On Thursday (July 30), [artist id="504144"]Shakira[/artist] premiered her brand-new, much-anticipated "She Wolf" video on MTV.com (and at 8 p.m. on MTV). And having now watched it about 15 times, I'm hard-pressed to say more than "Wow!" Seriously, it's one people will be talking about for a long time.
Why? Well, basically because it's either the most insanely brilliant (or brilliantly insane) song you'll hear in 2009. The beat could best be described as a gloriously slinky update on every Italian disco tune recorded in 1979: all slithering beats, funky bass, horny horns, snapping snares and even a handclap or 13. Lyrically, there's the fact that Shakira uses the term "lycanthropy" and, seconds later, compares herself to a coffee machine (both of which are surely firsts in the history of pop music). Oh, and in the chorus, she howls at the moon.
Somewhat inexplicably/ unexpectedly, the song was co-written by John Hill — who helmed portions of Santigold's debut disc — and Sam Endicott, the frontman from the Bravery. "She Wolf" is reportedly a taste of what's to come from Shakira's new album, which hits stores in October and also features production work from Pharrell and Wyclef Jean. Shakira has gone on record saying she drew inspiration from Canadian electro-act Crystal Castles (who are infamous for drinking blood and doing stuff like this at shows) for the record. So, needless to say, it should be interesting.
Anyway, that's all the nerdy music journo stuff. Here's a major reason why "She Wolf" is so eye-catching: Shakira's posterior. She's already touted her hips, but, really, her booty is the breakout star of the video. It pops, locks, drops, sways and — in one key scene — seems to swell to nearly three times its original size.
"I start doing all kinds of outrageous stuff and hanging upside down and doing stuff that wasn't planned," Shakira told MTV News about the video.
"But it was kind of an improvisation. I just got caught in the moment."
Really, Shakira has taken the art of body-contorting to new (somewhat unsettling) highs in "She Wolf." She herks and jerks, folds herself in half, torques vertebrae, lifts legs over her head, pops her shoulders in and out of their sockets, hangs upside down, nearly topples over ... the list goes on and on. She out-dances everyone in the business, and even manages to out-Beyoncé Beyoncé.
And really, that's what "She Wolf" reminds me most of: a really great, really crazy Beyoncé tune (like "Single Ladies," or, more recently, "Sweet Dreams"). The beat is great, the moves otherwordly (not to mention painful-looking), the vocal ticks are inexplicable. This song is batsh-- and brilliant, too. Without a doubt, Shakira is back, and badder (or at least battier) than ever.
Your move, Beyoncé ...