Colombian pop star Shakira returns to the music scene with the release of her third English-language album, She Wolf.
The hip-shaker released her first English-language album, Laundry Service, in 2001, making non-Spanish speaking music lovers around the world fall in love with the blond, sexy star.
Laundry Service had a list of tracks including "Whenever, Wherever", "Underneath Your Clothes" and "Objection", that immediately clicked with the mainstream pop audience. Her popularity continued in 2006 with the release of Oral Fixation Vol. 2 that featured "Hips Don't Lie", a duet with American rapper Wyclef Jean.
The trip to the top made Shakira the only Colombian artist to land at no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. She has also won a number of prestigious awards such as the Grammys and Latin Grammy Awards.
She Wolf offers different nuances to Shakira's two previous English-language albums.
Fans of her earlier works might be a bit surprised, as for the album, Shakira has changed her sound from Latin pop to explore an innovative dance-like track with more electronic and disco sounds. It is definitely aimed at the dance floor.
To do this, she has worked with high-profile production collaborators including Pharrell Williams from the Neptunes and Wyclef Jean.
The first single from Shakira's album is the song "She Wolf". It seems like she hasn't wanted to miss out on the frenzied trend of vampires and wolves that has sprung up around the world.
The single includes influences and elements of disco to help tell the tale of a woman in need of exploring her sexuality. It has also has sound effects like a wolf's howl.
Pharrel Williams really plays a big role adding his hip-hop dance sounds to the album, and co-producing six of the 12 songs on the album.
His style can be heard through single "Did It Again", followed by "Long Time", which has reggae rhythm.
Best of all are "Why Wait" and "Good Times", the former about a call to the bedroom, with a twist of a Middle Eastern sound, while the latter features a bit of R&B and Latino influences.
"Spy" is another Wyclef Jean production that is less attractive in comparison to its predecessor.
The last three songs in the album are Spanish versions of "Did it Again", "Why Wait" and "She Wolf".
Except for the Spanish lyrics on some tracks, there's not much Latino influence in the album. There's also nothing that can properly be called a ballad.
Through this album, it is seen that Shakira wants to prove her ability to innovate with her sound, taking fans on a sonic experimental trip with new influences.
Three out of five stars
- Triwik Kurniasari