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Shakira - 'She Wolf'

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Fraser McAlpine | 15:42 UK time, Monday, 14 September 2009

Shakira

No matter how eye-catching the video may be - and there are some people on the internet who are reacting like Elmer Fudd used to in the old cartoons, when Bugs Bunny dressed up as a girl - no matter how disco-tastic the song - and it is PLENTY disco-tastic - there's one tiny little problem with Shakira's latest which may threaten to ruin the whole thing. It's a bit like the Princess And The Pea, and I'm the princess.

The pea is this: If you're going to pretend that you're a werewolf, even a sexy werewolf in a leotard, with no body hair and no tail, it would be a good idea to spend some time getting the howl right. In a song about wolves, the howl is the key thing you can't mess up. You know it, I know it, and the people who made Being Human DEFINITELY know it.

Shakira's howl is so half-hearted it makes a hilltop lit by the full moon at midnight seem more like a dark back garden under a gibbous cloud.

(Here's the video. That is one bendy wolf.)

Have a listen...go past the 'Music Sounds Better With You' pulsating filter-disco - complete with strings, robot burps, chuntery funk guitar and orchestral stabs - past the verses, which are the best thing about the song by a country mile, even with the odd warbly vocal bits in. What you're looking for is the chorus, the moment where, if this were a film, the clouds would part, the moon would shine down and Shakira's toes would become awfully hairy.

"There's a she-wolf in the closet", sings Shaky, "open up and set us free...", and THAT'S where the howl happens. "Ah-wooo" , she goes, sounding for all the world like a bored child-minder, sitting with her toddlers on that fairground ride which is essentially giant plastic ladybirds going around in a bumpy circle.

"Ah-wooo" , she says, eyes a-rolling, "are you having fun yet? Johnny? Jemima? It's exciting, isn't it? Ah-wooo. Ah-wooo."

Oh wait, did I say the verses are the best bit? Can I qualify that by adding that the best verse of all is the vocoder-harmony robo-choir climax in verse 3? That makes up for EVERYTHING...

Four starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: September 21st
www.shakira.com
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

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