Single Review: Shakira – Can’t Remember To Forget You (feat. Rihanna)

‘Can’t Remember To Forget You’ is great – hooray! I was a little sceptical, I have to admit. The title itself sounds like a flimsy ode to romance and the cover art, featuring elegant black dresses, gave nothing away other than a few is-it-a-ballad jitters. It is, in fact, a stark contrast to the simplistic cover. It’s all-guns-blazing pop and it’s a comeback that shows other big names exactly how it should be done. Truth is, everybody forgets about Shakira and her ability to just be brilliant at the drop of a hat. Hopefully this song will change that. Oh and look, Rihanna’s come along for the ride too.

The song is Shakira through and through; like some progression of the incredible ‘Dont Bother’ with a ‘She Wolf’ touch. It’s not like the woman has become static however – she has a niche that nobody else can fill: the slightly eccentric latina. J:Lo was always a bit too sane to contest her position. The whole arrangement sounds like it’s been lifted from a box in her record label’s head office with a post-it note warning ‘Only-Let-Shakira-Touch-These’ but it’s also got a relevant, modern feel to it. It’s exciting, to put it plainly and if it lasts until summer, it’ll be the BBQ soundtrack of the nation.

As with most Shakira songs, it’s her voice that truly characterises it. It’s at full force here – her signature wail becoming the go-to moment of the instantly infectious chorus. Rihanna’s position on the track might seem merely like an easy selling point but she works her position like a trooper. Say what you want about Rihanna; her voice may not be the strongest in the game but it’s got plenty of charm and is surprisingly distinctive next to the unique lungs of the lead chanteuse. Her slight accent brings another flavour to the collage of colour and her lighter vocals are a great counterpart to Shakira’s deeper delivery on the shared chorus. She also brings a double helping of gorgeous hair to the single sleeve. Cheers Rih.

It’s a pure pop song – bright and chirpy, attitude-soaked and a pretty easy-to-digest lyric. It leaks hooks out left right and centre -the first ‘follow, follow follow’ from the bridge being the moment you realise it’s done it’s work in infecting your brain. As if that wasn’t enough, the radio and press will be all over this. Two women working together! Who’d have thunk it? Proving that two vaginas can co-exist in one hit record seems to be becoming Shakira’s trademark and, as long as the tunes are as fresh as this, I have no problem with that.

Words: Simon McMurdo


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