Colombian singer Shakira ditches the electro-pop edge of last year’s She Wolf and returns to her Latin roots on Sale el Sol (The Sun Comes Out). The new, bilingual album features 15 tracks, predominantly in Spanish with a few English-only numbers. Gone are the bizarre wolf howls and European dance influence of last year’s album, replaced by the horns and vibrant tropical beats. Her signature soft rock-infused Spanish tracks are back on this album, but in a more polished form.
No matter what language you speak, Sale el Sol translates into a solid listening experience. The best English track on the album is Shakira’s cover of British indie-pop group the The XX’s “Islands.” She speeds up the tempo and gives new meaning to the verses about finding a sense of belonging after long-term displacement. The context of the global superstar finding her place in the world converges with beautiful production to make it a standout album.
“Loca” and “Rabiosa,” tracks sung in English and Spanish, are the most Caribbean influenced, with Merengue beats and hints of electronic production. Shakira the seductress is out in full force alongside rappers Pitbull (“Loca”), Dizzee Rascal (“Rabiosa”) and El Cata (on the Spanish versions of both songs). The energy behind the tracks is reminiscent of a revved-up “Hips Don’t Lie,” taking Shakira to the musical next level.
“Mariposas” evokes classic Shakira with its slow, piano-driven rock. The track has an upbeat quality to it that will doubtlessly stick with the listener with its simple melody and positive lyrics. Her experimental side is also still alive and well on the hard rock number, “Devoción,” on which Shakira hits crazy-high notes near the track’s end and yells her way through the anthem-worthy chorus.
Aside from the unnecessary K-Mixes of her global hit “Waka Waka,” Sale el Sol is a refreshing, eclectic album showcasing Shakira’s versatility as an artist. Her global appeal is more apparent than ever on this album with its synthesis of many different music elements from around the world on each track. With Sale el Sol, Shakira proves that the sun won’t be setting on her music career anytime soon.