The Bottom Line
Superstar duets don't have the greatest track record. They often get dragged down by over-sized egos and/or lackluster material. Fortunately, Shakira has some experience pulling off big duets. "La Tortura," her duet with Alejandro Sanz, one of the top Spanish pop stars, is one of the biggest Latin pop hits ever. Last year, "Hips Don't Lie, her collaboration with the Fugees' Wyclef Jean, was the biggest international pop hit of the year. Perhaps that experience helped inform working with Beyonce. It's not stunning, but "Beautiful Liar" does have its charms.
Watch "Beautiful Liar" video
- Compatibility of the Artists
- Strings in the Middle Eastern Break
- Usual Stiffness of a Superstar Duet
- Conscientious blend of the musical styles of Beyonce and Shakira
- Us against him lyrics
- Hypnotic beat
Guide Review - Beyonce featuring Shakira - Beautiful Liar
You would be hard pressed to find 2 current female pop stars bigger than Beyonce and Shakira at this point in time. Beyonce is basking in the afterglow of the massive #1 hit single "Irreplaceable" and her recent crossover on to Latin pop radio. Oh, and she also had a major acting role in a little movie named Dreamgirls. For her part, Shakira is arguably the biggest international pop star of the moment, and her spur-of-the-moment duet with Wyclef Jean, "Hips Don't Lie," was the biggest pop hit in the world last year.
So...what do you do for a follow up? You record together, of course. In contemplating this musical partnership, it's impossible to not hear decades old echoes of the pairing of Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand on "No More Tears" at their popularity peaks back in 1979. Fortunately, Beyonce and Shakira seem to be more successful at putting diva behavior aside to come out with a real collaboration.
With the able assistance of hot production team Stargate and songwriting team Amanda Ghost (a co-songwriter of James Blunt's "You're Beautiful") and Ian Dench, "Beautiful Liar" finds a comfortable blend of Shakira's Latin and Middle Eastern melange with Beyonce's contemporary hip hop soul. It's all set to a thumping, hypnotic midtempo beat. The strings featured in a Middle Eastern breakdown near the end are particularly beautiful.
Lyrically, "Beautiful Liar's" pledge to not end a friendship over a cheating man advances an independent woman theme. However, the melding of Beyonce and Shakira in the accompanying video ultimately into mirror images of each other raises some questions of how far that independence goes - is it only independence from men? Perhaps that is a weighty question that is far beyond the reach of "Beautiful Liar." Instead, sit back and enjoy the sinuous, sexy sounds of 2 consummate music industry professionals.