Shakira successfully incorporates mature themes in her new album

A&E.Shakira.RCA.records
Courtesy of RCA Records

Shakira’s self-titled new album, “Shakira,” is a mixture of reggae, pop, Spanish and rock melodies combined with a few poetic and acoustic songs. This is the Colombian singer’s 10th studio album, and although she has features with Rihanna and Blake Shelton, she remains the main focus and power behind the songs. Like her hit tracks “Whenever, Wherever” and “Hips Don’t Lie,” the album contains the dance-worthy tunes expected of a world-famous star. Her powerful and unique voice makes the album vivacious and intimate in its sensuous serenades about love.

She starts her album with a hip-swinging explosion of reggae beats and the music that she’s famous for in the fun and flirty song, “Dare (La La La)” — definitely something you would hear at a club. As she sings “Truth or dare on the dance floor,” fast and loud repetitions of “La, la, la” make it easy to dance and find the beat. She continues her upbeat rhythm with “Can’t Remember to Forget You” — an entertaining play on words — with a feature by Rihanna. The track is a typical, but catchy, pop song; the reggae rhythms and Shakira’s cute accent and sultry vocals, mixed with Rihanna’s unique voice, make the song even more distinctive thanks to the chemistry of their voices.

On a softer note, one of the most intimate songs on the album is “Broken Record.” It begins with just Shakira’s voice and gentle guitar strums, before breaking into the chorus with the entrance of vivid orchestral instrumentation. Her emotional expression of love is heard in her lyrics as she sings, “Your voice is the only music I can’t do without,” and “I need you to believe in my word,” making the song passionate along with her lullaby-sounding voice, beginning gently before becoming stronger and more powerful in the chorus.

“23” is another personal song by the artist about her significant other and how he helped her overcome all of the difficulties she had before she met him. She sings, “Do you believe in destiny? / ‘Cause I do as I did then,” displaying the ultimate love she has for him. Her voice sounds delicate and pure, and is accompanied solely by a soft guitar. The ending of the song includes adorable baby sounds from the son she shares with her partner.

“Shakira” starts as a pop album with her dance-powered music and rhythms, but settles into a mature and raw piece of work that is pleasurable and allows the album to capture its listeners. The vulnerable songs about love are probably her best and most honest work, but every song on the album embellishes it further. With the help of her lyrics, Shakira’s unique voice is able to convey all of her passion and make her listeners feel just as happy as she is.

4/5

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