Album Review

Shakira, 'Sale el Sol'

October 25, 2010

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There’s no explaining why “She Wolf’’ didn’t make a bigger splash for Shakira last year. Apparently the market just wasn’t hungry for a glittery, electro-disco statement on unleashing the beast within, courtesy of Colombia’s most famous musical export. Coming a year after that unsung album, “Sale el Sol’’ (“The Sun Comes Out’’) arrives with considerably less fanfare but a solid batch of new songs — almost all of them in Spanish, with a few English versions tacked on for maximum appeal. The album isn’t as heady as “She Wolf,’’ but there’s an easy charm to how Shakira deftly navigates such a mash of genres. She’s all over the place, from industrial rock (“Devoción’’) and synth-pop (an admirable cover of The xx’s “Islands’’) to piano balladry (“Lo Que Más’’) and Afro-pop (“Waka Waka [This Time for Africa]’’) — the official anthem of this year’s World Cup). She’s sly and vampy as she spits verses opposite Dominican rapper El Cata on the irresistible merengue hybrids “Loca’’ and “Rabiosa.’’ Whether it goes the way of “She Wolf,’’ this album is another step forward for an artist who rarely looks back. (Out now) JAMES REED

ESSENTIAL “Loca’’ (feat. El Cata)