Shakira: She Wolf
From the outrageous video, in which she writhes around in a cage in a flesh-colored leotard, it seemed a very blond Shakira had gone deliciously lowbrow.
But “She Wolf,’’ the seductive title track from her latest release, was just a tease for a shiny new dance album that has more on its mind than animal urges.
Like her last hit, “Hips Don’t Lie,’’ this new album wants us to believe Shakira is grittier and more streetwise than suggested by her origins as an earnest singer-songwriter in her native Colombia.
It works for the most part. The first singles, “She Wolf’’ and “Did It Again’’ (Spanish-language versions close out the album), are pure ear candy. More interesting are the subtle risks Shakira takes here, amid a few middle-of-the-road duds (“Gypsy,’’ “Good Stuff’’).
“Men in This Town,’’ whose propulsive production inflates Shakira’s voice to unrecognizable heights (is that Cher on the chorus?), is the kind of single-minded dance pop she has rarely attempted. But it suits her, as does the album’s most compelling surprise, “Spy,’’ a slinky throwback to ’80s pop featuring Shakira imitating a horn and a cameo from Wyclef Jean (who worked with her on “Hips Don’t Lie’’).
You’ve heard of Sasha Fierce, but this is its sequel: Shaki Fierce.