Shakira – She Wolf
4 1/2 out of 5 stars
Review by FirstGentleman
If you are tired of Rihanna’s flat mooing, Beyonce’s j-setting and krumping and Lady Gaga’s risqué lyrics, you might want to give Shakira’s album She Wolf a spin. Instead of mooing she bleats like a goat; instead of shaking a tail feather, she belly dances; and instead of risqué lyrics, she some how manages to writes songs in English that inevitably sound like she’s singing in Spanish.
Shakira called up The Neptunes, Timbaland, Wyclef Jean and John Hill to produce an electro-disco-world-pop album. Yet at no point in the album does it like she producer “hopped”, as the album maintains a constant feel throughout.
The first single is the title track “She Wolf” which has a chicken scratch guitar lick, fat bass line and a fast paced string section all reminiscent of a Nile Rogers disco track. This song is instantly likeable, with a catchy chorus instructing ladies to let their inner “she wolf” out to play sometimes (not all the time).
“Give It Up To Me” features Lil’ Wayne and his line “Shakira swing them hips like nun chucks” causes me to go into a conniption fit of laughter every time. This song was originally recorded for Timbaland’s Shock Value Vol. 2 album (thank God it didn’t make it). The song is a mix of Middle East meets Down South with this Stomp the Yard on the way to the Mosque thing going on…Allah help Timbo!
“Did it Again” has an escola de samba (roughly equivalent to a Brazilian drum line) plus an accordion and Kid Cudi feels compelled to sing…imagine Kanye minus the autotune. “Long Time” has a clarinet solo! I live for ish like that! Who uses a clarinet anymore…ugh, beautiful. On “Men In This Town” she mentions 2 of my favorite L.A. clubs (Skybar and The Standard) and it sounds like Cher’s “Do You Believe in Love”. The only “rock” song on the album is “Mon Amour”; it’s the last song and Shakira is wishing bad luck to her ex and his new girl and sings the line “Passengers with destination to hell please proceed to your gate we’re ready to board now”.
Shakira’s She Wolf is a great album. Accordions, drumlines, clarinets, lutes, Arabic scales, and interesting vocals. Why can’t R(edundant) & B(oring) be fresh and exciting like this? She Wolf is the best album of her career at this point. I remember being in Senora Quinie’s Spanish class and we had to listen to rock en espanol. I was handed a cd of this dirty looking girl with wild hair asking “¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones?” (English translation: Where Are the Thieves?). Little did I know then that 10 years later my Columbian crush would turn out to be the only person from the Latin Explosion still making relevant pop music in English (and no, J. Lo and her “Louboutins” don’t count!)!