March 26th, 2014
05:42 PM ET
Shakira's new album is going to expand her "Empire" according to critics who've taken it for a spin.
The self-titled release, led by a duet with Rihanna called "Can't Remember to Forget You" and the aforementioned sultry single, arrived on Tuesday.
There are some undeniable hits, and some very noticeable misses as the Colombian superstar stretches herself with producers like Dr. Luke and Max Martin. The mostly English-language disc packs an array of styles in its 12-tracks, from rock to reggae to a hint of country thanks to a much-despised pairing with Blake Shelton. At one point, the 37-year-old's son with Spanish athlete Gerard Piqué, Milan, makes a guest appearance.
Should you take a listen? Here's what the professional music lovers have to say:
Billboard: "It's a cohesive, organic set, with roots that lie mostly in melodic pop-rock and unexpected touches from multiple influences. There's not much Latin-ness to be found here (despite two tracks in Spanish: 'Loca por ti' and the Spanish version of 'Can't Remember to Forget You'), but it doesn't matter. The album works on the strength of the songs. ... Get ready for a set of convincing, honest music, on which the Colombian star often unabashedly professes her love for boyfriend Gerard Pique. Perhaps love is what makes this album soar."
Boston Globe: "('Shakira.' is) her most personal effort in years, a reminder that there’s a lot of heart and soul beneath the shiny exterior of her global stardom. ... She sounds at ease and reborn on this new album, proudly addressing the joy of new love ... It's sweet enough to make you forgive the occasional misstep."
Washington Post: "(Shakira) has the broadest canvas of any pop diva in memory — she can contain multitudes, from cumbia to country, and still sound instantly, recognizably like herself. 'Shakira.,' her charming, awkward, immensely appealing new disc, tests this theory. ... Most (of the album) seems like an uneasy bargain between what she wants (rootsy, often acoustic-based pop with a rangy feel and an affinity for early Alanis Morissette) and what the producers want (hits)."
Los Angeles Times: "Predictable and flavorless, these songs seem to realize a fear that unfairly gathered around Shakira in 2009 when her album 'She Wolf' led some critics to suspect that the Colombian-born star was attempting to Americanize her sound (or had been coerced into doing so by forces in the music industry). 'Shakira,' by contrast, actually does feel like an effort to smooth out her quirks, to fit her into stylistic slots otherwise occupied by, say, Taylor Swift, Pink or Kelly Clarkson. ... It's unclear why she'd change course now."
USA Today: "Shakira's search for and realization of personal happiness is a recurring topic ... Hips still don't lie, but Shakira also extols the more settled sense of joy that comes from finding what you were looking for."
If you've listened to "Shakira.," leave your review below!
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