The Bottom Line
Shakira is back with her first new English language material in three years, and this first single from the She Wolf album is a great dance-pop track. The retro disco sound wrapped in scratchy 70's dance guitars is arresting and with a set of lyrics detailing an ignored partner's desires to transform into a "she wolf," the song is masterful. Shakira is clearly an artist with a world of pop styles at her command. Her album this fall will be one of the top pop releases of the year.
- Arresting set of lyrics
- Brilliant dive into 70's disco sounds
- Truly international appeal
- No negatives here
- Written by Shakira
- Produced by Shakira, John Hill, and Sam Endicott
- Released July 2009 by Epic
Guide Review - Shakira - "She Wolf"
I'm not sure anyone has ever rhymed the word "lycanthropy" in a major pop single before, but there's really never been another Shakira. The first South American artist to top the pop charts in the US is back, and "She Wolf" is one of the most quietly powerful three minutes of pop music in 2009. Don't let the reverb-laden retro disco here fool you. This is a song with a point and message.
It is has been quite popular in recent history for top female pop stars to depict fiercely independent women in their songs. However, Shakira takes things a few significant strides further. Positioning herself as a domestic partner who doesn't receive enough attention, Shakira likens the result to a feeling of abuse. The absent partner is advised to let the "she wolf" out of the closet so "it can breathe" or she will take matters into her own hands. In other words, a woman resides inside who needs significant sexual attention.
Musically, "She Wolf" is a step in a different direction from much of Shakira's past output, but to the tremendous credit of her and her co-producers John Hill and Sam Endicott (of the Bravery), the sound is like no one else. On Oral Fixation, Vol. 2, Shakira stepped into dance club territory with the political anthem "Timor," but here she drives straight toward 70's underground disco complete with a closing of lush strings. In other hands the howls and heavy breathing could sound silly and even embarrassing. Here they are completely appropriate and expected. The Spanish language version "Loba" will ensure success on Latin pop charts. It's quite possible the English language track will carry once again to the top of the pop singles charts around the world in the footsteps of "Hips Don't Lie." Once again Shakira is expressing truly international appeal in almost effortless fashion.