Shakira lost her spark on new album El Dorado
Shakira used to be one of the biggest international pop stars in the noughties, but those days seem to be in the distant past now. Sure, she still is a pop authority in the Spanish speaking parts of the world, but internationally ‘Can’t Remember To Forget You’ featuring Rihanna, released in 2014, was her last proper hit. In the past year and a half she had some successful collaborations with Carlos Vives (‘La Bicicleta’), Maluma (‘Chantaje’) and Prince Royce (‘Deja Vu’) and now she built a whole album around those tracks, titled El Dorado. Does it mark a return to form for the Colombian artist?
Listening to El Dorado as a whole, it is hard not to get the feeling this is a record thrown together at the last minute without a lot of passion or effort. Don’t get me wrong, Shakira has created some absolutely great albums like Laundry Service, both Oral Fixation albums and Donde Estan Los Ladrones, but she seems to have lost the spark that made those albums in classics of their time. With half of the tracks being collaborations, Shakira never really manages to put her mark on this body of work.
Of course, the bachata of ‘Deja Vu’ and the raggaeton of ‘La Bicicleta’ and ‘Chantaje’, although nowhere as iconic as ‘La Tortura’, deserve a spot on the record, but tracks like ‘Perro Fiel’ (featuring Nicky Jam) and ‘Trap’ (once again with Maluma), although pleasant, don’t really add a lot. The bigger problem on El Dorado however, is that most of the solo tracks fall flat. ‘Nada’ is a decent ballad, but misses the same power numerous of her other slow songs do, ‘Amarillo’ gently drags on without even coming close to a climax and the saltless ‘Coconut Tree’ misses the punch that make her sometimes cheesy lyrics fun.
I’d say ‘When A Woman’ is the best and most hit worthy song on the record. The track co-written by Justin Trent and Julia Michaels and co-produced by Cashmere Cat turns Shakira’s sound into something contemporary and could do well on radio these days. It is nothing earth shattering though and that goes for the lead single ‘Me Enamoré’ as well. It is a pleasant summer song that could become a bit of a summer hit, but probably not enough to raise her profile internationally again. El Dorado will definitely not bring Shakira the success of the early noughties, but I highly doubt she cares that much herself, because the record feels more like a bunch of singles thrown together with some filler material to cash in than a well thought out album with a vision.