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Of disco bass, werewolves and reinvention of pop stereotypes
Shakira's latest album, She Wolf, is bursting with ideas of groove, carnality and loads of hooks

By Ali Sultan
Artist: Shakira
Album: She Wolf****


While Britney always likes to sexually provoke her audience, Shakira, vulgar, confident and full of fun, likes to invite it. With a huge multi-faceted voice, back-of-the-throat ululation to girlish falsetto, eye-catching belly-dancing routines and eccentric lyrics, Shakira joined the party with the hit album Laundry Service in 2001 and never left. For her follow up to the massive success of 2005's Oral Fixation, Shakira has recruited some of the hottest producers, including the Neptunes and John Hill. The result, She Wolf is short but bursting with ideas of groove, carnality and loads of hooks.
Shakira's genius can be measured by the fact that when we were all obsessing over vampires, she was thinking of werewolves. The title track, a delightful mesh up of a '70s disco bass, heavy breathing and wolf noises, is perhaps the most catchy, properly crazy single to come out in recent memory about a woman going on late-night man-hunts in order to revenge herself on an inconsiderate lover. In the video we see Shakira exploring a pink fleshy cave, then humping a cage floor and singing, "A domesticated girl that's all you ask of me/Darling it is no joke, this is lycanthropy/Moon's awake now, with eyes wide open/My body is craving, so feed the hungry."
'Do It Again' is a wonderful mid-tempo Neptunes production with an "eh-eh-eh-eh" hook, marching band percussion and lyrics about that guy you keep going back to though you know you really shouldn't. It also features a hook that sounds like something Meg Ryan's tries to do in the infamous scene from When Harry Met Sally.
'Long Time' is a sparse, slow party tune, which you can either sleep to or dance that slow lusty dance, with a bass drum, slight hints of piano and a clarinet solo.
'Mon Amour', inspired partly from Blondie, is a noisy hunk of stadium rock on which Shakira wishes her ex and his new girlfriend a terrible vacation in Paris. "Hope the French fleas eat you both alive," she sings, "And your room smells, and the toilet doesn't flush, and the locals treat you mean, and the service takes too long."
'Men In This Town' is an energetic '80s-style electro stomper, except for a catchy chorus and the revelation that "Matt Damon's not meant for me" and then delivers a coda threatening suicide in a multi-tracked falsetto.
Things slow down with 'Gypsy' that starts out with a guitar and tabla combo that sounds like something out of an old Indian movie and turns into a country song, complete with mandolin and strings. Elsewhere, Wyclef Jean guests on the funky 'Spy', a naughty number with a jumpy, bopping bassline, a wacky vocal hook and trumpets.
For all the poetic oddness of Shakira's lyrics, her sexual preoccupations reveal a willingness to pander to pop stereotypes rather than challenge them. But when it comes together, as it does in She Wolf; the result can be so inventive and surprising, you can hardly believe your ears.

*****Get it NOW!
****Just get it
***Maybe maybe not
**Just download the best song
*Forget that this was made