Welcome to NK’s Album Flashbacks, where the Negative Kitty shares her thoughts on not-so-recent albums. Today’s album review: She Wolf by Shakira!
Mister President – Shakira has taken the Capitol Building.
My Queen. The light of my life. A burning star shedding warmth across the whole universe – but get too close and you’ll be burned alive in a plume of sensual Colombian fury. That’s right – we’re talkin’ Shakira.
Furst things furst: just take a look at that album cover. Fierceeeee. Shakira is rocking in a blinged out dress with her signature tresses ever so dishelmed in a burn-my-paws-on-the-stove, scorching hot way. The She Wolf herself looks determined and stunning, like she’s about to conquer the world – which she does with this ferociously cat-chy album.
Shakira has always had a knack for blending genres and incorporating diverse sounds in her music. In her early career in the 90s, she made a splash with her acoustic guitar-centric joints, which pushed forward the Alanis-ness of the era. Moving ahead, her pop stylings blended a wide variety of Latin Music like reggaeton and samba, and everything in between.
But She Wolf signified a discernible shift in musical direction for mommy. One might view She Wolf as a direct response to Lady Gaga’s The Fame, as She Wolf adopts a more electronic and modern approach which stands in stark contrast to her earlier work – sis saw the writing on the wall! In fact, many may be unaware that she recruited The Neptunes (PHARRELL, ever heard of him?!?!?) to produce many of the tracks on this album, which shows just how committed she was to stacking this album with nothing but the bootiest bangers. Shakira also continues her tradition of releasing both English and Spanish versions of the main hits from her albums – and u already know I prefer my Shakira en español!
This album begins with the title track “She Wolf”/”Loba,” which marks Shakira expanding her musical horizons with influences from electropop and a bit of funk. Shakira sings over a boppin’-ass track with a plucky guitar, makin’ me wanna dance like a wild little kitty. Shakira sings about wanting to not be confined, like a She-Wolf in a closet… pretty sure she’s talking about [sex] O___o >___>. And didja know this song was co-written by the singer from The Bravery??? ‘Member them?? Negative Kitty ‘members.
The next song I wanna mention is “Why Wait”/”Años Luz,” which may be my favorite on the album. A delicious dancey song that just makes me wanna shake my hips (and they never lie!). This song features a Middle Eastern influenced string segment and Middle Eastern instrumentals like the percussion doumbek, which is a staple of music for Middle Eastern dances like Belly-Dancing. This totally makes sense, as my tum-tum vibrates uncontrollably when I hear this one. I think this one may also be about [sex] >________>.
Okay, I wanna talk about my OTHER favorite track on the album, “Spy (feat. Wyclef Jean).” Criminally underrated track. Wyclef is back again for some Shakira action, and they don’t disappoint – this song evokes disco vibes and has such a frickin’ sick and catchy verse. More importantly though, Shakira makes trumpet noises on this one. That’s right – using her mouth and vocal chords, she pretends to be a trumpet. Now that’s a power move if I ever heard one – check it out for yourself! Go ahead! Right at the 5 second mark. Trumpet noises. Gawd I love her. Remember when she did the “LOOLOOLOOLOOLOO” at the Super Bowl? Ugh, that’s so mommy. Anyway, this song is about being so hot that a dude pulls up a ladder outside your window and peeps in on you every night. Honestly, very relatable.
Okay my OTHER favorite song is “Did It Again”/”Lo Hecho Está Hecho.” The song seems to be about Shakira kinda regretting a one night stand – that’s right, homegirl had some [sex] O________O. Now obviously the verse and chorus are catchy, but the best part is at 1:50 – “It might seem to you that I am in a place where I’m losing the direction of my life, but I’m sure that this is nothing but a phase – right back at ya, ’cause I’ll survive.” She pretty much invented the breakdown with this part, and her voice soars like a shining dove, flying high before crashing down… right into my widdle kitty mouf mwuahahahaha (I love to eat and torture birds).
Uhh what were we talking about? Oh yeah. Getting into some deep cuts from this album, let’s purr for a second on the track “Men in This Town”. The production immediately caught my attention like the crinkle of a kibble bag. The production is unmistakably New Wave influenced, even more than the title track. Shakira complains about the lack of eligible bachelors in LA. She also manages to slightly throw shade on Matt Damon, just a lil. Poor Matt. Anway, some Cher vibes on her vocals on this track, no? Have a listen and let me know what you think.
“Gypsy” is the closest thing to an acoustic track on this album. This song takes you on a meowgical journey with its dreamy melodies and heartfelt lyrics – musical catnip! The lyrics are all about embracing your free spirit and wandering kitty soul, inspirational innit? The combination of Shakira’s powerful vocals and the enchanting instrumentals transport you out of this catosphere. It’s a sweet and sunny track that features folk music influence with the usage of the banjo and mandolin and Indian instrumentals from the Sitar and Tabla. Shakira asks us to come along with her, and it’s like, my leash is right here… >____________________>.
The album as a whole is a journey of self-discovery, empowerment, and embracing your inner party cat. Shakira’s unique blend of pop, dance, with a wide variety of influences from many parts of the world creates a sound that’s as catchy and unpredictable. It’s a true celebration of being a fierce and independent kitty.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to unleash your inner she-wolf and let the infectious beats of “She Wolf” take over. This album will have you dancing, singing, and feeling like a fierce nocturnal feline. I give this album a rating of EPIC NUGGETS!
<3 – NKmeow