Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Sale el Sol (English: The Sun Comes Out) is the seventh studio album by Colombian latin pop singer-songwriter Shakira, released on October 19, 2010. The album cover was released on August 31, 2010. In a promotion strategy, Los 40 Principales in Spain premiered the album on streaming on October 12, one week before the album release.
The album debuted at number seven on Billboard 200 becoming her fourth-highest peak on the chart. It also debuted at number one on theBillboard Top Latin Albums Chart and stayed there for over 11 consecutive weeks. The album has sold approximately 2 million copies worldwide, 250,000 copies alone in France, since its release in October 2010 and is yet to be released in the United Kingdom.
"Shakira is back with a new album, 'Sale El Sol' (Before the Sun) and if you've been unimpressed with her past few efforts (mainly the lackluster 'She Wolf" album) then you should probably give this album a try. It's back to the basics for Shakira: no Lil Wayne collaborations, no Timbaland-produced hip hop tracks and for the most part, no real breakout tracks to speak of. While I applaud Shakira for realizing that her quest to remain relevant in the U.S. was killing her music, I caution her for going to such an extreme as 'Sale El Sol' feels. It's a timid, safe, sleepy album. Missing from the album is that edgy, a times sexual, fun Shakira that caught the world's attention with "Whatever, Whenever" and she's replaced with a rather sterilized version of that artist.
"Sale El Sol" has influences of rock and starts off the album on a bit of a laid back, easy manner. It's a far departure from where her previous album 'She Wolf' left off and feels, in some way, like a track meant to re-align her with the type of music that made her popular."Sale El Sol" isn't a dance or club track but is an easy intro to this new album. The beat and tempo pick up with the next track, the English version of "Loca" feat. Dizzee Rascal. This in some way reminded me a bit of "Hips Don't Lie" with the fusion of Spanish and Reggae/Caribbean music. It's a very simple track lyrically and fun and carefree and centers around Shakira singing (and rapping) of how crazy she is about her love interest and how crazy she can get. To be noted, there's also an all Spanish version of the track featuring El Cata later on in the album but the English version worked a bit better for me. The album continues with "Gordita"featuring Residente Calle 13. "Gordita" is a bit of a Spanish rap song and definitely stands out on the album in a good way. It was fun hearing Shakira stick to the Spanish song but explore the world of Spanish hip-hop/rap.
"Antes de las Seis" is a ballad and is all in Spanish. On her previous two albums I really haven't been a fan of her slower/ballad tracks but that's because they were mostly in English. To me, she really connects more with her music when it's in Spanish. This track is probably one of the best on the entire album because it's Shakira stripped down and not trying to be provocative, sexual or dance-inspiring. She's really just singing and you can tell from her voice and the vibe of the song that this is one of the tracks where we're really treated to the best of Shakira without any theatrics. I liked the oriental-like riff that plays throughout this track and felt it definitely made it feel worthy of replaying. "Addicted to You" feels like a filler track and is pretty forgettable. It's dancey and mostly in Spanish with the exception of part of the chorus being in English. She goes back to the ballads with "Lo Que Más". Similar to "Antes de las Seis" it's all in Spanish and is very simple but it works because I felt she came off as very genuine and you could really pick up on the emotion and sentiment in the lyrics without needing to know any Spanish.
"Mariposas" is what I'd consider an easy listening/rock track. It's pop, bouncy but isn't the overproduced pop or dance track we're accustomed to hearing from her these days. "Rabiosa" featuring Pitbull has the Spanish influence instrumentation wise and is a bit of a cat-and-mouse lyrical game between Shakira and Pitbull (and El Cata on the Spanish version) where the two of them are flirting and inviting the other to come closer to one another. It's a dance track and you could easily see couples on the dance floor flirting and getting in the moment with the help of this track. "Devoción" is a Spanish track but has a bit of a rock edge to it. It's not as peppy or dance influenced and has something of a dark overtone to it but I liked it because it really broke up the rather light-vibe of some of the other Spanish tracks. "Islands" is another light track that overall feels a bit forgettable, especially after following the offbeat nature of "Devoción". "Tu Boca" is uptempo, back to the rock influence and is a Spanish track. It's ok but like a lot of tracks on this release, it's a bit forgettable and frivolous.
"Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)" is by now a pretty familiar track since it was the anthem of the World Cup. This is probably Shakira at her best - the lyrics are very focused, inspirational and devoid of the oddity or distracting references that tend to hamper a lot of her music. The rest of the deluxe edition of the album is filled with Spanish versions of some of the earlier tracks including "Loca," "Rabiosa," and "Waka Waka". There's also a few remixes of "Waka Waka" included.
Eh. There are things I really like about this album but a lot more that I'm just not crazy about. I'm actually glad Shakira attempted to ditch her efforts to break into, or stay relevant, in the United States. The last album tanked with her attempting to be an American pop artist and hip-hop enthusiasts and overall this album feels like a step in the right direction. There's nothing really on this album that screams "hit" by U.S. standards - and that's fine. She shines when she's back to singing in Spanish and playing around the wide variety of music and genres that can be found in the Spanish realm. I was also surprised, in a good way, that she had a bit more of a rock influence on some of her songs. There are fewer dance or club hits on this release. All that being said, "Sale El Sol" feels somewhat timid and reserved. It feels like she's responding to her declining successes in the U.S. with an album meant to remind the world of her better days but in doing so some of her edge, spontaneity, creativity and that sexual prowess that she tends to exude in her music was lost as well. A lot of the music on this album feels watered down, weak and forgettable. Usually there's at least one or two tracks that stands out as being potential big hits but I really don't see any of the tracks on this release doing much for her career." - Decaptain
""I'm crazy, but you like it," whoops Shakira on her new single, "Loca." Nuttiness has always been part of her appeal, with a warbling voice and lyrics that border on surreal. (She once compared herself to "a coffee machine in an office.") But mostly, her new album is businesslike, serious, sane. The music blends Latin rhythms, clubland electronica and lots of rock guitar. (Check out the heavy-riffing "Tu Boca.") Shakira largely produced the album herself, and she squeezes big emotions into ballads like "Devoción." She's not so crazy, this time - but you like it." - RollingStone
Billboard (p.32) - "[I]t's a mix of uptempo dance tracks based on traditional Latin rhythms like merengue, hard-kicking rock tracks and earthier rock ballads...memorable and unique..."
Personnel: Shakira (background vocals).
Recording information: Aurha Studios, Barcelona, Spain; Circle House Studios, Miami, FL; El Granero, Punta Del Este, Uruguay; Electric Lady Studios, New York, NY; Koryland, Barcelona, Spain; La Marimonda, Nassau, Bahamas; Platinum Sound Recording, New York, NY; Quad Studios, New York, NY; RAK Studios, London, UK; Rodeo Recording, New York, NY; SARM Sturdios, London, UK; Serenity West Recording, Los Angeles, CA; Sonic Projects Studio, Miami, FL.
Photographer: Jaume Laiguana.
Hot on the heels of the gloriously weird commercial stiff She Wolf, Shakira wrote and recorded "Waka Waka," a football anthem that swept the globe during the throes of 2010 World Cup fever. "Waka Waka" provided the perfect pivot to the quickly recorded new album Sale el Sol, a set that shows no allegiance to any one sound or language. Shakira mostly ditches the electro-throb of She Wolf in favor for a pan-global approach that's decidedly pop in flavor, sometimes riding heavy rhythms -- Pitbull and Dizzee Rascal do show up on bonus English-language versions of "Loca" and "Rabiosa" -- but always relying on melody and texture, creating a tight 12-track record that's casual in its eclecticism but no less dazzling because of its relaxed tone. Particularly when compared to the stylized ambition of the two-part Oral Fixation, Sale el Sol feels breezy, Shakira never calling attention to just how much ground she covers. Opening with a dose of anthemic soft rock in its title track, Sale el Sol eventually winds its way through the dancefloor ("Loca," "Gordita"), catches its breath on the ballad "Antes de las Seis," offers up an infectious piece of pure pop in the vein of the New Radicals on "Mariposas," beats all U2-inspired arena rockers at their own game on "Devoción," adopts a cool new wave pulse on "Tu Boca," and finds warmth within the art pop of the xx, whose "Islands" is a shimmering peak here. Despite all these sounds, Sale el Sol never once sounds disparate or overworked -- it's sunny and easy, its natural buoyancy disguising Shakira's range and skill -- but listen closely and it becomes apparent that nobody makes better pop records in the new millennium than she does. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine