional all at once. Her lilting voice and Mr Shelton’s blend together in an unexpectedly attractive manner. This one is fabulous. It’s disappointing, therefore, that the album quickly settles back to mundanity once it’s over.
Shakira is a middle of the road effort, all things considered. I can live with it, but I can easily live without it as well, sigh. I miss those songs about chasing after Matt Damon and having breasts the size of mountains.