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At first, I didn’t love Shakira’s new album Sale El Sol, but after five or six listens, it really started to grow on me. Typically, I prefer my Shakira obsessed and tormented rather than optimistically cheerleading for Africa (Waka,Waka, yo).Personally, I think the title track, Sale El Sol, a mid-tempo snooze-fest, is the weakest of the album. Devoción is the album highlight among a few other strong selections (Antes De Las Seis, Rabiosa).Now let’s talk about Shakira’s cover of the XX’s Islands. Loyal readers (gracias!) know that we majorly heart the XX here at Demeter Clarc, and frankly Shakira’s version is no where near as good as the original. Since the xx came out less than a year and a half ago, I don’t see the point of this unnecessary and not particularly inspired cover.One other small complaint: of fifteen songs, the last four are remixes of songs that appear earlier on the record. So between the cover and the one-song-two-ways gimmick, Sale El Sol definitely contains some empty calories.
Sorry for the delay on this; it was released a year ago. Not really sure how it slipped through the butt crack, but 2010 can be the year of The XX in the US. Procure XX by The XX immediately. Need an extra nudge? This one is Karl Lagerfeld approved.Their sound, brimming with dichotomies, is at once familiar and new, atmospheric and intimate, feminine and masculine. Think Cat Power paired with Pete Yorn singing over Radiohead, and then subtract fifteen years. The XX is sadly one of the few examples I can think of where a male and female vocal pairing strengthens rather than diminishes the overall sound.Strong composition and musicality backs up the interesting vocal arrangements. The XX ain’t no one trick pony; the whole record is worth your time. The down tempo vibe may annoy some, but critics need to puff a doobie and relax. This is the good shit.
This is a perfect record for a nascent love affair, but don’t waste it on just anyone.