Shakira, SHAKIRA (Target Deluxe Edition)

Shakira has changed.  On her self-titled new album Shakira, the Colombian singer is less inclined to shake her hips and more inclined to think about love -- and deal with bad boys.

Shakira seems divided between romance as a positive and a negative.  There are traditional love songs about dating when she's famous ("Spotlight"), a long-standing love ("23"), reassuring a skeptical love ("That Way"), or finding support from a love ("The One Thing").

More of the songs, though, seem to have Shakira wishing, to paraphrase Brokeback Mountain, she knew how to quit him.  The first single "Can't Remember to Forget You" has her wanting to leave but being drawn back by romantic memories.  Titles like "You Don't Care About Me" and "Cut Me Deep" are pretty self-explanatory, with lyrics like "You don't care about me/If you did you would let me go" and "You cut me deep/Your words are like steel/And now I can't sleep/'Cause I'll never heal."  Even the reassuringly positive song "Broken Record" has her tiring of repeating her love: "I need you to believe in my love/I feel like a broken record/And I told you 700 times/I don't need to keep looking -- my search is over."

Musically, Shakira has a nice variety.  Shakira's voice is as distinctive as ever, handling tender melodies and upbeat tunes equally well.  Most of the songs are ballads and pop songs, with a few forays into dance ("Dare (La La La)") and reggae on "Cut Me Deep" (until the song veers off in a strange direction of drawn-out words); and unlike her last studio album Sale el Sol, Shakira's latest only has a few songs in Spanish.

Overall, Shakira is a little too balanced: There aren't any bad songs, but not a lot of them stand out afterwards.  That said, Shakira is enjoyable to listen to and a step up from a lot of the music that permeates the top 40 music scene now.  And the Target deluxe edition (disclaimer: I work for Target -- but I play for the Mets.  No I don't) has three extra songs, though one is just "Dare (La La La)" sung in Spanish.

Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch

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