Howling good fun from Lupine superstar
Rating: 6 / 10
Colm O'Hare, 03 Nov 2009
The Columbian diva takes more risks than most of her peers and it shows. This is an intriguing album, which transcends the increasingly generic R ‘n’ B that has ruled the pop charts for the best part of the last decade. Recorded in the Bahamas with Pharrell Williams, Wyclef Jean and Santigold producer John Hill, the LP pursues an ambitious world music direction. Although the title-track – an electro-beat dance-pop tune – isn’t all that much of a departure, the Middle Eastern rhythms on the syncopated ‘Good Stuff’ are much more compelling. And if the string arrangement on ‘Why Wait’ recalls Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ it does so for perfectly good reasons – both songs share an arranger. Meanwhile, the disco beat of ‘Loba’ comes across as a neat blending of Anita Ward’s ‘Ring My Bell’ and Diana Ross’ ‘Upside Down’, while other highlights include the bass-heavy ‘Long Time’, the Eastern European-tinged ‘Gypsy’ and ‘Spy’ featuring Wyclef Jean. Lyrically, too, Shakira is in good form: ‘Mon Amour’ boasting the line, “Every night I pray that you don’t knock her up/Because I still want to be the mother of your child.” Intriguing. And very good!