Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran

With Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran, her first album almost entirely in Spanish since 2005, Shakira signals a deliberate and timely return to her roots. When the Barranquilla native catapulted into the Anglophone pop scene with Laundry Service in 2001, she modeled a version of bilingual international stardom that opened doors for other Latine singers. Today, a new generation of Spanish-speaking stars like Bad Bunny, Rosalía, and Karol G have helped loosen the English language’s long-held grip on commercial pop. And while Shakira has always preached that music transcends language, her new album—saturated with bold-name cameos and dabbling in trending sounds—is poised to ride the latest wave.

But you’re probably here to hear about her divorce. Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran obsesses over the demise of Shakira’s 11-year relationship with Gerard Piqué, the former Spanish soccer player she now calls “Voldemort.” The album title originates from a lyric in the standout “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol.53,” the diss track originally recorded for Argentine DJ Bizarrap’s popular video series, and Shakira’s first all-Spanish song to reach the Hot 100. More than a year later, her digs still sting, from belittling her ex as a rookie to comparing his new girlfriend to a Twingo. Even when she’s not saying Piqué’s name, she kind of is: Imaginative, shady wordplay like “Yo solo hago música, perdón que te salpique” (roughly, “I only make music, sorry if it bothers you”) turned the song into a viral sensation. Then there’s the Kill Bill moment when Shakira reveals her intentions for this track, and perhaps to some extent, this album: “Esto es pa’ que te mortifique’/Mastique’ y trague’, trague’ y mastique’” (“This is for you to be mortified/To chew and swallow, swallow and chew”). Beneath her visceral rage is the heartbroken lover who simply wants to hurt her ex like he hurt her, to guarantee this record follows him forever.

Breakups are hard, and the balance of the album offers a brutally honest glimpse into the aftermath. With her personal business already in the press, Shakira sings through the stages of grief, notably focusing on acceptance—as defined by vengeance and still-got-it sex appeal. The saga begins as a fantasy on flirty nu-disco opener “Puntería,” with Cardi B, where women are goddesses and men are horny centaurs with washboard abs. Bizarrap appears again on the squelchy electro-pop track “La Fuerte,” which pulses with 2 a.m. club heat as a post-breakup Shaki seeks refuge on the dancefloor. But as the chorus swells and the tempo quickens, it sounds as if she’s on the brink of calling her ex. “Dime dónde, cuándo y cómo,” she repeats (“Tell me where, when, and how”), her voice breaking into the high-pitched plea of romantic anguish that first defined Shakira’s music—good thing she deleted his number.

At its core, Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran is a pop album for a mainstream audience, a colorful concoction of EDM-infused dance tracks, generic disco beats, and the occasional rap that’s practically designed to be edited into glossy TikToks. Under its plasticky umbrella, Shakira also flexes her chameleonic powers, fusing Afrobeats with Dominican bachata, ska with northern cumbia, and electropop with reggaetón. Angsty alt-rock songs like “Tiempo Sin Verte” and “Cómo Dónde y Cuándo” harken back to her Alanis Morissette-esque 1998 album ¿Dónde Están los Ladrones? The latter song has a scrappy, start-stop guitar riff reminiscent of “Where Is My Mind?,” recalling her affinity for Aerosmith and the Cure. But if the hunger to assert her dominance across genres—to prove that no one can replace Shakira—feels genuine, the production choices seem more interested in proving her range than in locating each song’s most authentic expression.

Along the way, Shakira assembles a star-studded lineup that includes Manuel Turizo, Ozuna, and two Rauw Alejandro features. Her duet with Karol G (who’s experienced a public breakup of her own) delivers a tantalizing sorry-not-sorry vibe reminiscent of “Beautiful Liar.” As regional Mexican music continues to command the global pop scene, Shakira’s contralto tones, raspy cadence, and penchant for romantic storytelling find a match in the bajo quinto and accordion-powered canción “(Entre Paréntesis),” with Groupo Frontera, and the tololoche-tinged sierreño urbano song “El Jefe,” with Fuerza Regida. Some features, though, feel out of place. Did we really need a Tiësto remix of “Pa’ tipos como tú”? Cardi B’s punny “Puntería” verse seems like it could have been substituted with almost anything. Describing the origins of their collaboration, Shakira said, “I thought, ‘How cool would it be to have a woman rapper here?’ The only person who came to my mind was Cardi B. I had just met her in Paris and she seemed so nice.” This is also what comes to mind when I think of “Puntería”—nice.

Act one closes with “Última,” perhaps the most vulnerable moment on the album. It’s a piano ballad that feels like Shakira’s final attempt at closure: the first time she thanks Piqué for the time they shared, while also acknowledging their incompatibility as she sings, “Más fácil era mezclar el agua y el aceite”—easier to mix oil and water. The album’s second half undergoes a transformation akin to a post-breakup makeover, yet it can’t help but revisit the anger stage. Armed with lines like, “Dicen por ahí que no hay mal que más de cien años dura pero ahí sigue mi ex-suegro que no pisa sepultura” (“They say that there is no evil that lasts more than 100 years, but my ex father-in-law is still around and doesn’t have a foot in the grave”), she holds nothing back.

There’s a fan for every era of Shakira—some who expect her to adhere to Anglophone pop molds, some who pine for her rockera past. Since her debut, she has inspired debate about Latine stereotypes and the nature of cultural authenticity, but in this decade, her blend of styles is no longer perceived to be so foreign as it once was. It’s fascinating to watch Shakira take big swings and extend her dominance, but there’s a little piece that’s missing: some small token to show what made her such an icon in the first place.