“Whenever, Wherever” and “Hips Don’t Lie” are just a couple of songs we all know from Colombian singer Shakira. Her massively distinctive vocals and fantastically flirty dance moves, have turned Shakira into somewhat of an icon over the past 15 years.
The Spanish-language eleventh studio album from Shakira was released last Friday, May 26, from Sony Music Latin. The power and sheer beauty of listening to an album in a different language is a very special and surreal experience. For someone like me, who only speaks English, I wondered how I would be able to fully understand the meaning of this album.
However, I don’t think that’s the point of Shakira’s music. I believe the instruments, the sound of her rich wondering voice and the passion this album gives off, is enough to whole heartedly appreciate the 13 new music tracks titled El Dorado, translating to ‘The Golden’ in English.
Kicking the album off is a song titled “Me Enamore“, which translates to English as ‘I fell in love’. The clubby vibes this song throws off, with, believe it or not, catchy lyrics, is gorgeously incredible. It has you trying to mimic the lyrics and simultaneously try your hardest at Shakira’s signature belly dancing moves. Electronic in sections, this song really shows off the flavour of the entire Española álbum.
The next song “Nada“, which simply means ‘Nothing’ in English, takes on a spine-tingling entrance as the distinctive vocals send you on a journey to the heart of Shakira. This song is a soul-baring sensation. The most beautiful thing about not understanding lyrics, is that all you focus on is the fierce sentiment in a voice. This song really shows you what an emotional heart-on-your-sleeve person Shakira is, portraying faultless accounts of heartache on this track. Simply beautiful.
“Chantaje” which interestingly translates to ‘Blackmail’, was released as a single back in October 2016. The song features Maluma, another Colombian singer with silky yet powerful vocals. This song had a great critical reception, reaching no.1 on the Promusicae chart in Spain. In its eighth week in the charts the song reached no.51 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The song itself is an infectious mix of steamy Spanish words and romantic musical interludes. English words ‘pretty boy’ are echoed in at the end to add even more sexy spice to this very irresistibly sensual song. Autotuned effects on Maluma’s voice in some parts of the song is a real treat to the eardrums too. I adore it.
“When A Woman” and “Coconut Tree” are probably my least favourite tracks on the album. I completely respect the fact that Shakira has fans that may only be able to understand English. However, I feel like the magic of listening to a song in a different language is taken away with these two songs.
Shakira’s voice in “Coconut Tree” almost doesn’t sound as rich and inviting as it does on tracks such as “Chantaje”. “When A Woman” is a classic pop love song. A great song all in all, with beautiful vocals. However, I feel like I need a Spanish version of this song to appreciate it further. Please release one Shakira!
The next track “Amarillo” meaning ‘Yellow’, is a toe-tapping finger clicking mix of gorgeous penetrative drum beats, clubbed together with Shakira’s exquisite voice. Following on from “Amarillo” is “Perro Fiel“, translating to ‘Faithful dog’.
This song features Nicky Jam, a singer/songwriter best known for his Reggaetón musical genre. The staccato drum beats perfectly pair with the Spanish lyrics and faultless vocals of the musical magician Shakira. Nicky Jam brings a new element of fun and excitement, only adding to the gravity of how much the album keeps on giving.
“Comme Moi” a song featured on the album twice. The English version of the song “What We Said”, allows you to appreciate the difference in languages. Again, I prefer “Comme Moi”, as I believe it shows off how magnificent and clever a song can sound when it collaborates two of the world’s languages in one piece of music.
“Trap”, another song featuring the autotuned, raspy yet breathy vocals of Maluma. Similar, however not as catchy as ‘Chantaje’, this song is another slow-moving infectious song with a mouth-watering electric guitar instrumental. This guitar solo really does add something special to the song. A delicious sound to tempt your ears with.
Shakira loves a collab. Another song “La Bicicleta“, translation ‘The Bike’ or ‘The Bicycle’ features Carlos Vives, a Grammy Award winning actor, singer and composer. This song is rather anthemic, powerful and would be a fabulous song to play at a huge summer festival. A song full of culture, artistic flare and true fun. Perfecto.
The song “Déjà vu“, features Prince Royce, an American singer songwriter with notable successes. “Déjà vu”, is the same in English, and simply means ‘already seen’. I think we’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives.
This song has certain similarities to “La Bicicleta”. It’s upbeat, fun and ideal to listen to with a cocktail in hand. Shakira and Prince Royce’s vocals really do work wonders together on this track. The pitch and tone of their voices match incredibly well, creating another musical beauty.
The final song on El Dorado is “Toneladas“. Which simply means ‘Tons’. A piano driven ballad. This song is heavenly elegant in every way. It’s a song that is there to fully appreciate the majestic and compelling vocal of Shakira. It’s a vulnerable song that oozes emotion. This song is one to put on repeat when you need an element of pure class in your life.
Overall, I think the album is one of Shakira’s best. It certainly hasn’t failed to deliver everything that Shakira is all about. El Dorado is drenched in romance and smothered with sexiness. You’d be truly missing out if you didn’t listen to this album that takes you on a journey of raw emotion, language appreciation and an extravaganza of musical talent. Buy Shakira’s El Dorado album here.
Words by Stephanie Penman