One thing you can count on from the Colombian pop star is that she puts a lot of thought into her projects. As an artist that has always operated from the norm, Shakira has often experimented with her music. No two of her albums are ever alike. She Wolf is the latest example as Shakira, who was once considered a “Latina Alanis Morissette,” uses heavy electronic-laden synthesizers with an emphasis on bass. The self titled first single, “She Wolf” sets the tone for the entire party-ready album and it’s certain that audiences will enter a new era of Latin disco.
Wait, is this the same genre of music that gave everyone Saturday night fever back in the 70's? Don’t let that description fool you because Shakira worked with a lot notable producers worthy of giving electro pop superstar Lady Gaga a run for her money. Pharrell of the Neptunes, Wyclef Jean, Timbaland, and John Hill all provide a strong, well-crafted base of sounds from which she can express herself in English and Spanish. All of her albums have a message and in the case of She Wolf, Shakira declares: “My biggest motivation was to make an album that people could just have fun with and forget about their troubles.”
Shakira has already entertained her audiences while getting across her personal feelings and this effort is no different. Take “Did it Again,” which goes the opposite of the lead single featuring a quick-step military marching beat. Pharrell perfectly marries Shakira’s unique throaty vocals, while taking a page from the more dramatic R&B diva Beyonce. The results show a Shakira who isn’t afraid of shedding her clothes (literally and figuratively) and wearing something new. Shakira explains that She Wolf is “a sonic experimental trip,” and like her hips, she doesn’t lie. “Why Wait” is a grand example of a song which can be best described as Bollywood pop. Shakira can still exude her signature sensuality while exposing her true sentiments, particularly in tracks like “Men in This Town,” ”Good Stuff,” and “Gypsy.”
The transition to being an established U.S. sensation who can also sell in an urban market is confirmed when Shakira teams up with one of hip-hop’s leading hit makers. In “Give it Up to Me” rapper Lil Wayne makes a surprise appearance and Timbaland brings his magic touch to the production. Wyclef Jean also returns in the single “Spy” to reform the unit that made “Hips Don’t Lie” one of the greatest Latin songs of all time.
She Wolf isn’t as deep as Shakira’s past albums, but it’s worth actually buying than downloading, a rarity in today’s music scene. She reveals her soul like never before and proudly displays her many experiences as a Latina and a singer. It’s certain that Shakira has rightfully established herself as a world artist and will continue to do so. Make no mistake, Shakira is back with a howl.