Oh, that Shakira. She’s a crafty one. The Columbian bombshell has mastered the art of the savvy team-up following the triple platinum triumph of her English-speaking debut, 2001’s Laundry Service. With that career-evolving gamble out of the way, the singer-songwriter-belly dancer hit the studio with Fugees mastermind Wyclef Jean for easily 2006’s most unlikely duet “Hips Don’t Lie,” a polished, and quite frankly, sexy reggaeton workout that topped the American and global charts. The music gods then blessed Shakira with the gloriously stimulating 2007 single (and video!!!) “Beautiful Liar,” a hip swerving dream pairing with the Bootylicious One—Beyoncé.
Flash forward to 2014, and Shakira’s not messing around. “Can’t Remember to Forget You,” the first single from her upcoming album, is a pin-up worthy collaboration with pop’s preeminent bad girl Rihanna, bathing in similar steamy waters as “Beautiful Liar.” It also helps that the part-time The Voice judge and Rih-Rih both are card-carrying members of the weird-yet-highly-marketable vox club.
“I left a note on my bedpost/Said not to repeat yesterday’s mistakes/What I tend to do when it comes to you,” purrs Shakira on a track that strikes an intriguing resemblance to Bruno Mars’ rock-n-reggae-by-Police inflected “Locked Out of Heaven.”
Of course, pop music has long taken on the you’re-no-good tug-of-war. But it takes on a surreal energy with the likes of Rihanna handling the reigns. When she follows up Shakira’s helpless plea with the ironic lyrics, “I go back again/Fall off the train/Land in his bed/Repeat yesterday’s mistakes,” you are instantly reminded of her turbulent love affair with Chris Brown. It’s a reality that gives “Can’t Remember to Forget You,” for lack of better words, it’s balls. —Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)