Review: ‘Empire’ by Shakira

Shakira is back with a new single called Empire, a follow-up to her catchy and upbeat Can’t Remember to Forget You. But will this ballad be just as remarkable?

The first time I listened to the track, its opening bars immediately conjured up shades of Tori Amos and her lilting, disjointed melodies. Then the refrain slowly built up into a powerful hook, that, for some reason, made me recall the hooks of rock ballads from the 90′s. In fact, the song does evoke the flavor of some 90′s hits, such as GNR’s November Rain‘s heavy bass rhythm, and the chord composition of Teardrop by Massive Attack:

90′s references aside, Empire captures the feeling of grandeur one experiences when falling deeply and explosively in love, as expressed in the lyrics: Like the empires of the world unite, we are alive, while the And I’m like… hook depicts indescribable emotions when her sentence is finished by the sweeping instrumental.

Shakira’s rich vocals are also beautifully showcased here; she does a great job of starting the song with a soft girlish lilt, coming to a climax with when she belts THAT note powerfully. It doesn’t hurt to watch her video either, where she transforms from virginal bride by day to boudoir temptress by candlelight. Enjoy.

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