Unlike usual, my first impression of Shakira was not based on her voice, lyrics, or anything related to music at all. It was based on The Voice. (See what I did there?) I was watching the show because two Youtube artists I follow, Lindsay Bruce and Christina Grimmie, were in the premiere. (And Christina's in the top 5 now - yay!)
I saw a commercial for her new album during one of the commercial breaks, singing Empire. I was all...okay, the stars make love to the universe? What even? Kind of a strange lyric. I'd actually only ever listened to one of Shakira's songs before - Je l'aime a mourir. And that was in two different languages, which was kind of strange to me.
Well, Can't Remember to Forget You had turned into one of those songs that I literally could not avoid. I actually began to like it. (And I can see why Rihanna had decided to sing in it...-_-)
Then I became aware of a duet between her and Blake Shelton, and decided to listen to it, because you know, country. I'll tolerate, if not obsess over, pretty much every country song.
IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. Their voices blended perfectly.
I had a membership to this free 3-songs-a-week downloading service from my local library, so I ended up getting three songs off the album. The two singles and another one, I think. Well, I kept on getting songs with the free song service, and now I have 9 of the 10 English tracks on the album. (I'm not getting the Spanish ones. I don't speak Spanish.)
- Can't Remember to Forget You (feat. Rihanna) - If I could rate this down for the music video, I would, but I'm rating purely on the song. The video was just...weird. Well, the actual song is really catchy (it's in my top 25 songs now), and the rhymes aren't cheesy, and it's pretty relatable for anyone who's had a hard time breaking free from someone. 9/10
- Empire - The lyrics of this song are a little strange, but oddly inspirational as well. (Especially the bridge.) I like it quite a lot. Also, her voice is good, which is nothing new. The music video is really well executed, which doesn't affect my rating - I'm just pointing that out. 9/10
- You Don't Care About Me - It's a catchy kiss-off to an ex that seems quite bitter, and I like the instrumentals in the background. She didn't actually contribute as a writer, but she did co-produce it at least. Along with singing, of course. I especially like the bridge. 9/10
- Dare (La La La) - At first this track didn't appeal to me that much, but boy is it an earworm. Somehow it ended up with 41 plays in my itunes. Yeah, I don't know how that happened. Ah well. 9/10
- Cut Me Deep (feat. Magic!)- And now comes the first song that I don't really like all that much on the album. It's okay, I guess, but really not that good. Her voice doesn't really shine on the verses as much as it could, either. It's just not a good collaboration. 6/10
- 23 - The first ballad on the album is definitely a standout, possibly because it's the first love song, first ballad, or maybe because it's really sweet. She should definitely do more ballads and less chart-toppers. Sure, they're good, but someone else can sing them. 10/10
- The One Thing - Another awwww, that is so adorable song! I saw her perform this one on The Voice and she looked so happy singing it! The instrumentals are done very well too. 10/10
- Medicine (feat. Blake Shelton) - This song is pretty close to perfection - I mean of course it is, Hilary Lindsey and Mark Bright (country music producer) co-wrote it , and Busbee co-produced it. That being said, Blake Shelton and Shakira definitely do their part, their voices blending beautifully. Also, Shakira co-wrote and co-produced it. It's not in my top 25 yet, but I'm sure it will be soon. 10/10
- Spotlight - The rhymes in this song are so-so in the chorus, which is kind of a negative thing for me. The production is done very well, and obviously Shakira is a skilled producer. The bridge, as well, is great. I'd love to see Hillary Lindsey set out on a solo career, though. 10/10
- Broken Record - I didn't think any more dysfunctional relationship songs were needed on this record, but apparently they were. It falls flat as a closing track - personally, I think a happier song should've been the closing track. Perhaps Empire. It's not a bad song, though. 8/10