Andrew Casillas said it best when he rejected the notion of Shakira as Latin America's Prince and relegated her to the category of Latin America’s Jay-Z cemented by the catastrophic final result that was 2014's Shakira, a forgettable album of bland pop generica. As Shakira's net worth continued to soar, Shakira's social capital took a hit given the Baranquillera's cringe-worthy output in recent memory. From Bud Light Lime EDM classics with Pitbull, the Tecate Michelada rock stylings of Maná, to a culturally hegemonizing sports anthem, it would seem as if indeed Shakira was ‘trying everything’, much to the depreciation of her critical acclaim. We’re not even going to get started on "La Bicicleta”.
It seemed for some time as though only an innovator like Arca could resurrect our fallen Latina Empress of Global Pop. And although ‟Chantaje" does not feature production credits from the Venezuelan sound freak, it does sound as if an acolyte of Timbaland produced it. Firmly situated in the seductive future reggaetón environment spearheaded by compatriot J Balvin, "Chantaje" is ready for Top 40 mass consumption & personally gratifying listening experiences. It features rising star Maluma, further cementing Columbia as reggaetón’s current stronghold. Manipulation, codependency, autonomy, agency, unrequited love and emotional masochism take center stage on “Chantaje,” a narrative of intimate warfare amongst doomed lovers. It is Shakira's most relevant single since the merengue bangers of 2010's Sale El Sol and has reinvigorated a level of trust amongst those of us who have been here for Shakira since 1995 and care to see her be remembered for her artistic merits-not her commercial prowess.