Mitchell: Not even hotsy-totsy Shakira can topple Frozen
The Frozen soundtrack is living up to its name as it has crystalized at the top of the charts in the USA where it remains the No.1 selling album after 20 weeks.
There have been a few challengers to the Frozen crown and that includes this new self-titled CD from Shakira. Her disc has since fallen a bit but remains in the top 10 thanks to her hyper sexualized video Can’t Remember To Forget You with Rihanna.
On screen the gals gyrate atop a bed and various other settings in lingerie like a couple of sonsy, callipygous, lolloping hoydens—as in “sex sells”.
But it is important to note that this new album is an
Shakira has also gained some added notoriety in North America as a coach/host, or whatever the job description is, with The Voice which has put her front and centre to western reality TV pop culture.
So, this time out Shakira has aimed her music almost strictly at an English-speaking American audience with varied but always pop radio friendly songs.
Shakira is from Colombia which borders on the north coast to the Caribbean seas and influences can be heard on the pop reggae of Cut Me Deep, the dub accents of You Don’t Care About Me (co-written by Canada’s Chantal Kreviazuk) and the ska rhythms of her big hit with Rihanna.
There are a few folk-styled ballads here as well the inevitable dance poppers but overall this new album fails to enthral, let alone entertain. At the end I was left somewhat bored and I think the problem is in the lyrics and topics. Shakira is now 37 years old and with a newborn child, yet she comes across here as the melodramatic teen queen amped up on histrionic love songs well beneath her years.
I mean, check out her omnipresent Crest toothpaste commercials on TV where she has been photo shopped and airbrushed to look like a person half her age. Meanwhile the best songs here are in her native tongue with the ska-pop of Nunca Me Acuerdo De Olivarte and the pretty, gentle Loca Por Ti.
Foster The People: Supermodel (RCA)
Like Shakira, Foster The People also took a run at the Frozen soundtrack fixation at the top spot of the charts. However, after making its debut in the top five in Canada and the USA, Supermodel has taken a huge nosedive out of even the top 40 with no big hit to bolster sales like the debut had with the smash Pumped Up Kicks back in 2011.
I remember noting when covering Mark Foster and his trio Foster The People’s debut, titled Torched, that the lone hit was strictly a solo recording by Mr. Foster without the help of his band mates and they don’t seem to be helping him out on Supermodel either.
Foster recorded this new album with the help of ace producer Paul Epworth (Adele, Bruno Mars) and they flesh out these rather characterless and pedestrian songs with lots of soft focus psychedelics and billowy synths that makes for an unfocused listen.
The two minor (very minor) hits include the overly busy and spacey Coming Of Age as well as the slightly better dance rock of Best Friend that might appeal to the alt EDM community.
This is an unspectacular sophomore album where Foster The People are well on their way to becoming one hit wonders meaning there is an unlikely supermodel in Mr. Foster’s future.