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Music review: Shakira is on a rampage with "Empire"

She can't be stopped

Well, well, well. I thought Shakira had left all the surprises for her last hit featuring Rihanna. That sensual number still was in line with Shakira's feline femininity, but this new single unwraps a new side to her newer fans may not have known exists.
Shakira
Photo credit: WENN.com

What if Drake came out with a country single?

Or, what if Taylor Swift came out with a rap hit?

Not only would you be skeptical, but you would likely laugh until your abs were ready for summer.

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Such is my reasoning for Shakira's latest single "Empire" and the subsequent confusion. Shakira is her hips and her froggy-chic voice. She's been a "She Wolf" longer than I think the word has even existed.

Shakira has a fandom, and she's got the numbers to prove it >>

So whether she's being a sweetheart or a vixen (which the latter still took me by surprise in her last music video), she's always sweating sexiness and wiping it up with her unparalleled vocal charm.

I really wasn't joking about the music video — see the skintastic compilation here >>

But I didn't know who she was for "Empire." That's because I have been around only long enough to know of her more mainstream hits.

Anywhere you look, regardless of who is reporting, this single is a winner. Why? Because it's an anthem. Because it's empowering but still tender, charming but not overwhelming, with a message that sounds subtle but is significant. But if you notice, all of those qualities describe Shakira — it's just this song doesn't sound like the Shakira that's become a household name stateside.

The Latin charm that she otherwise exudes seems absent, and it resembles hits on the alternative rock/easy rock spectrum. What if Annie Lennox merged with Lenka? That is the crossroad named "Empire."

The Colombian songstress has emerged with this seemingly new side and a product that has her being both edgy and vulnerable. Longtime fans may recognize this Shakira from her earlier albums. But all I can say definitively is that whoever is helping her plan her releases deserves every penny he or she is receiving. This couldn't have come at a better time. Shakira's getting ready to release new work, and we're all eagerly anticipating it. The self-titled 10th album Shakira will be out on March 25.

How does she find the time between being a devoted wife and mother, passionate artist and crafty businesswoman? I can barely find a way to put on socks on the right feet in the morning! Check out the release below.

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