Yesterday, I wrote on my blog about my disappointment in Shakira’s new style. I don’t want to put Shakira into a category of “sell-outs” because I think she does a lot of great philanthropic work with her money and fame. But taking a look at her new stuff, I scratch my head and think what the hell is going on here?!
For those who aren’t aware, Shakira has been making music for quite a while now. As a Spanish artist, she was sort of straddling the worlds of rock and pop, but she didn’t overdo the pop thing in her style. The focus was on her music. And, damn, did she make the most of that. What I love the most about Shakira’s Spanish work is that she pushed people’s buttons and made them think about the uncomfortable things. For example, one of my favorite songs is about a teenage couple who have premarital sex and end up pregnant.
When she crossed over, there was a shift in her material. Songs were a bit simpler, not as controversial, etc. I totally get that artists who cross over need to be careful about their marketability. They don’t want to be pigeon-holed and they don’t want to fail. They need to stay true to their fans to a certain extent, but need to appeal to regular Joe Schmoe and Jill Schmill. There are compromises to be made, themes to hold back on, a certain settling of your artistic style and whatnot. Certainly, you can’t simply translate your song about teenage pregnancy and expect it to be a hit.
I also understand art and music and get that people evolve. People get in touch with their sexuality and want to talk about that. People get into relationships or break up with old partners and want to tap into those feelings of excitement, hurt, freedom, release, whatever. I’m not one to usually think of an artist as “selling out” — I try to look at it as evolving. Yeah, possibly motivated by money. But we all have to eat.
But, ARG, this new Shakira just does not fly with me. The Laundry Service album was not as good as her Spanish-language albums, IMO. But whatever, it was what it was — some of it was catchy, some of it was still good. I think she tried to be involved in the song-writing as much as she could so the lyrics were not as deep as usual, but it’s cool.
Since then, it’s been downhill. With the exception of a catchy tune here and there, I have no idea what to make of her new stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I shake my ass like nobody’s business when Hips Don’t Lie comes on… I mean, seriously, if you don’t feel the urge to move when that song comes on, you need to check your pulse.
I guess I’m just trying to get a sense of what other people think. So far the comments on my blog post, my gchat, twitter, etc. seem to be people agreeing that they don’t like or don’t get her new image and style. This weird Shakira-meets-Beyonce style is just boggling my mind.
More than just her image… I don’t like the new music itself. I used to listen to a Shakira song and start bawling mid-way through from the raw emotion. (Inevitable is still my favorite song to sing along to.) I can’t think of one song since the Dónde Están los Ladrones album that has made me react similarly. I would describe her Spanish music as undoubtedly feminist; does anybody describe her English music that way?
But somebody out there must be buying her stuff… Is it you?!
What do you all make of this?
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