I have so much respect for Shakira as an artist, as a musician. So many these days don't write their own songs, and those that do pander to what's popular. Shakira continues to go her own way with this album. Like her last she proves once again that she can and will write songs in any style she likes, with any instruments; she clearly writes music for herself as much as others, because she loves it. That's what art should be.
Once again she utilises instruments from around the world, but the style is somewhat different to the previous album. What she seems to do is have variations in style throughout each album, but still retain a general character for the album as a whole. This has a character which is distinct from the last: it's much more guitar based, and tends more towards light rock song structures. It's also more upbeat and fast paced than the last album. A move such as that could so easily have made it more mainstream in style, but it still has her flavour and still has a Latin/Spanish twist.
As usual her lyrics are unique and interesting. Her instrumentation is at times inspired, though not as varied as the last album. Every song has a great melody which sticks in your head without ever being repetitive or annoying. She once again spends time using the voice in more unusual ways, this time experimenting with non-tonal vocals amongst other things.
To say that her voice isn't the best out there, that there are artists in pop with better voices is extremely critical. Yet that's the only criticism I could give- something which of course is totally out of her control. I'd sooner listen to Shakira's varied and interesting work than more polished voices any day.
A brilliant album, not to be missed by anyone, especially a musician that's lost faith in popular music. Albums such as these show that there is true musical talent out there, even in the realm of pop.