You know when people talk about a song “transporting them somewhere else”? Well. This evening, I had just taken a table at my local café-restaurant under the guise of wanting a drink (I wanted to use their wifi). The café was playing old time blues. The atmosphere was pretty laid back. I put on my headphones, pressed play on the new Shakira track I was to be reviewing and then POOF, the café disappeared. I can’t say exactly where I went to, it wasn’t another place it was just that everything sort of went black and I was inside my head like it was a club, listening to the music pounding in my ears. At first, a ska guitar rhythm – the Cat Empire fan in me strongly approved – then that famous freewheeling Columbian voice with its wonderful breathy breaks.
The chorus is a big surprise. What starts as a Latin flavoured, fairly relaxed song becomes, with the introduction of powerful rock drums, something much more intense. The intensity is to me, reminiscent of some of The Veronicas’ music. I had certainly departed from the laid-back atmosphere of the café. Then Rhianna steps in to tackle the second verse. Her voice is quite a contrast – much more restrained and controlled. Which is good, interesting.
The lyrics are a mixture of both clichés (“kissing in the moonlight”; “where you go I follow”) and surprising touches (the call-back in the second verse to the first verse’s pledge “not to repeat yesterday’s mistakes” is clever and “I rob and I kill to keep him with me” takes the song into unexpectedly violent territory).
This is definitely more hard-core than most of Shakira’s past work. It introduces rock into the mix and it works musically, however I do feel that this may limit its success as a club anthem as this version is almost too intense to dance to.